United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Janet T. Neff 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.
Timothy Crane is presently incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional
Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Michigan. He complains that on
November 30, 2016, Defendant Dr. Barbara M. Davenport after
conversing with Plaintiff by telephone for just a few
minutes, but without asking any questions regarding
Plaintiff's condition, took away medications (Wellbutrin,
Benadryl, and melatonin) that proved helpful in treating his
depression and other conditions. Plaintiff filed a grievance
regarding the discontinuance of the medications. The
grievance documents are attached to the complaint. (Compl.
Exh. A, B, C, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.11-15, 17.) Plaintiff also
attaches MDOC health care reports relating to the November
30, 2016 health care visit as well as a subsequent visit on
January 24, 2017. (Compl. Exh. D, PageID.20-25.) The
documents support Plaintiff's claim regarding the
discontinuance of certain medications, but the documents also
disclose that the doctor continued Plaintiff on Prozac and
started Plaintiff on Clonidine.
time Dr. Davenport discontinued the medications,
Plaintiff's Outpatient Case Manager, Defendant Unknown
Mucha, was also present. There are no allegations in the
complaint suggesting that Defendant Mucha played any role in
the discontinuance of Plaintiff's medications. The
remaining Defendants, ECF Psychologist A. Marshall, ECF
Mental Health Unit Chief Brian Majerczyk, and MDOC Assistant
Mental Health Service Director Tom Osier, all played roles in
denying Plaintiff's grievance regarding the
discontinuance of his medications. Defendants Davenport and
Majerczyk are each sued in his or her personal capacity and
their official capacity. Defendants Mucha, Marshall, and
Osier are each sued only in his or her official capacity.
asks the Court to appoint counsel, order a mental health
provider to conduct a comprehensive psychological evaluation,
order reinstatement of the discontinued medications, order
the mental health medical provider to respond to this action,
and grant any other relief the Court deems appropriate.
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). Although Plaintiff's complaint does not
specifically mention a constitutional right, his attached
grievance contends that Defendants have been deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of 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, ” Id. at 898,
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 omitted).
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 ...