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Flentall v. Lange

March 16, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Robert J. Jonker


This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, PUB. L. NO. 104-134, 110 STAT. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim against Defendants Hoag, Funk, Kruger, Geer, Elkin, Johnson, Schwartz, Lange, Merlau and Curtis. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Schorthaar, Pfost, Powell, Nurse Peek, Gelabert, Peterson, Rider, Becker, Lacey and RUO Peek.


I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff Ernest Calvin Flentall presently is incarcerated at the Chippewa Correctional Facility, though the actions he complains of occurred while he was housed at the Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) and the Florence Crane Correctional Facility (ACF). Plaintiff sues the following LCF and ACF employees: LCF Health Unit Manager Nancy Lange; LCF Assistant Health Unit Manager Diane Schwartz; ACF Health Unit Manager Mary Ann Schorthaar; ACF Nurses (unknown) Peek, (unknown) Pfost, (unknown) Powell, (unknown) Peterson, and (unknown) Merlau; ACF Resident Unit Officer (RUO) (unknown) Peek; LCF Nurses Rhonda Rider and (unknown) Elkin; ACF Doctor (unknown) Gelabert; LCF School Principal (unknown) Hoag; ACF Teacher (unknown) Geer; LCF Doctors (unknown) Becker and (unknown) Lacey; LCF Records Administrator for Health Services Sharon Curtis; LCF Teacher (unknown) Funk; LCF Classification Director Randy Kruger; and LCF Corrections Officer N. Johnson.

In his complaint, Plaintiff makes a series of allegations regarding three different health conditions and certain custody arrangements. He alleges that he was transferred from LCF to ACF on April 16, 2008. On April 19, 2008, Defendant Schorthaar allegedly told Plaintiff that she was aware that he had "[w]ritten my girl up and we and [sic] not going to have that problem out of you over here." (Compl., docket #1 at 11.) Ten days later, on April 29, 2008, Plaintiff was examined at Duane L. Waters Hospital regarding his lower pack pain. He was prescribed Methadone to alleviate the pain, with instructions not to have the medication crushed because it was a time-release formulation. On April 29, 2008, Plaintiff spoke with Defendant Pfost about the crushing of his medication in contradiction to the prescribing doctor's orders. On April 30, 2008, when he reported to the medication line, he again found his Methadone crushed. When Plaintiff again inquired about who had authorized the crushing, Pfost became abusive and unprofessional. Plaintiff told Pfost that he intended to file a grievance against her, and he began to solicit witnesses while standing in the medication line. Defendant Pfost filed a major misconduct ticket against Plaintiff that same day, allegedly in retaliation for his expressed intent to file a grievance against her. On May 1, 2008, Plaintiff filed his grievance against Pfost for her abusive treatment. He also filed a grievance against Defendants Powell, Peek and Pfost about the crushing of his Methadone. Plaintiff was interviewed by Defendant Merlau about the grievance, and Defendant Schorthaar denied the grievance. He filed a second grievance on May 15, 2010, which was dismissed as duplicative of a grievance he had filed on April 12, 2008. On May 19, 2008, Health Services changed his prescription for Methadone to Ultram. Plaintiff alleges that the Ultram has not helped his condition or alleviated his pain.

Plaintiff was issued a major misconduct ticket on May 24, 2008 by Defendant RUO Peek, who is the husband of Defendant Nurse Peek. Plaintiff alleges that RUO Peek's misconduct ticket was issued in retaliation for the grievances Plaintiff had written against his wife.

Plaintiff was placed on unemployable status on May 10, 2008 because he would not take a school test, notwithstanding the fact that Plaintiff has severe glaucoma that has left him blind in the right eye and partially blind in the left eye. On June 1, 2008, he filed a grievance about the change in status. Plaintiff also filed a grievance on June 17, 2008, in which he grieved the decision of Defendants Gelabert and Schorthaar to take him off of Methadone, alleging that the decision was taken in retaliation for Plaintiff having filed grievances against health service staff.

On September 28, 2008, Plaintiff met with Defendants Hoag and Funk to discuss the possibility of getting a medical exemption for school because of his vision problems. Defendants Hoag and Funk reported that they had spoken with Defendant Becker, who falsely stated that Plaintiff had 20/20 vision. They therefore did not grant the exemption from school. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Hoag about the denial, alleging that it constituted deliberate indifference to his medical condition. He also filed a grievance against Defendant Becker for deliberate indifference to his severe glaucoma by not granting a special accommodation to be exempt from school.

Plaintiff was interviewed by LCF Classification Director Defendant Randy Kruger on October 23, 2008. Kruger informed Plaintiff that he had spoken with health services about Plaintiff's medical condition. Plaintiff thereafter attempted to speak with LCF Health Services Manager Defendant Lange, Assistant Health Services Manager Defendant Schwartz, and Health Services Record Administrator Defendant Curtis about their release of his medical information to Kruger without his permission. He filed a grievance against them on October 24, 2008.

On November 10, 2008, Plaintiff met with Defendant Dr. Lacey about his migraine headaches. Lacey concluded that the headaches were cluster headaches, and he prescribed a heart medication. The headaches returned in two weeks. Plaintiff asked Defendant Curtis for a copy of Lacey's medical report, but his request was denied or ignored. He filed a grievance against Defendants Lacey and Curtis that was denied as untimely.

Plaintiff reported to the medication window on December 17, 2008. Plaintiff alleges that he took his medication, and Defendant Elkin observed him swallowing it. Defendant Corrections Officer Johnson, however, allegedly demanded that Plaintiff open his mouth, using foul language and acting unprofessionally. The next day, Plaintiff filed a grievance about the incident against both Elkin and Johnson.

On February 24, 2009, Defendant Lacey wrote a special accommodation notice that included no work assignment from February 24, 2009 to August 24, 2009. Plaintiff attempted to show his notice to Defendant Kruger on March 20, 2009. Kruger, however, ignored the accommodation and tried to force Plaintiff to attend school. Plaintiff grieved the incident.

Plaintiff alleges that he wrote numerous requests to Defendant Becker, asking to be seen about his glaucoma and his need for transition lenses for his glasses. His requests went unanswered. On March 21, 2009, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendants Schwartz and Becker, alleging deliberate indifference to his medical needs.

On March 24, 2009, Defendant Lacey gave Plaintiff a special accommodation notice that included no school from March 24 to August 24, 2009. On April 23, 2009, Defendant Lacey discontinued the no-school order. Plaintiff again filed a grievance against Lacey. Plaintiff alleges that Lacey's action to discontinue the no-school order was taken in ...

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