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Minley v. Pierce

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

October 25, 2019

KEVIN MINLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN PIERCE et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          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 Defendant Pain Management Committee Unknown Part(y)(ies) #1.

         Discussion

         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility (ARF) in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan.

         The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Optometrist Carolyn Pierce, Registered Nurse Sue Howard, Corizon Health, Inc. (Corizon), MDOC Pain Management Committee Unknown Part(y)(ies) #1, Utilization Manager Unknown Part(y)(ies) #2, and Regional Medical Director Unknown Part(y)(ies) #3.

         Plaintiff alleges he suffers from bilateral Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG). (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4; Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.28.) His right eye has been in the severe stages of the condition since at least July 10, 2018. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4; Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.28.) Plaintiff also suffers from cataracts in his right eye. (Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.29.)

         Plaintiff has received care for POAG from an offsite specialist physician, Dr. John McManus. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.) On January 3, 2018, Dr. McManus prescribed COSOPT eye drops to treat Plaintiff's POAG. (Id.) On January 23, 2018, Plaintiff kited MDOC Health Care requesting a refill of his COSOPT prescription. (Id.) Defendant Howard responded that the eye drops were on back order from the contract pharmacy “Pharm Corr.” (Id.) Several days later, Plaintiff again kited MDOC Health Care requesting a refill for his prescription indicating he was experiencing pain and blurred vision without his eye drops. (Id.) Defendant Howard again responded, informing Plaintiff of a nationwide shortage of the medication. (Id.) On January 29, 2018, Plaintiff filed a grievance, and a one-month supply of eye drops were obtained from an offsite pharmacy on February 2-the same day of the grievance's receipt. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4-5; Ex. C, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.50-51.)

         Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Howard[1] placed a stop order discontinuing the COSOPT eye drops and replacing with AZOPT eye drops, which Defendants Corizon and MDOC Pain Management Committee approved on February 9, 2018. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.5). On March 17, 2018, when Plaintiff first used AZOPT, he immediately suffered “intense pain, burning, redness and increased eye pressure.” (Id.) Plaintiff “notified [D]efendants” of the side effects and requested COSOPT, and Defendants did not immediately respond. (Id.) On March 21, 2018, Plaintiff met with Defendant Pierce who discontinued AZOPT but provided nothing in its place. (Id.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff “kited [D]efendants” over a span of nearly two months informing of his pain and worsening vision. (Id.) On May 3, 2018, Plaintiff was called to Health Care and received a refill of COSOPT eye drops. (Id.) Plaintiff explained “his symptoms and severe pain to D[e]fendant Howard.” (Id.) Plaintiff's intraocular pressure registered an 18/19, and Plaintiff was referred to Dr. McManus for evaluation. (Id.)

         Dr. McManus informed Plaintiff that “vision loss from nerve damage or due to glaucoma cannot be restored.” (Id.) Dr. McManus further recommended treatment of Plaintiff's cataracts for proper evaluation and care of Plaintiff's POAG. (Id.; Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.29.) Consequently, Defendant Pierce recommended cataract surgery for Plaintiff to Defendant Pain Management Committee citing Dr. McManus' recommendation. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.5; Ex. B, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.31.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Unknown Utilization Manager cited an MDOC policy to refuse Plaintiff's cataract surgery until Plaintiff's vision worsened to 20/70. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.6.) Defendant Pierce appealed the decision, but Defendant Unknown Regional Medical Director upheld the policy and its application. (Id.)

         On January 15, 2019, Dr. McManus wrote in his report to MDOC Health Care, “I continue to recommend cataract surgery.” (Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.17.) Dr. McManus continued, “I believe this is medically necessary for appropriate glaucoma care.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff asserts two claims. First, Plaintiff alleges Defendants deprived him of medical care by failing to properly provide his prescription COSOPT eye drops. Second, Plaintiff alleges Defendants deprived-and continue to deprive-him of medical care for his POAG by denying cataract surgery. Plaintiff alleges that deprivation of medical care resulted ...


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