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Earl v. Quality Correctional Health Care

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

December 9, 2019

JULIAN EARL, Plaintiff,



         On September 16, 2019, Plaintiff Julian Earl, a former inmate at the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex (CJC) in Jackson, Tennessee, filed a pro se civil complaint and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court issued an order on October 21, 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. 11.) After Earl informed the Clerk he was no longer incarcerated (ECF No. 14), the Court directed him to either renew his pauper status or pay the remainder of the civil filing fee. (ECF No. 15.) Earl complied, (ECF No. 17), and the Court granted his motion to renew his in forma pauperis status. (ECF No. 19.)

         Earl also has filed two amended complaints, (ECF Nos. 5 & 7), which appear to supplement, rather than supersede, his original complaint. The Court will therefore consider the allegations in all three complaints. The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Quality Correctional Health Care (QCHC) and Madison County.[1]

         Earl alleges that on August 31, 2019, he was taken from the CJC to Jackson General Hospital for a heart attack he had suffered. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) After he returned to the CJC on September 3, 2019, his defibrillator[2] “started going off every morning at 10:20AM.” (Id.) He alleges he has complained “to Medical” about the issue, but they assured him that “it was suppose[d] to do this.” (Id.)

         Earl separately alleges that when he first arrived at the CJC, he was given no medication for seven days, even though he brought the medication with him. (Id.) He also was forced to sleep on cold concrete for five days, which drained the batteries in his defibrillator and caused his heart rate to spike, even though CJC staff was aware of his heart condition. (Id. at PageID 2-3; ECF No. 5 at PageID 15.) Earl alleges that after his emergency hospital visit, CJC staff “was informed to give me 2 mattresses, ” but they did not provide any. (ECF No. 5 at PageID 15.)

         Earl further alleges that he was sent back to the hospital for two weeks, which he had to spend in the ICU because of his malfunctioning defibrillator. (ECF No. 7 at PageID 22.) He again returned to the CJC with a new heart medication, of which he alleges he was told not to miss a single dose or he “would be right back in the E.R.” (Id.) Yet, he alleges, “the facility here still would not acknowledge this[, ] and they had to rush me back up front until they got them.” (Id.)

         Earl alleges that unnamed CJC staff either refused him medication or improperly discontinued it in 2016 and in August 2018. (Id. at PageID 23.) He accuses the CJC medical department of “totally neglect[ing] the[ir] job of giving the proper medical attention and responding in a timely fashion.” (Id.) He also complains about the delay in, and costs of, receiving treatment and alleges that unnamed nurses mis-prescribe medication. (Id. at PageID 23-24.) He also alleges that grievances he has submitted about the problems with the medical staff and treatment have gone unanswered. (Id. at PageID 27.)

         Earl wants “the Medical Staff & Agency held accountable for their Medical Neglect” and unspecified compensation. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 5; ECF No. 5 at PageID 16.)

         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 ...

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