United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whithney, Judge
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e) and § 1915A, (Doc. No. 12). On August 2,
2017, the Court entered an order waiving the initial filing
fee and directing monthly payments to be made from
Plaintiff's prison account. (Doc. No. 8). Thus, Plaintiff
is proceeding in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff Robert Ballard is a North Carolina prisoner
incarcerated at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Plaintiff filed this action on July 7, 2017, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to an order from the Court,
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on March 2, 2018, naming
the following persons as Defendants: (1) Mr. Herring,
Superintendent, Lanesboro Correctional; (2) J. Bennett,
Assistant Superintendent, Lanesboro Correctional; (3) Mr.
Thompson, Nurse Supervisor, Lanesboro Correctional; (4) Mr.
Rogers, Assistant Superintendent, Lanesboro Correctional; (5)
Mr. D. Hatley, Unit Manager, Lanesboro Correctional; (6)
Capt. Aaron, Captain, Lanesboro Correctional; (7) Sergeant
Simmons, Sergeant, Lanesboro Correctional; (8) Nurse Parks,
Nurse, Lanesboro Correctional; and (9) First Shift Nurses,
Lanesboro Correctional. Plaintiff alleges that, while he was
incarcerated at Lanesboro, Defendants violated his
constitutional rights by deliberately ignoring his serious
medical needs and by subjecting him to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement.
alleges in the Complaint that he is confined to a wheelchair
and needs to be in a handicap cell. He alleges that he was
housed in Red Unit, segregation, until he was sent to an
outside hospital for chest pains, and then returned to
Lanesboro. He alleges that he was transferred to Lanesboro in
May 2017. Plaintiff alleges that he should never have been
transferred to Lanesboro because it is not a medical
hospital. Plaintiff alleges that, for numerous days, he was
denied the use of a shower, hot water, and lights in his
cell; that various Defendants denied him needed medications;
he was denied clean clothing and underwear, pants, shirts,
and bedding for nine days; he was chained (by Defendants
Aaron, Simmons, and three other officers) with a waist chain
and handcuffs (black box); and his leg was cut in response to
him knocking on his cell door to receive medical assistance
when having chest pains, and he was forced to use the
bathroom on the floor. Plaintiff alleges that he wrote a
letter to Defendant Rogers, Assistant Superintendent, about
not receiving a shower or clean clothes, and Defendant Rogers
told Plaintiff he could receive a shower and clean clothes,
but it did not happen.
filed grievances with Defendant Herring, Superintendent of
Lanesboro, about his medications not being given to him. He
also alleges that Defendant Thompson changed Plaintiff's
activity level from A-3 to A-1, which is the wrong level for
Plaintiff because he suffers from numerous health issues.
Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Hatley has denied
Plaintiff a handicap cell while at Lanesboro. Finally,
Plaintiff alleges that “each and every named Defendant
has personal knowledge and involvement in the above actions,
decisions.” (Doc. No. 12 at 7). For relief, Plaintiff
states that he seeks injunctive relief and compensatory and
punitive damages. (Id. at 8).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous or
malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore,
§ 1915A requires an initial review of a “complaint
in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity, ” and the court must identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. In
its frivolity review, this 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).
state a claim for a violation of the Eighth Amendment under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an alleged lack of or
inappropriate medical treatment, a plaintiff must show a
“deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs” of the inmate. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104 (1976). “Deliberate indifference requires
a showing that the defendants actually knew of and
disregarded a substantial risk of serious injury to the
detainee or that they actually knew of and ignored a
detainee's serious need for medical care.”
Young v. City of Mt. Ranier, 238 F.3d 567, 575-76
(4th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted). “To establish that
a health care provider's actions constitute deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need, the treatment must be
so grossly incompetent, inadequate, or excessive as to shock
the conscience or to be intolerable to fundamental
fairness.” Miltier v. Beorn, 896 F.2d 848, 851
(4th Cir. 1990).
that might be sufficient to support negligence and medical
malpractice claims do not, without more, rise to the level of
a cognizable Section 1983 claim for a federal constitutional
violation. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106; Grayson v.
Peed, 195 F.3d 692, 695 (4th Cir. 1999)
(“Deliberate indifference is a very high standard-a
showing of mere negligence will not meet it.”). To be
found liable for a constitutional violation, a prison
official must know of and consciously or intentionally
disregard “an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837
(1994); Johnson v. Quinones, 145 F.3d 164, 167 (4th
Cir. 1998). “[E]ven if a prison doctor is mistaken or
negligent in his diagnosis or treatment, no constitutional
issue is raised absent evidence of abuse, intentional
mistreatment, or denial of medical attention.”
Stokes v. Hurdle, 393 F.Supp. 757, 762 (D. Md.
1975), aff'd, 535 F.2d 1250 (4th Cir. 1976). The
constitutional right is to medical care. No right exists to
the type or scope of care desired by the individual prisoner.
Id. at 763. Therefore, a disagreement “between
an inmate and a physician over the inmate's proper
medical care [does] not state a § 1983 claim unless
exceptional circumstances are alleged.” Wright v.
Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir. 1985) (dismissing
the plaintiff's § 1983 claim against a defendant
physician for allegedly discharging the plaintiff too early
from a medical clinic, as such claim did not rise to the
level of deliberate indifference but would, “at most,
constitute a claim of medical malpractice”).
Plaintiff's claim alleging unconstitutional conditions of
confinement, the Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from
inhumane methods of punishment and from inhumane conditions
of confinement. Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756,
761 (4th Cir. 1996). “Prison conditions may be harsh
and uncomfortable without violating the Eighth Amendment
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.”
Dixon v. Godinez, 114 F.3d 640, 642 (7th Cir. 1997).
Rather, extreme deprivations are required, and “only
those deprivations denying the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities are sufficiently grave to form the
basis of an Eighth Amendment violation.” Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (quoting Wilson v.
Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991) (internal quotation
omitted)). The plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to
support a claim that prison officials knew of and disregarded
a substantial risk of serious harm. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994). A plaintiff must also
generally allege “a serious or significant physical or
emotional injury resulting from the challenged
conditions.” Strickler v. Waters, 989 F.2d
1375, 1381 (4th Cir. 1993).
Court finds that, assuming that Plaintiffs allegations are
true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor,
Plaintiffs claims are not clearly frivolous. Thus, this
action survives initial screening. As to the Defendants named
only as “First Shift Nurses, ” however, the Court
notes that these Defendants cannot be personally served
unless and until Plaintiff identifies each of their names.