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Davis v. Miller

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

August 9, 2019

DENNY MILLER et al., Defendants.


          Paul L. Maloney 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 against Defendants Smith and Kinasz.


         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff 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, however, occurred at the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF) in Kincheloe, Michigan. Plaintiff sues KCF Nurses Denny Miller and Tristina M. Smith and KCF Corrections Officer Unknown Kinasz.

         Plaintiff has been incarcerated for decades. He is imprisoned by the MDOC for life following his conviction for murder. Plaintiff alleges that since 2005, he has suffered “back pain with radiculopathy (a nerve root disorder)[.]” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) The MDOC's medical staff has classified Plaintiff as a chronic care patient. (Id.)

         On July 18, 2018, Plaintiff was suffering extreme pain in his lower back that was compromising the stability of his left leg. That morning he encountered Defendant Smith at the medication window. He described his pain to her. She said she could not do anything about it at that time and that he should have his unit officer call health services.

         Plaintiff then went to the unit officer, Defendant Kinasz, and asked him to call health services on Plaintiff's behalf. Defendant Kinasz complied immediately. He reached Defendant Miller and let Plaintiff speak to Defendant Miller. Plaintiff described his symptoms which included excruciating pain in his lower back and hip region, numbness within his penis for long periods of time alternating with needle-poke like pains, shooting pains up his rectum and buttocks, violent muscle spasms, and a burning stinging sensation traveling down his left leg that caused the leg to “give out[.]” (Id., PageID.5.) Plaintiff asked for pain medication.

         Miller noted that Plaintiff's symptoms were consistent with chronic back pain. He refused any medication and refused to direct Kinasz to bring Plaintiff to health services to see someone else. Miller directed Plaintiff to submit a medical kite, pay the co-pay, and wait to receive a call-out.

         After Miller hung-up, Plaintiff asked Kinasz to bring the issue to his shift commander. Kinasz declined, suggesting that Plaintiff complete a medical kite as directed by Miller. Plaintiff complied, but he was not called out that day.

         The next day, July 19, 2018, Plaintiff again complained to Nurse Smith when it was his turn at the medication window. She again told Plaintiff there was nothing she could do until she finished passing out medications and that, if he wanted relief sooner, he would have to have his unit officer call health services. She acknowledged that he needed medical attention.

         Plaintiff returned to his unit and asked Kinasz to call health services as Nurse Smith had instructed. Kinasz called health services and put Plaintiff on the phone to speak with Miller. Miller again told Plaintiff to put in a medical kite.

         Plaintiff, who was by that time noticeably limping from the pain, asked Prisoner Counselor Mortensen to intervene. Mortenson called health services and spoke with Miller. Miller said that he had still not seen a medical kite from Plaintiff and that Plaintiff could not see anyone until he submitted a medical kite. Plaintiff argued that he had submitted a medical kite. Miller accused Plaintiff of lying to get out of the co-pay.

         At Mortenson's instruction, Plaintiff filled out another medical kite. Mortenson reviewed the kite and then told Plaintiff to submit it to health ...

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