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Richardson v. Quality Correctional Health Care

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

December 17, 2019




         On November 13, 2019, Plaintiff Alphonso Richardson, who is incarcerated at the Bledsoe County Correctional Facility in Pikeville, 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 the same day 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.) On November 25, 2019, Richardson filed an amended complaint, (ECF No. 5), which supersedes the original complaint. Richardson sues Quality Correctional Health Care (QCHC).

         Richardson's amended complaint concerns events that allegedly occurred when he was an inmate at the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex (CJC) in Jackson, Tennessee.[1] (Id. at PageID 18.) He alleges that when he was booked into the CJC on August 14, 2019, he informed Officer Taylor, who is not a Defendant, that he was on numerous medications to treat his psychological issues, blood pressure, and cholesterol. (Id.; see also ECF No. 5-1 at PageID 20.) Richardson's wife brought his medications to the CJC, but “they would not accept them here[;] they said I had to have an intake done and the Dr[.] would prescribe them.” (ECF No. 5 at PageID 18.) Richardson asked how long it would be until he could get his medication, and Officer Taylor told him he would get them “within 2 weeks.” (ECF No. 5-1 at PageID 21.) Richardson alleges he did not receive his psychological or blood-pressure medication, which he alleges he has “been on all my life, ” for 85 days. (ECF No. 5 at PageID 18.)

         Richardson requested medication from the unnamed nurses at the CJC, but they told him they had nothing for him. (ECF No. 5-1 at PageID 21.) On August 24, 2019, an unnamed nurse checked Richardson's blood pressure and informed him “that it was really high and asked me if I took Blood Pressure pills.” (Id.) The nurse also checked his blood sugar, which was low, and Richardson told the nurse the name of the medications he took for both conditions. (Id. at 21-22.) Richardson alleges that his wife told “Nurse Beth” what medications he was taking, but she “would not accept my medication from my wife.” (Id. at PageID 22.) Richardson grieved the lack of medication but received no response. (Id. at PageID 23.) Richardson also alleges that he submitted sick-call requests about his arthritis but received only ibuprofen from the medical staff. (Id.)

         Richardson further alleges that he has been forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded cells at the CJC. (Id. at PageID 23-24.) He alleges that he “filed a request” to Captain Rudder, Sergeant Long, and Lieutenant Balderrama about the matter, but none of them responded. (Id. at PageID 24.) He further alleges that the nurses have a bad attitude and make hurtful comments towards him suggesting that he has does not “have anything to live for.” (Id. at PageID 25.)

         Richardson seeks compensatory damages and asks the Court to “fire this Medical Staff.” (Id. at PageID 19.)

         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 ‘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))).

         Richardson filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides:

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 ...

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