United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pro se prisoner's complaint for violation of 42 U.S.C.
1983 that the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Tennessee transferred to this Court after
granting Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and assessing the filing fee [Docs. 4]. This
matter is now before the Court for screening pursuant to the
Prison Litigation Reform Act.
the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
district courts must screen prisoner complaints and shall, at
any time, sua sponte dismiss any claims that are
frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or
are against a defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Benson v.
O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999). The
dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)
“governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the
relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468,
470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive an initial review
under the PLRA, a complaint “must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings
filed in civil rights cases and hold them to a less stringent
standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal
right by a person acting under color of state law. Braley
v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990)
(stating that “Section 1983 . . . creates a right of
action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
housed at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex
(“BCCX”), Plaintiff suffered with an ingrown hair
and was prescribed Bactrim, an antibiotic, by Nurse
Practitioner Lanita Gann [Doc. 1 p. 7]. Plaintiff claims that
the medication blistered his penis, and that when he sought
medical treatment from Dr. Gregory Terpstra on December 20,
2017, Dr. Terpstra laughed at him and refused to treat him
[Id. at 5]. Plaintiff asserts that he filed
grievances about his medical condition, and later, about the
lack of proper handling of grievances, but was essentially
ignored by Defendants Michael Laughter, Capt. John Doe, Unit
Manager Wendy Hensley, Associate Warden Brett Cobble, Lt.
Henry, Darren Settles, and Tony Parker [Id. at 4-7].
claims that he also sought medical treatment on January 27,
2018, for a protruding bullet wound, but because it was the
weekend, he had to wait in pain until January 30, 2018, for
treatment [Id. at 7]. Plaintiff claims that Medical
Director T. Guettner and Health Administrator Karl Campbell
are responsible for failing to properly train medical staff
at BCCX to ensure that inmates get proper treatment
Laughter, Capt. John Doe, Unit Manager Wendy Hensley,
Associate Warden Brett Cobble, Lt. Henry, Darren Settles, and
Tony Parker are named as Defendants in this case because of
their alleged failure to handle Plaintiff's grievances
appropriately [See Doc. 1 p. 4-7]. However, inmates
have no constitutional right to an effective grievance
procedure, nor do they have an interest in having their
grievances satisfactorily resolved. See, e.g., LaFlame v.
Montgomery Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 3 Fed.Appx.
346, 348 (6th Cir. 2001); see also Adams v. Rice, 40
F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994); Geiger v. Jowers, 404
F.3d 371, 374-75 (5th Cir. 2005). Moreover, none of these
Defendants are alleged to be medical providers charged with
responding to sick call requests, and “[t]he
‘denial of administrative grievances or the failure to
act' by prison officials does not subject supervisors to
liability under § 1983.” Grinter v.
Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 576 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir.
1999)). Accordingly, Defendants Laughter, John Doe, Hensley,
Cobble, Henry, Settles, and Parker will be dismissed, as
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against them upon which
relief may be granted.
alleges that Defendants Terpstra, Gann, Campbell, and
Guettner have violated his constitutional right to adequate
medical treatment. The law is well settled that a prison
authority's deliberate indifference to an inmate's
serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). The
subjective component of a claim for denial of medical care
requires proof that the prison official acted with deliberate
indifference. Carter v. City of Detroit, 408 F.3d
305, 312 (6th Cir. 2005), abrogated on other grounds in
Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223 (2009). Deliberate
indifference requires a mental state amounting to criminal
recklessness, and mere negligence is insufficient.
Santiago v. Ringle, 734 F.3d 585, 591 (6th Cir.
2013) (citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834, 839-40). To
meet this subjective standard, a plaintiff must establish
that the defendant: (1) “perceived the facts from which
to infer substantial risk to the prisoner;” (2)
“did in fact draw the inference;” and (3)
“then disregarded that risk.” Id. at 591
(quoting Comstock v. McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 703 (6th
Cir. 2001)). However, where medical treatment has been
provided, an inmate's dispute over the adequacy of that
treatment will not state a constitutional claim absent the
requisite mental state, even when such treatment amounts to
medical malpractice. See Darrah v. Krisher, 865 F.3d
361, 372 (6th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted).
case, Plaintiff does not allege that Defendants Campbell or
Guettner had any personal involvement in his requests for
medical treatment. Because personal involvement in the
alleged constitutional wrong is a requirement for supervisory
liability to attach, Defendants Campbell and Guettner will be
dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to state a claim
against them upon which relief may be granted. See
Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 575 (6th Cir. 2008).
Additionally, Defendant Gann provided Plaintiff with medical
treatment. The fact that Plaintiff later had an allergic
reaction to the treatment is not an allegation sufficient to