United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, filed under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. [Doc. 13]. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2); 1915A. On January 17, 2019, the Court entered an
order waiving the initial filing fee and directing monthly
payments be made from Plaintiff's prison account. [Doc.
7]. Thus, Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff Scott Michael Cox (“Plaintiff”) is a
prisoner of the State of North Carolina, currently
incarcerated at Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, North
Carolina. Plaintiff originally filed this action on December
3, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On initial review
of that Complaint, the Court allowed Plaintiff leave to amend
his complaint to correct certain deficiencies. On July 9,
2019, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint. [Doc. 13]. In
his Amended Complaint, the Plaintiff names as Defendants FNU
Lynch, employed as a MedTech at Mecklenburg County Jail; (2)
FNU McCoy, employed as a MedTech at Mecklenburg County Jail;
and (3) Doe's 1-10, not further identified by Plaintiff
“because whoever responds leaves off names or won't
provide name tag.” [Doc. 13 at 3].
not specifically enumerated as such, Plaintiff's claim is
in the nature of one for deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment.
[See Doc. 13]. Plaintiff alleges that certain
members of the nursing staff at Mecklenburg County Jail have
failed to consistently provide Plaintiff with life-saving
antiretroviral medication to treat his HIV condition. On
September 29, 2018, Plaintiff made his first request for his
HIV medication and was not provided any medication until
October 22, 2018. For over two months thereafter, Plaintiff
was not consistently given his medication despite numerous
requests. Plaintiff alleges that his laboratory results
clearly demonstrate serious, adverse and measurable health
consequences due to the multiple lapses in medication.
[Id. at 3-4]. It is unclear from Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint whether this alleged failure to provide
life-saving medication persists.
seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages. [Id.
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,
under § 1915A the Court must conduct an initial review
and identify and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, if it 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 to such relief.
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). Furthermore, a
pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). 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).
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an alleged lack of or
inappropriate medical treatment fall within the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976). To state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, a
plaintiff must show a “deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs” of the inmate. Id.
“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 § 1983 claim. 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 under the Eighth Amendment, 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 allegations as true and drawing all
reasonable inferences therefrom, the Court finds that the
Plaintiff has stated a claim against Defendants for
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs in violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment right
to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.