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Hicks v. Sheldon

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

August 9, 2019

RICKIE HICKS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN SHELDON et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          GORDON J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is 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 for failure to state a claim.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff Rickie Hicks is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF) in Ionia, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the following individuals who work at ICF: Nurse Unknown Sheldon and “Regional Nurse” Unknown Party, identified as “John/Jane Doe.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.2, 5.) He also sues Corizon, the MDOC's healthcare provider.

         Plaintiff alleges that he injured his hand on July 12, 2016, during an altercation with another prisoner. As a result of the altercation, he was placed in segregation. The following day, July 13, Plaintiff sent a kite to healthcare notifying prison medical staff of his “injury and symptoms.” (Compl., PageID.6.) A kite response attached to the complaint describes the contents of his kite as “My hand is extrem[e]ly swollen and it isn't going down. The palm of my hand is turning bluish purple[.] I believe it is fractured.” (MDOC Kite Response, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.13.)

         Plaintiff received the foregoing kite response on July 14. The response informed him that he had been “placed on the call out to be evaluated by a nurse regarding this concern. Please be patient. The nurse will asses[s] your needs and determine if you need a referral to the MP for further evaluation and treatment.”[1] (Compl., PageID.6; see Kite Response, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.13.) The response also indicated that Plaintiff was added to the callout for “Wednesday, Thursday, and today, but due to staffing shortages nursing has been unable to see you yet.” (Id.)

         On July 15, Nurse Unknown Party allegedly claimed that he/she visited Plaintiff's cell and then left without examining Plaintiff because Plaintiff would not acknowledge the nurse. However, Plaintiff asserts that no one came to visit him that day.

         Finally, on July 20, a nurse evaluated Plaintiff's injury and referred him to the medical provider. The next day, he received an x-ray that revealed a bone fracture in the fourth proximal metacarpal of his right hand.On July 25, Plaintiff complained to healthcare that the pain in his hand was “unbearable”; healthcare staff provided him with a splint and pain medication. (Compl., PageID.6.) They also referred him to an orthopedic specialist.

         Plaintiff met with the specialist on August 8, who treated him. Plaintiff alleges that, due to the delay in treatment, his hand “healed improper[.]” (Compl., PageID.9.) Consequently, he suffers “long term impairment, consistent pain, and los[s] of mobility in his right hand[.]” (Id., PageID.8.) He must take pain medication to alleviate the pain, and his ability to work and participate in activities is more limited than it was before his injury.

         Plaintiff asserts four claims. First, he claims that Corizon failed to provide adequate medical care, in violation of Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment. Second, he contends that “medical personnel” failed to “deal with [his] problem” in a “timely” manner, which violated prison policy and his rights under the Eighth Amendment. (Id.) Third, he claims that Defendant Sheldon violated prison policy. Fourth, he claims that Defendant Unknown Party violated prison policy.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages from all defendants.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A 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 ...


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