United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
DAVID L. JAMERSON, Plaintiff,
UNKNOWN BEAUCHAMP, et al., Defendants.
L. Maloney United States District Judge.
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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
David L. Jamerson, a state prisoner currently confined at the
Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility (AMF), filed this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendants Lieutenant Unknown Beauchamp,
Corrections Officer Unknown Pynonen, Corrections Officer
Unknown Dove, Nurse Vicki Usitalo, and Lieutenant Wickstrom.
In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on January 29, 2016,
he was accused of throwing an unknown liquid on Corrections
Officer Carroll. Plaintiff was placed on upper slot
restriction, container restriction, and food loaf
restriction. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Beauchamp
supervised a move team to extract Plaintiff from his cell in
order to search for containers and implement the container
restriction. As part of the search, Defendant Beauchamp
ordered his team to confiscate Plaintiff's glaucoma
medication. After Plaintiff was returned to his cell, he
requested his glaucoma medication, but Defendant Beauchamp
ignored his request. Later that day, Plaintiff made two
requests for emergency medical attention due to pain in his
left eye. Plaintiff's requests were denied by Defendants
Pynonen and Dove. At some point during January 29, 2016,
Defendant Usitalo told unit staff that it was alright for
them to set Plaintiff's eye drops on the floor. As a
result, Plaintiff refused to accept the eye drops.
claims that on February 21, 2016, Plaintiff was again accused
of throwing an unknown liquid. Plaintiff was removed from his
cell so that it could be searched for containers. The only
containers found during the search were Plaintiff's new
tube of Aqua Fresh toothpaste and his prescription eye drops
for glaucoma and a serious optic nerve injury. Plaintiff
requested his medication five or six times on February 21,
2016, to no avail. Plaintiff was transferred to the Marquette
Branch Prison (MBP) on February 22, 2016. The doctor at MBP
ordered Plaintiff's prescriptions, but he did not receive
them until February 29, 2016.
claims that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages,
as well as declaratory and equitable relief.
Failure to state a claim
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement, ' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009). Because § 1983 is a method for
vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive
rights itself, the first step in an action under § 1983
is to identify the specific constitutional right allegedly
infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271
(1994). The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of
cruel and unusual punishment against those convicted of
crimes. U.S. Const. amend. VIII. The Eighth Amendment
obligates prison authorities to provide medical care to
incarcerated individuals, as a failure to provide such care
would be inconsistent with contemporary standards of decency.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 102, 103-04 (1976). The
Eighth Amendment is violated when a prison official is
deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of a
prisoner. Id. at 104-05; Comstock v.
McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 702 (6th Cir. 2001).
for the deprivation of adequate medical care has an objective
and a subjective component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834 (1994). To satisfy the objective component, the
plaintiff must allege that the medical need at issue is
sufficiently serious. Id. In other words, the inmate
must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm. Id. The objective
component of the adequate medical care test is satisfied
“[w]here the seriousness of a prisoner's need[ ]
for medical care is obvious even to a lay person.”
Blackmore v. Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 899 (6th
Cir. 2004). If the plaintiff's claim, however, is based
on “the prison's failure to treat a condition
adequately, or where the prisoner's affliction is
seemingly minor or non-obvious, ” Blackmore v.
Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 898 (6th Cir. 2004), the
plaintiff must “place verifying medical evidence in the
record to establish the detrimental effect of the delay in
medical treatment, ” Napier v. Madison Cnty.,
238 F.3d 739, 742 (6th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks
subjective component requires an inmate to show that prison
officials have “a sufficiently culpable state of mind
in denying medical care.” Brown v. Bargery,
207 F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing Farmer,
511 U.S. at 834). Deliberate indifference “entails
something more than mere negligence, ” Farmer,
511 U.S. at 835, but can be “satisfied by something
less than acts or omissions for the very purpose of causing
harm or with knowledge that harm will result.”
Id. Under Farmer, “the official must
both be aware of facts from which the inference could be
drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he
must also draw the inference.” Id. at 837.
every claim by a prisoner that he has received inadequate
medical treatment states a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105. As the Supreme Court
[A]n inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care
cannot be said to constitute an unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain or to be repugnant to the conscience of
mankind. Thus, a complaint that a physician has been
negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does
not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment under the
Eighth Amendment. Medical malpractice does not become a
constitutional violation merely because the victim is a
prisoner. In order to state a cognizable claim, ...