United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), 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 against Defendant Tracy Shaffer for
failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF)
in Ionia, Michigan. The events about which he complains
occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues Psychologist Tracy
alleges that he suffers from a mood disorder. (Compl., ECF
No. 1, PageID.3.) MDOC health care providers have prescribed
various medications in different combinations to treat
Plaintiff's disorder. Plaintiff contends that Defendant
Shaffer switched Plaintiff's medications frequently. The
side effects from the medications were severe. Plaintiff
acknowledges that he and Defendant Shaffer agreed to take him
off medications completely. (Id.) Although the
medication side effects may have dissipated, Plaintiff claims
that he began to have homicidal thoughts. He stabbed another
prisoner. He alleges that Defendant Shaffer has refused to
respond to Plaintiff's medical kite requests to be put
back on the prior medications. Although Defendant Shaffer may
have refused to go back to the prior medications, she did
start Plaintiff on a different medication, one he claims that
he tried unsuccessfully at a prior placement.
claims that Defendant Shaffer has been deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff seeks
damages in the amount of $10, 000.00 and an order compelling
Defendant to put Plaintiff on the “correct medication,
” whatever that might be.
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); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). 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).
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,
including mental health needs, of a prisoner. Id. at
104-05; Comstock v. McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 702 (6th
Cir. 2001). Plaintiff states that Defendant Shaffer has been
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical mental health
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 ...