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Hill v. Wilkins

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

September 24, 2019

ASTFN HILL, Plaintiff,
DOCTOR F/N/U WILKINS, et al, Defendants.



         Astin Hill, a pre-trial detainee in the custody of the Davidson County Sheriffs Office in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Doctor f/n/u Wilkins and the Davidson County Sheriffs Office. (Doc. No. 1).

         The complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. PLRA Screening Standard

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915 A similarly requires initial review of any "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, " id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).

         The court must construe a pro se complaint liberally, United States v. Smotherman, 838 F.3d 736, 739 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)), and accept the plaintiffs factual allegations as true unless they are entirely without credibility. See Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992)). Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts' "duty to be 'less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded] allegations." McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).

         III. Section 1983 Standard

         Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, abridges "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws . . . ." To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Sigley v. City of Panama Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006)); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         IV. Alleged Facts

         The complaint alleges that Dr. f/n/u Wilkins examined Plaintiff two times in August of 2019 concerning a possible eye infection and foot fungus. According to the complaint, Dr. Wilkins said that Plaintiffs eye "looked fine" and he refused to give Plaintiff any medication for his eye problem. (Doc. No. 1 at 5). The complaint further alleges that Dr. Wilkins gave Plaintiff the wrong medication for his foot fungus. Plaintiffs eye continues to bother him, and his foot fungus has not gone away. (Doc. No. 1 at 8). As relief, Plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount of compensation for his eye and foot conditions and wants to be treated at "a real hospital and not this jail." (Id. at 9).

         V. Analysis

         The complaint names two Defendants to this action: the Davidson County Sheriffs Office in its official capacity and Dr. Wilkins in his individual capacity. (Doc. No. 1 at 2).

         First, a police or sheriffs department is not an entity capable of being sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See, e.g., Durham v. Estate of Gus Losleben, No. 16-1042-STA-egb, 2017 WL 1437209, at *2 (W.D. Tenn. Apr. 21, 2017); McKinney v. McNairy Cnty., Tenn., 1:12-CV-01101, 2012 WL 4863052, at *3 (W.D. Tenn. Oct. 11, 2012); New by v. Sharp, 3:11-CV-534, 2012 WL 1230764, at *3 (E.D. Tenn. Apr. 12, 2012); Mathes v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville and Davidson Cnty., No. 3:10-CV-0496, 2010 WL 3341889, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25, 2010). Thus, the complaint fails to state claims upon which relief can be granted under Section 1983 against the Davidson County Sheriff s Office. These claims will be dismissed.

         Next, failure to provide medical care, including care for mental health conditions, may give rise to a violation of a prisoner's rights under the Eighth Amendment. The United States Supreme Court has held that deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble,429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Brooks v. Celeste,39 F.3d 125, 127 (6th Cir. 1994). A claim of deliberate indifference to a prisoner's medical needs under the Eighth Amendment has both an objective and subjective component. Rouster v. Cnty. of Saginaw,749 F.3d 437, 446 (6th Cir. 2014). A plaintiff satisfies the objective component by alleging that the prisoner had a medical need that was "sufficiently serious." Id. (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834). A plaintiff satisfies the subjective component "by alleging facts which, if true, would show that the official being sued subjectively perceived facts from ...

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