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Langford v. Prima

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 1, 2018



          Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge

         Robert Langford (“Langford”) brings this Prisoner Civil Rights claim against several defendants (collectively, “Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First and Eighth Amendment rights. Langford claims that by inadequately treating his ingrown toenail, Defendants showed deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Langford also claims that he received a misconduct ticket in retaliation for his decision not to allow a prison nurse to operate on his toenail, in violation of the First Amendment.

         Three groups of Defendants filed separate motions to dismiss. After the Defendants filed their motions to dismiss, the Court ordered Langford to either file an amended complaint or respond to all three motions. Langford filed a response; only one reply brief was filed. No. motions to dismiss were filed on behalf of Defendant Unknown Rick, a nurse, and an Unknown Person from the Bureau of Health Care Services (“Unknown Person”).

         For the reasons that follow, all three motions are GRANTED; Langford's claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE against all Defendants.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts of the Case

         i. Medical Treatment For Ingrown Toenail

         Langford alleges that on September 16, 2016, he requested medical attention for an ingrown toenail. Three days later, he was notified that he had an appointment to both have his toenail examined and to use the toenail clippers. He met with “Nurse Unknown Rick, ” who allowed him to use the toenail clippers. Nurse Rick said he would schedule Langford to see a doctor. Langford did not get notice of an appointment, so he sent another request on September 25, 2016 for an appointment, indicating he was in pain and had difficulty walking. In response to this request, he was scheduled to see Nurse Cynthia Brzyski (“Brzyski”) on September 28, 2016. That appointment was canceled. He sent another request, which resulted in him seeing Nurse Lisa Wurmlinger (“Wurmlinger”) on October 7, 2016; she indicated that she would schedule Langford to see a doctor. [Complaint, Pg. 6-7].

         On October 14, 2016, Langford was seen by Nurse Practioner Prima Muzirman (“Muzirman”), who advised him that he should have the toenail removed. Langford asked Muzirman if she had such experience; she said she had never removed a toenail. Langford told Muzirman that he preferred a doctor to remove his toenail. Id. at 7.

         Between November 2016 and February 2017, Langford alleges that he made several requests concerning his toenail and went to several appointments, only to be told they were cancelled when he arrived. Notably, he says he sent a request stating that he needed to see a physician to remove his toenail because he was not going to let an inexperienced medical provider perform the procedure. He admits he declined a few appointments to have a medical provider assess his toenail or to use the toenail clippers, either because his toenail was already assessed, or because he did not need to use clippers. Id. at 7-8.

         After sending a letter inquiring about an appointment for his toenail, Langford alleges receiving a letter from an Unknown Person on February 8, 2017. That letter indicated that they were looking into his concern. Id. at 8.

         ii. Prisoner Misconduct Ticket

         On January 25, 2017, Langford alleges that he was given a pass to see Muzirman, who examined Langford's ingrown toenail and said it was due to a fungus. He asked her why she kept calling him to see her when he was not going to let her perform any procedures on his toenail. Langford alleges that Muzirman became angry, and told him to get out of her office. Muzirman told a custody officer that Langford yelled at her, and the custody officer - according to Langford - told Muzirman that Langford could be written up for insolence. Langford admits he did raise his voice, but he did not threaten or intimidate Muzirman. He told the custody officer that the only issue was that he did not want Muzirman to work on his toenail. Id. at 9-10.

         The next day, the control center issued Langford a Class II misconduct for insolence. Langford unsuccessfully appealed the ticket. Langford later pled guilty to the misconduct. Id.

         iii. Langford's Grievances ...

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