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Bass v. Taylor

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

June 12, 2019

PEREZ D. BASS, Plaintiff,
CHERYL TAYLOR, ET AL., Defendants.



         On November 28, 2018, Plaintiff Perez D. Bass, who is incarcerated at the Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 5.) The Court issued an order on November 29, 2018, granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 6.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Cheryl Taylor; Dr. First Name Unknown (FNU) Bishop, Optometrist; Medical Director FNU Preston; Medical Director Thomas Corman; FNU Stokes, RN; FNU Wuni, RN; Nicole Walker, Assistant Warden of Medical; Andrew Crothers; Allen Chalk, Mental Health Advocate; WCF Warden Arvil Chapman; Tony Parker, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC); James Bellar, City of Whiteville Mayor; Jimmy Sain, Hardeman County Mayor; Cynthia Casagranda, TDOC Liaison; FNU McCalvin, RN; Dr. Larry Bloomingburg; the TDOC; CoreCivic; Corizon Health; and the City of Whiteville.

         Bass alleges that he suffers from keratoconus, which is a chronic eye condition treated with “a special type of hard contact lense [sic].” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.) Bass received the contact lenses while he was housed at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility. (Id. at PageID 4.) Bass was transferred to WCF in December 2015 and requested more contact solution for his lenses. (Id.) An unnamed nurse initially informed Bass that the contact solution was considered a cosmetic, so the facility did not carry it, but later gave him what he believed was the solution but actually was “eye wash by the name of ‘Aqua.'” (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID 8.)

         On October 8, 2016, Bass saw Dr. Bishop for eye pain and more contact lenses, but Dr. Bishop informed him that he had scar tissue on his left cornea that needed to be removed to prevent infection. (Id.) Unnamed optometrists at a clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, agreed Bass needed to have the scar tissue removed. (Id.) Bass alleges, however, that his requests to return to the clinic were repeatedly denied, he was told not to file further sick call requests, and he would not receive more contact lenses.[1] (Id.)

         Bass eventually was taken to see Dr. Bloomingburg in Henderson, Tennessee, for new contact lenses, but Dr. Bloomingburg refused to give Bass the lenses until the WCF agreed to pay for them, which Bass alleges never happened. (Id. at PageID 8-9.) Bass alleges that the pain in his eyes has worsened and is constant, occurring even after he was given new contact lenses, [2] and that he suffers from loss of vision and headaches. (Id. at PageID 9.) Bass states, without elaboration, that he has a “list of problem [sic] that I'm having out of WCFA” which “is long and will take time to explain all of them.” (Id.)

         Bass sues the Defendants in their official and individual capacities. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 1.) He seeks declaratory judgment, $10 million each in compensatory and punitive damages, and reimbursement of costs. (Id. at PageID 5; ECF No. 1-1 at PageID 11.)

         The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court accepts the complaint's “well-pleaded” factual allegations as true and then determines whether the allegations “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). Conclusory allegations “are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ” and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although a complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Rule 8 nevertheless requires factual allegations to make a “‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3.

         “Pro se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,' and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 612, 613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with “unique pleading requirements” and stating “a court cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'” (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975))).

         Bass filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party ...

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