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Morgan v. Buchanan

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

January 8, 2020

ROBERT JAMES MORGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
BRENDA L. BUCHANAN 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 Defendants Unknown Part(y)(ies) #1 and Unknown Part(y)(ies) #2.

         Discussion

         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Nurse Practitioner Brenda L. Buchanan; Registered Nurses Unknown Haskie, Unknown Headley, R. Stranly, Unknown Guild, and Theresa M. Merling; as well as Kim Atkinson, Unknown Part(y)(ies) #1, and Unknown Part(y)(ies) #2.

         Plaintiff alleges that while at URF in late January 2018, he injured his back and received a conservative treatment plan from medical staff. On February 3, 2018, Plaintiff was unable to rise from his bed “due to extreme pain.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.) Plaintiff was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with herniated discs and a possible rupture. Although Plaintiff was returned to the prison, he was unable to rise from his bed for the next three days, February 5, 2019, through February 7, 2019.

         During that time, medical staff informed Plaintiff that if he wanted treatment, he had to walk over to medical. If he wanted to eat, use the restroom, or anything else, he would have to walk. As a result, Plaintiff did not eat, use a toilet, or take his psychiatric medicine for those three days. Over the course of the three days, corrections officers on Plaintiff's unit checked on Plaintiff and requested medical staff come and help Plaintiff, but none came. Plaintiff further asserts that “[m]y people finally called [and] got me some treatment. [T]hey got me to a wheelchair but I never was treated properly.” (Id.)

         Approximately 40 days later, Plaintiff received a CT scan. He subsequently received emergency surgery. He alleges that, “[d]ue to lack of treatment an infection set in my spine and ate the soft tissue and disc of my back.” (Id.) Plaintiff had two or more surgeries to remove a disc and fuse part of his spine. Plaintiff alleges that he remains in constant pain, requires a cane to walk, is in rehabilitation, and sees a neurosurgeon to discuss future surgeries he will need.

         Plaintiff seeks mediation to determine acceptable relief.

         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 alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).

         Plaintiff's claims arise under the Eighth Amendment for deprivation of adequate medical care.

         III. Failure to ...


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