United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
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.
Michael Lanning presently is incarcerated at the Earnest C.
Brooks Correctional Facility (LRF), though the actions about
which he complains also occurred while he was housed at the
G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility (JCF). He sues LRF
Doctor Richard Worel and JCF Doctor (unknown) Penrose.
to the complaint, while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the
Alger Correctional Facility in 2004, he injured his right
knee during a workout routine involving squats. Plaintiff
complains that he notified the correctional officer on the
wing, who contacted Nurse Linda Maki. Nurse Maki allegedly
refused to schedule Plaintiff with the doctor. Over the
course of the next 13 years, Plaintiff's knee has gotten
worse. Unspecified medical personnel have ordered x-rays,
which show the slow deterioration of the knee.
March 2017, while he was at JCF, Defendant Penrose examined
him. In addition to his knee pain, Plaintiff apparently had
back pain. Defendant Penrose instructed Plaintiff to perform
20 abdominal crunches each day and eventually increase that
number to 50 crunches per day. Dr. Penrose also instructed
Plaintiff to do right-leg extensions every waking hour for
two weeks. Plaintiff complains that all of the prescribed
exercises were impossible with a bad knee, because he
experienced pain performing them.
Plaintiff was transferred to LRF, he was seen by Defendant
Worel. Worel also instructed Plaintiff to perform stomach
crunches. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Worel intended him
to suffer pain during these exercises, and that Defendant
Worel has directed him to take 400 mg of Motrin and two 325
mg of Tylenol for pain. Plaintiff alleges that the pain
relievers mask the pain, but do not cure the problem. He also
complains that the pain prevents him from sleeping well at
night. Plaintiff contends that Defendants have demonstrated
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, because
they have ordered exercises and pain medications, rather than
ordering knee-replacement surgery.
relief, Plaintiff seeks an injunction directing Defendant
Worel to order knee-replacement surgery. He also seeks $109
million in compensatory damages, and the same amount in
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
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