United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
JOSE CARLOS MENDIOLA a/k/a JOSE CARLOS MENDIOLA MORA, Plaintiff,
SHELBY COUNTY JAIL MEDICAL STAFF, Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 3, 2019, Plaintiff Jose Carlos Mendiola a/k/a Jose
Carlos Mendiola Mora, who is incarcerated at the Shelby
County Criminal Justice Center (Jail) in Memphis, 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.) After Mendiola submitted
the necessary documents, the Court issued an order 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. 6.)
Mendiola seeks to sue the Shelby County Jail Medical Staff.
alleges that, since February 2019, he has had “spots
and blisters in [sic] my arms and body.” (ECF No. 1 at
PageID 2.) Mendiola requested medical attention but allegedly
did not receive any for seven or eight months, and even then
he received only “shampoo, ” which did not help
his condition. (Id.) He also filed a grievance but
received no response. (Id.) Mendiola seeks
unspecified compensatory damages. (Id. at PageID 4.)
The 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
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
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
attempts to assert a claim under the Eighth Amendment, which
prohibits “deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs of prisoners.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104 (1976). However, Mendiola does not say who is
responsible for denying him proper medical care. He names
only the Shelby County Jail Medical Staff. The Jail itself is
not an entity subject to suit under § 1983. See
Jones v. Union Cnty., Tennessee, 296 F.3d 417, 421 (6th
Cir. 2002) (citing Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046,
1049 (6th Cir. 1994)). His claims could be construed as
against Shelby County, which may be held liable only
if his injuries were sustained pursuant to an
unconstitutional custom or policy. See Monell v.
Dep't. of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978).
But because Mendiola does not allege that he was denied
treatment pursuant to a Shelby County policy or custom, he
does not state a claim against Shelby County. His collective
allegations against the “Medical Staff” are
insufficient to state a claim against any Defendant. See
Gray v. Weber, 244 Fed.Appx. 753, 754 (8th Cir. 2007)
(affirming dismissal of inmate's § 1983 complaint
alleging denial of medical care against Defendants identified
“only collectively as ‘medical
had Mendiola named a proper Defendant, his allegations do not
amount to an Eighth Amendment violation. A claim for
inadequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment 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 would readily recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention.'” Blackmore, 390
F.3d at 897; see also Johnson v. Karnes, 398 F.3d
868, 874 (6th Cir. 2005). Mendiola's allegation of
“spots and blisters, ” without more, does not
constitute a serious medical need.
does Mendiola state a claim with regard to the allegation
that he did not receive a response to his grievances.
“There is no inherent constitutional right to an
effective prison grievance procedure.” See LaFlame
v. Montgomery Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 3 Fed.Appx.
346, 348 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Antonelli v.
Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir. 1996)). A ...