United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
A. VARLAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tommy Earl Jones, an inmate in the custody of the Tennessee
Department of Correction (“TDOC”), has filed a
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
[Doc. 1]. This matter is before the Court for screening
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRAâ).
the 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
elsewhere”). “Absent either element, a section
1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett,
932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
alleges that Daniel Miller, a treating physician at the
Northeast Correctional Complex (“NECX”), and Dr.
Smith, an emergency room doctor at Johnson City Medical, have
refused him surgery and pain medication necessary to treat
his Chron's disease. [See Docs. 1 & 5].
prison official violates the Eighth Amendment with regard to
lack of medical care or treatment only when he responds with
deliberate indifference to an inmate's serious medical
needs. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994);
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). This standard
requires that the medical condition be objectively serious,
but it also requires that the prison official actually knew
of and disregarded the excessive risk to the inmate's
health. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Therefore, to meet
this subjective standard, a plaintiff must establish that the
prison official: (1) “perceived facts from which to
infer substantial risk to the prisoner;” (2) “did
in fact draw the inference;” and (3) “then
disregarded that risk.” Comstock v. McCrary,
273 F.3d 693, 703 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Farmer,
511 U.S. at 837).
patient's disagreement with his doctor's choice of
treatment alleges, at most, a medical-malpractice claim,
which is not cognizable under § 1983. Darrah v.
Krisher, 865 F.3d 361, 372 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 107). “Additionally,
‘[w]here a prisoner has received some medical attention
and the dispute is over the adequacy of the treatment,
federal courts are generally reluctant to second guess
medical judgments and to constitutionalize claims which sound
in state tort law.'” Id. (quoting
Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 860 n.5 (6th Cir.
preliminary matter, the Court notes that Dr. Smith is not a
proper Defendant in this action, as an emergency room doctor
is not a State actor for purposes of § 1983. See
Styles v. McGinnis, 28 Fed.Appx. 362, 354 (6th Cir.
2001). Accordingly, Dr. Smith must be dismissed from this
Court otherwise finds that Plaintiff cannot sustain this
action against Dr. Daniel Miller, as it is apparent from
Plaintiff's allegations that Dr. Miller has evaluated
Plaintiff and determined that he does not require surgery or
pain medication [See Doc. 1 p.5; Doc. 5 p. 7].
Plaintiff notes that Dr. Miller has specifically advised him
that pain medication will only aggravate his symptoms [Doc. 1
p. 5]. Accordingly, Plaintiff's desire for additional
treatment, and/or his disagreement with course of his current
treatment, is insufficient to raise a § 1983
reasons stated above, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, and his complaint will be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE against all named