United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL
WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF
APPELLATE FILING FEE
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
28, 2019, Plaintiff Thomas James Owen, who is incarcerated at
the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, Tennessee,
filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court issued an
order on July 1, 2019, 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. 4.) The Clerk shall record
the Defendants as Facility Nurse Practitioner Tommie Hendrix
and MHM Services, Inc. (MHM).
alleges that he has Hepatitis C, which has “already
caused damage to the liver” and enlargement of his
spleen. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) He alleges that Nurse
Practitioner Hendrix told him that his condition
“isn't bad enough to qualify for treatment, ”
ran the same test multiple times to delay providing him
treatment, and has otherwise ignored his condition.
(Id.) Hendrix allegedly told Owen he would receive
treatment only when his “condition is bad enough to
qu[a]lify” for it. (Id.)
seeks damages from Hendrix. (Id. at PageID 3.) He
also seeks to hold HMH liable for Hendrix's actions and
requests an order that he be provided treatment and
medication for his Hepatitis C. (Id.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(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).
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.
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))).
filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
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 injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress . . . .
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two
elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the
“Constitution and laws” of the United States (2)
committed by a defendant acting under color of state law.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 150
allegations amount to a claim of deliberate indifference to
his serious medical needs. The Court reviews claims regarding
the inadequacy of medical care under the Eighth Amendment,
which prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. See
generally Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991).
Under Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976),
“deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of
prisoners constitutes the ‘unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain” . . . proscribed by the Eighth
Amendment.” However, not “every claim by a
prisoner that he has not received adequate medical treatment
states a violation of the Eighth Amendment.”
Id. at 105. To state a cognizable claim, “a
prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful
to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
It is only such indifference that can offend ‘evolving
standards of decency' in violation of the Eighth
Amendment.” Id. at 106.
Eighth Amendment claim consists of both objective and
subjective components. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994); Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8
(1992); Wilson, 501 U.S. at 298. The objective
component of an Eighth Amendment claim based on a lack of
medical care requires that a prisoner have a serious medical
need. Blackmore v. Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890,
895 (6th Cir. 2004); Brooks v. Celeste, 39 F.3d 125,
128 (6th Cir. 1994). “[A] medical need is objectively
serious if it is ‘one that has been diagnosed by a
physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious
that even a lay person ...