United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
K. Majzoub, Mag. Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
TO DISMISS AND (2) DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITH
LEAVE TO AMEND
V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Clary Doss-Bey (“Doss-Bey”), incarcerated at the
Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan, filed this
pro se civil rights action against Defendant Corizon
Medical Corporation (“Corizon”), pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, claiming a violation of his 8th Amendment
rights against cruel and unusual punishment from a denial of
corrective eye surgery. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1, Pg. ID 1.)
This matter is before the Court on Corizon's Motion to
Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
(Dismiss Mot., ECF No. 20.)
alleges as follows. He has a visual disability caused by
cataracts and glaucoma. (Compl. at 2, Pg. ID 2.) Corizon is
the health care corporation contracted by the Michigan
Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) to provide
medical services for state prisoners. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at
1, Pg. ID 1.) He contends that Corizon has denied him
corrective eye surgery which could cure his visual
disability, stating to him that the surgery is cosmetic and
unnecessary. (Compl. at 2, Pg. ID 2; Pl. Resp., ECF No. 22 at
66, Pg. ID 66.) As a result of the surgery being denied,
Doss-Bey claims that he has gone blind in his right eye and
will remain so until the corrective surgery is performed.
(Pl. Resp. at 66, Pg. ID 66.) He claims-in general terms-that
“his right to receive adequate medical care, is being
violated according to [MDOC] policies.” (Compl. at 2,
Pg. ID 2.) Doss-Bey argues that denial of his
corrective eye surgery demonstrates deliberate indifference
toward his serious medical need in violation of the 8th
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of the complaint. RMI Titanium Co. v.
Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir.
1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
but it must contain more than “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action . . ..” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint
does not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertions' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Supreme Court provided in Iqbal and
Twombly, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Id. (quoting 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.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plausibility standard
“does not impose a probability requirement at the
pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of
illegal [conduct].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
deciding whether the plaintiff has set forth a
“plausible” claim, the court must accept the
factual allegations in the complaint as true. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This presumption is not
applicable to legal conclusions, however. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 668. Therefore, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
the medical treatment a prisoner receives in prison is
subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment. See Miller
v. Calhoun County, 408 F.3d 803, 812 (6th Cir. 2005)
(citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 2014
(1976)). The Supreme Court has articulated a mixed objective
and subjective standard for determining the existence of a
deliberate indifference claim in the context of the 8th
[A] prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth
Amendment for denying an inmate humane conditions of
confinement unless the official knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety; 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.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
objective component of the standard requires a demonstration
of a sufficiently serious medical need. Miller, 408
F.3d at 812. Courts have addressed whether denial of cataract
surgery amounts to deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need, reaching mixed results depending on the
specific circumstances of the case. Compare Cobbs v.
Pramstaller, No. 10-2089, 2012 WL 1194999, at *5 (6th
Cir. Apr.10, 2012) (holding that medical evidence
demonstrated a detrimental effect from delay in cataract
surgery), with Stevenson v. Pramstaller, No.
07-cv-14040, 2009 WL 804748, at *5 (E.D. Mich. Mar.24, 2009)
(granting summary judgment where evidence showed that the
defendants refused cataract surgery because the
prisoner's eye condition was stable). Here, Doss-Bey
contends that he has gone blind in his right eye because he
has been denied the corrective eye surgery. Accepting
Doss-Bey's allegations as true, the Court concludes that
Doss-Bey's medical condition sufficiently demonstrates a
serious medical need-that is, the restoration of sight in his
Doss-Bey's Complaint has neither identified any
individual at Corizon responsible for denying his corrective
eye surgery nor plead facts demonstrating any Corizon
employee's knowledge of his asserted serious medical
need. The subjective component requires a showing that the
complained of person possessed “a sufficiently culpable
state of mind in denying medical care.”
Miller, 408 F.3d at 813 (quoting Farmer,
511 U.S. at 834.) “ ‘Knowledge of the asserted
serious needs or of circumstances clearly indicating the
existence of such needs, is essential to a finding of
deliberate indifference.' ” Id. (quoting
Horn v. Madison County Fiscal Court, 22 F.3d 653,
660 (6th Cir.1994)). In establishing this component of the
standard, Doss-Bey's Complaint is lacking.
1983 imposes liability on an entity when it, under color of
state law, violates a person's constitutional or
statutory rights. Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 692 (1978). “[I]t is when
execution of a government's policy or custom . .
. inflicts the injury that the government as an entity is
responsible under § 1983.” Id. at 694
(emphasis added); see also Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Coogan v. City of Wixom, 820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir.
1987) ("to satisfy the Monell requirements a
plaintiff must 'identify the policy, connect the policy
to the [entity] itself and show that the particular injury
was incurred because of the execution of that policy.'
”). Doss-Bey's Complaint neither sufficiently
identifies any allegedly unconstitutional, governmental
custom or policy nor demonstrates that his alleged
constitutional violation was a result of any
unconstitutional, governmental custom or policy. Doss-Bey
points to MDOC Policy 03.04.100, which states that
“[p]risoners shall be provided with a continuum of
medically necessary health care services that are supported
by evidence-based medical research.” (Pl. Resp., ECF
No. 22 at 1, Pg. ID 65.) This, however, is clearly not a
policy related to the denial of his corrective eye surgery.
an entity cannot be held liable under § 1983
“solely because it employs a
tortfeasor”-or, in other words, it cannot be held
liable under § 1983 solely because of allegedly
unconstitutional conduct by its employees or agents.
Monell, 436 U.S. at 663. Section 1983 permits suit
against “a private entity that contracts to perform
traditional state functions, ” but that contractor is
only liable under a Monell claim “for a policy
or custom of that private contractor, rather than a
policy or custom of” a governmental entity. Johnson
v. Karnes, 398 F.3d 868, 877 (6th Cir. 2005); see
also Miller, 408 F.3d at 813 (citing Monell,
436 U.S. at 694) (liability under § 1983 only attaches
when the execution of a policy or custom causes the
constitutional violation in question). Again, Doss-Bey ...