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Robinson v. Kandulski

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

April 5, 2017

ALBERT REGINALD ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ADAM KANDULSKI, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Paul L. Maloney United States District Judge.

         Honorable Paul L. Maloney This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 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 Kandulski, Alton, McCauley, Buskirk, Turner, Lamb, Canlas, Haapala, LaPlaunt, Buchanan, Pierce, Hensen, Suriano, Unknown Party #1, Pancheri, McLean, Corizon Health Services, Woods, Killips, Thompson, Horton, and Damron. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Millette, Merling, Filion, Ross, Golladay, Cusick, and Benoit.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff Albert Reginald Robinson, a state prisoner currently confined at the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Dr. Adam Kandulski, Nurse Sarah Alton, Health Unit Manager Susan B. McCauley, Physician's Assistant Joshua Buskirk, Nurse Charles E. Turner, Physician's Assistant Michael Millette, Nurse Theresa Merling, Nursing Supervisor Penny Filion, Nurse Patricia Lamb, Doctor Bienvenido B. Canlas, Medical Records employee H. Haapala, Health Unit Manager Melissa LaPlaunt, Nurse Practitioner Brenda Buchanan, and Eye Doctor Carolyn Pierce. Plaintiff also sues Corrections Officers Unknown Ross, Christopher Golladay, Unknown Cusick, and Unknown Benoit, Librarians Christine Hensen and Unknown Suriano, Unknown Party #1, Counselor Unknown Pancheri, Grievance Coordinator Unknown McLean, Health Care Provider Corizon Health Services, Warden Jeffrey Woods, Corrections Officers Unknown Killips and Unknown Thompson, Assistant Deputy Warden Unknown Horton, and Nurse Joseph Damron.

         In Plaintiff's complaint, he alleges that he was confined at the Saginaw Correctional Facility (SRF) from October 9, 2012, until December 4, 2013. During his time at SRF, Plaintiff began to suffer from pain in his lower abdomen. Plaintiff was seen by a nurse on November 15, 2012, who did nothing and charged Plaintiff a $5.00 co-pay. Plaintiff states that he was seen by a doctor sometime between December of 2012 and May of 2013. Plaintiff's doctor prescribed Meloxicam in May of 2013. On May 12, 2013, Plaintiff kited health care complaining of stomach and groin pain. On May 28, 2013, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Kandulski, who found a “cm” sized mass on the epididymis. Defendant Kandulski prescribed Cipro and gave Plaintiff a printout titled “Epididymitis.” On June 18, 2013, July 17, 2013, and July 21, 2013, Plaintiff kited health care complaining of severe groin pain and bumps / sores on his “privates.” In July of 2013, Defendant Kandulski told Plaintiff that the bumps were a side effect of the Cipro and did not offer any treatment for the bumps. Plaintiff claims that the bumps became puss filled and painful, and that they became open sores which scabbed over.

         On August 24, 2013, Plaintiff developed a hernia in his lower abdomen. By the time that Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Turner, the hernia had retracted and Defendant Turner stated that there was nothing he could do for Plaintiff. Plaintiff's hernia reappeared on August 27, 2013, and Plaintiff was seen by Nurse Barrows, who noted that he felt lumps on Plaintiff's lower right abdomen. Plaintiff filed a grievance complaining that he was not given any treatment for his hernia. Plaintiff also wrote a letter to the grievance director informing her that Defendants Alton and McCauley had deleted Nurse Barrows note regarding Plaintiff's protruding hernia. Plaintiff's request to be sent to the hospital for treatment was denied by Defendants Alton and McCauley.

         In July or August, Defendant Kandulski told Plaintiff that he would give him medication for prostate issues because that might be the cause of Plaintiff's symptoms. On September 2, 2013, Plaintiff kited health care regarding the reappearance of bumps / sores on his groin area. On September 4, 2013, an unknown nurse told Plaintiff that the bumps were not the result of an allergic reaction and refused to give Plaintiff any treatment. On October 8, 2013, Plaintiff had an appointment with Defendant Kandulski, but no treatment was given. On October 29, 2013, Plaintiff kited health care to complain about his bumps / sores reappearing. On October 31, 2013, Defendant Charles Turner examined Plaintiff and stated that his penis looked normal other than “2 pen like head flat black spots on shaft of penis.” Plaintiff was not given any treatment. Plaintiff claims that the progress note falsely stated that he did not have pain, when he actually was suffering from severe pain, which was reflected in his health care kites. In October of 2013, Defendant Kandulski gave Plaintiff a rectal examination. On October 29, 2013, Plaintiff went to health care as instructed because he noticed bumps and sores, but he was refused treatment. On November 5, 2013, Defendant Buskirk examined Plaintiff and falsely noted that Plaintiff rated pain as 3 out of 10. Plaintiff states that his pain was actually a 7 out of 10. Defendant Buskirk also described the sore as a “small cluster of dried skin, flat macule, skin tag, genital wart, fordyce spots, ” and stated that it was unclear what the lesions were. Defendant Buskirk refused to give Plaintiff any treatment and told him to “notify health care before lesions are resolved.” On November 11, 2013, Plaintiff again kited health care because of severe pain.

