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Parker v. Corpening

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

November 17, 2017



          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1).[1] Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 6).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Christopher Parker has filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 791 et seq., and North Carolina negligence, against Marion Correctional Institution Superintendent Hubert Corpening and Staff Psychologist Valerie A. Carswell in their individual and official capacities.

         Liberally construing the Complaint and accepting the allegations as true, Plaintiff has a history of mental health issues dating back to 1998. A psychologist at Scotland C.I. re-diagnosed him with depressive disorder which caused him to be a threat to himself and others. (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6). That psychologist referred Plaintiff to a psychiatrist in Raleigh who prescribed medicine and said Plaintiff would be shipped to an institution where he would start treatment for his mental illness and receive medication. (Doc. No. 1 at 11). Plaintiff was told all his paperwork and files would be shipped along with him.

         Plaintiff was transferred to Marion C.I. where Defendants denied him “any help or his medications” after Plaintiff repeatedly informed Defendants of his diagnosis and need for treatment. (Doc. No. 1 at 6). After Plaintiff informed Defendants of his condition, he was still housed around general population inmates who are not mentally ill. Plaintiff began experiencing frustration, confusion, and difficulty distinguishing reality from fiction. As a result, he cut himself with razorblades, set fires to burn his own skin, and ate feces and smeared it on his body and cell. (Doc. No. 1 at 6).

         Plaintiff informed Defendants of his need for treatment on numerous occasions including a grievance dated October 6, 2014. On December 23, 2014, the third-step grievance response agreed that Petitioner was prescribed mental health medications. (Doc. No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff made this information available to Carswell and Corpening, who again denied him treatment and medication. By this time, Plaintiff had gone 16 months without his medication or any treatment for his mental illness.

         On January 11, 2015, Plaintiff received a disciplinary incident report. Defendant Carswell wrote a statement saying that she reviewed Plaintiff and found no action where medications were prescribed despite Plaintiff having informed her of the grievance disposition to the contrary. (Doc. No. 1 at 13). Carswell insisted that Plaintiff does not need the previously prescribed medications that he should be “accountable for all his actions [because] his mental health illness is no excuse.” (Doc. No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff complains that Defendants' actions were deliberately indifferent and negligent.

         Plaintiff seeks unspecified injunctive relief, declaratory judgment, and compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. No. 1 at 4-5).


         A “court shall dismiss [a prisoner's] case at any time if the court determines that ... the action or appeal ... fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim “unless ‘after accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and drawing all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his claim entitling him to relief.'” Veney v. Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th Cir. 1999)). In its frivolity review, a court must determine whether the Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989).

         A pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see also Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th Cir. 2009) (“Liberal construction of the pleadings is particularly appropriate where … there is a pro se complaint raising civil rights issues.”). However, the liberal construction requirement will not permit a district court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts in his complaint which set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). A pro se complaint must still contain sufficient facts “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (the Twombly plausibility standard applies to all federal civil complaints including those filed under § 1983). This “plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). He must articulate facts that, when accepted as true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling him to relief. Id.


         (1) Deliberate Indifference to a ...

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