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Adams v. Scherle

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

June 3, 2019



          THOMAS L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jeffrey Adams was confined at the Federal Corrections Institution in Milan, Michigan at the time he filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in their failure to treat his skin condition effectively and refer him to a dermatologist. He seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as $5, 000, 000 in damages. Plaintiff has recently been relocated to McKean Correctional Institution in Bradford, Pennsylvania. (Dkt. 6.)


         Plaintiff states that the circumstances of his complaint began in September 2017 and continue to the present. He complains of skin bumps which leak pus and blood and have resulted in scars and sores. (Complaint at 7-8, ECF No. 1, PageID 7-8.) Defendant Dr. Gregory Scherle treated Plaintiff with five different medications, including Doxycycline and Prednisone. (Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiff complained that the treatment was not working and Dr. Scherle stated that he was going to put Plaintiff on a longer dose. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff states that Defendant Nurse Mann denied him his medications, but provides no detail of when the denial occurred, which medications were denied, or the consequences of the denial. (Id.)

         Plaintiff asked to be referred to a dermatologist and was told it would take a few months to be seen by one. (Id.) His skin bumps were sampled and analyzed but displayed no evidence of infection. (Id.)

         Plaintiff complained to Defendant Dan Clore, executive assistant, numerous times about his skin condition. (Id.) He asked Clore to expedite the referral to a dermatologist. (Id.) Clore told Plaintiff to “talk to medical.” (Id.)

         Defendant Counselor M. Kohlman denied Plaintiff a grievance form when he asked for one, saying he did not have any. (Id.) Plaintiff obtained a form from another counselor. (Id.) He did file a grievance over this issue but is uncertain whether it was processed. (Id. at 11.)


         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court is required to dismiss sua sponte an in forma pauperis complaint before service if it determines that the action 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. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b). When evaluating a complaint under that standard, courts “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and examine whether the complaint contains ‘sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Hill v. Snyder, 878 F.3d 193, 203 (6th Cir. 2017) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as well as “a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (3). “[D]etailed allegations” are not necessary, but under Rule 8(a) the pleading must ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Courts need not “accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation[, ]” and any “naked assertion[s]” require “further factual enhancement” to comply with Rule 8(a). Id. at 555, 557.

         To state a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, “a plaintiff must set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under the 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) (citation omitted). A plaintiff must also allege “more than just mere negligence.” Fisher v. City of Memphis, 234 F.3d 312, 317 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115 (1992)) (other citation omitted). The plaintiff must establish the liability of each individual defendant by that person's own conduct. “Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to . . . § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676.

         A pro se civil rights complaint is to be construed liberally. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Consistent with Twombly and Iqbal, the Sixth Circuit has observed that “[d]espite the leniency afforded to . . . pro se litigant[s], however, our standard of review requires more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions, and thus the complaint ‘must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements' to recover under some viable legal theory.” Barhite v. Caruso, 377 Fed.Appx. 508, 510 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Mezibov v. Allen, 411 F.3d 712, 716 (6th Cir. 2005)).



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