         On December 5, 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) as a result of all the kites and grievances he filed. During intake, Plaintiff discussed his health issues, which consisted of epididymitis, a sore back from prostate, and a hernia in his lower abdomen, with Health Care. Plaintiff claims that his request for a bottom bunk due to his health issues was denied. On January 6, 2014, Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Merling and he told her that he was in severe pain. A review of the exhibits to Plaintiff's complaint shows that Defendant Merling charted that Plaintiff had a small area that appeared to be an excoriation on the tip of his penis on the shaft. Defendant Merling noted no evidence of infection. Patient education was provided and he was told to use bacitracin and return to the medical unit in seven days for a repeat application of medication. See ECF No. 1-1, PageID.96. Plaintiff denies being given an antibiotic ointment.

         On February 24, 2014, Defendant Millette examined Plaintiff and observed sores, which Plaintiff claims were becoming a constant issue. On March 8, 2014, Plaintiff discovered that nursing staff had been giving him double doses of his psychiatric medication, which caused Plaintiff to sleep all the time and to miss his blood pressure check. Plaintiff filed a grievance on March 27, 2014, asserting that he was again denied triple antibiotic ointment. Plaintiff asserts that, at this point, he had been suffering from pain for over a year and had made several attempts to obtain treatment, to no avail. Plaintiff had been forced to pay $5.00 co-pays for each visit. Plaintiff asked to be tested for a venereal disease, but was never tested.

         On April 20, 2014, Plaintiff was moved from a cell which had a toilet, to one which did not have a toilet. Plaintiff states that URF Health Care workers knew that he had a prostate problem, but refused to treat it, which caused Plaintiff to experience urgency and frequency of urination. On April 30, 2014, Plaintiff received a misconduct for going to the bathroom during count, despite the fact that Plaintiff could not hold his urine due to pain. On May 17, 2014, Plaintiff received another misconduct for being unable to hold his urine while he was on toplock. Plaintiff claims that his prostate was so “infected and enlarged” that he had to use the bathroom every fifteen minutes, but that no diagnosis was made until October 28, 2015. Plaintiff claims that he received seven tickets for not being able to hold his urine.

         Plaintiff was being required to wait one hour to use the bathroom, which caused severe pain. Plaintiff had several appointments with nursing staff, as well as exams by Defendant Millette, but no treatment was given. Defendant Millette gave Plaintiff several rectal exams, but never said that Plaintiff had an enlarged prostate. On May 20, 2014, at 10:00 pm, Plaintiff asked Defendant Ross if he could use the bathroom, but Defendant Ross refused stating that Plaintiff had just used the bathroom at 8:50 pm. Defendant Ross told Plaintiff that he had to wait two hours before using the bathroom. At 10:30 pm, Plaintiff told a female corrections officer that he could not hold his urine any longer, and she ed Plaintiff to return to his cell. Plaintiff states that he urinated in his pants a little before being allowed to use the bathroom. Plaintiff also received a minor misconduct ticket written by Defendant Ross and five days on toplock. On May 24, 2014, Plaintiff kited Health Care and complained of excessive co-pays for exams that did not result in any actual treatment being given. Defendant Filion responded to the kite by stating that there was no evidence that Plaintiff required any treatment and that he had been advised on self care.

         On June 10, 2014, Plaintiff saw Defendant Millette, who yelled that he would give Plaintiff a post-void test to prove that there was nothing wrong with him. Defendant Millette also yelled that Plaintiff was wasting his time and that “every inmate that wants a f***ing detail for bathroom can't have one.” See ECF No. 1, PageID.15. Defendant Millette ordered Plaintiff to leave the office, and Plaintiff complied, leaving his book in the exam room because of haste to get away from Defendant Millette. Corrections Officer Eastman heard the yelling and retrieved Plaintiff's book for him.

         Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Defendant Millette, and Defendant Filion responded to the grievance by stating that Plaintiff became argumentative when he was told that there was no medical reason for him to have a bathroom detail. Defendant Filion also lied and stated that Plaintiff had argued with Corrections Officer Eastman, which Plaintiff denies. Plaintiff states that if he had argued with Officer Eastman, he would have received a warning or a ticket. In addition, Officer Eastman later told Plaintiff that he had no recollection of an altercation with Plaintiff. On June 12, 2014, Plaintiff was called out to see Defendant Merling for a post-void residual test. The test involved the placement of a catheter into Plaintiff after he urinated in order to determine how much urine was still in his bladder. Defendant Merling left the catheter in place for about 30 seconds and then removed it despite the fact that Plaintiff was yelling that he could still feel urine in his bladder. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Merling rushed through the procedure in order to get a negative test result because of Plaintiff's grievance against Defendant Filion. Plaintiff claims that as Defendant Merling was “yanking” the catheter out of Plaintiff, urine ran all over Plaintiff and he had to be cleaned up by a Nurse Assistant.

         On March 7, 2015, Defendant Merling told Plaintiff that he did not have an order for ibuprofen and that he should buy it from the prisoner store. Plaintiff claimed that he did have an active prescription, but it was refused in retaliation for his use of the grievance system. On June 3, 2015, Plaintiff kited Health Care regarding the bumps and sores on his penis. Plaintiff saw the nurse, who refused all treatment, including triple antibiotic ointment. On June 26, 2015, Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Damron for pain in his right middle finger, right knee, and left and right feet arches. Defendant Damron told Plaintiff that he had plantar fascitis and gave him an informational printout. Defendant Damron also gave Plaintiff a handful of Tylenol and Motrin and a detail for a hot water bottle. Defendant Damron also scheduled an appointment for Plaintiff with Defendant Canlas. Defendant Canlas ordered x-rays of Plaintiff's right knee and left foot on June 30, 2015. Plaintiff told Defendant Canlas that the pain in his right middle finger and right foot was worse, but Defendant Canlas refused to order x-rays for his right finger and foot in a desire to retaliate against Plaintiff for his use of the grievance system. Defendant Canlas instructed Plaintiff to kite for a refill of his Motrin.

         On August 4, 2015, Defendant Pierce gave Plaintiff an eye exam because he had been experiencing decreasing vision in his left eye. Defendant Pierce prescribed eye drops for Plaintiff's left eye. On February 2, 2016, Defendant tested Plaintiff's eyes and documented “no improvement with artificial tears based on TBUT test.” See ECF No. 1, PageID.17. Defendant Pierce charted that Plaintiff's vision was deteriorating due to the fact that he was not using the drops as prescribed. Plaintiff asserts that although he did not use the entire contents of all four bottles, he did use the drops as directed.

         On August 17, 2015, Plaintiff saw Physician's Assistant Danielle Paquette, who told him that his file indicated that he had been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate sometime in early to mid 2014 by Defendant Millette. Plaintiff states that he had never been told of this diagnosis. Plaintiff states that this information contradicted a February 2015 grievance response by Defendant Filion, which stated that Plaintiff had a normal prostate. On October 28, 2015, P.A. Paquette noted that Plaintiff had a history of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and complaints of frequency of urination beginning back in 2014. She further noted that Plaintiff had never been treated with medical therapy. During the examination, P.A. Paquette told Plaintiff that inmates who write grievances are red flagged and denied treatment. Defendant Filion was present during the October 28, 2015, examination. On November 13, 2015, Plaintiff received a notice of intent for refusing to sign a health care kite. Defendant Pancheri found Plaintiff guilty and removed $5.00 from Plaintiff's account for the co-pay.

         On January 24, 2016, at 9:30 am, Defendant Golladay denied Plaintiff's request to use the restroom during morning rounds. Defendant Golladay told Plaintiff he would have to wait until “the top of the hour.” At the time, Plaintiff was on Flomax for a severely enlarged prostate and suffered severe pain when he had to wait to use the restroom. At 1:05 pm on the same date, Plaintiff used the bathroom on his way to lunch. At 1:20 pm, on his way back to his cell, Defendant Cusick refused Plaintiff's request to use the bathroom again. At 1:30 pm, Plaintiff asked Defendant Golladay if he could use the bathroom, explaining that he was on medication and that he had an enlarged prostate. Defendant Golladay again told Plaintiff that he would have to wait until the top of the hour. Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding this issue. On the grievance response, Defendant Pancheri falsely stated that he had interviewed Plaintiff on the grievance. On January 30, 2016, Defendant Benoit allowed Prisoner Mullaney, who is white, to use the bathroom at 12:30 pm. On January 31, 2016, at 10:30 am, Defendant Golladay let Prisoner Mullaney use the bathroom.

         On February 15, 2016, at 7:30 am, Defendant Golladay again told Plaintiff that he would have to wait until the top of the hour to use the restroom, but that he could take a shower. Plaintiff alleges that having to delay using the bathroom caused him to suffer pain in his stomach. Plaintiff was finally able to use the bathroom at 8:00 am. At 8:30 am, Plaintiff overheard Defendant Golladay give permission to Prisoner Frese, who is white, to use the bathroom. At 10:30 am, Plaintiff asked to use the bathroom and Defendant Golladay stated, “you know it's the top of the hour.” In February or March of 2016, Defendant Woods came to the unit and instructed Defendants Golladay, Cusick, and Benoit to stop restricting bathroom usage to “the top of the hour.” But as soon as Defendant Woods left the unit, the practice continued unabated. Plaintiff claims that inmates Richard #347175, Gibbs #810512, and Humphrey #634235 can all attest to this practice, but that they were moved off the unit. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Woods denied dozens of grievances regarding the denial of bathroom access to Plaintiff. Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Defendant Pancheri on February 18, 2016, that was rejected without cause by Defendant McLean.

         On February 4, 2016, Plaintiff was found guilty of destruction or misuse of property, a Class II misconduct, by Hearing Officer M. LaCrosse after he was accused of failing to return a law library book by Defendant Hensen. In the hearing report, Hearing Officer LaCrosse stated that a phone call ...


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