United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
[Doc. 1]. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2);
1915A. Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. [Docs. 3,
Plaintiff Jonathan Nichols (“Plaintiff”) is a
prisoner of the State of North Carolina, currently
incarcerated at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Plaintiff filed this action on May 8, 2019, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, naming the following individuals as
Defendants: (1) Marilyn Gamewell, identified as a physician
at Alexander Correctional Institution
(“Alexander”); (2) FNU Harris, identified as a
nurse at Alexander; (3) FNU Fox, identified as a nurse at
Alexander; and (4) Wakenda Greene, identified as a grievance
examiner for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
(NCDPS). [Doc. 1 at 2].
brings claims against Defendants for deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment
rights. [Doc. 1]. Specifically, Plaintiff contends that,
since his arrival at Alexander in May of 2017, Defendants
Gamewell and Harris have interfered with Plaintiff's
prescribed treatment for his “life threatening”
condition, sickle cell anemia. Namely, Plaintiff's
physician, Dr. Osunkwo, has prescribed Plaintiff certain
medications and particular medical treatments for
Plaintiff's sickle cell disease. Defendants Gamewell and
Harris allegedly refuse to follow Dr. Osunkwo's treatment
plan. Dr. Osunkwo is a specialist in his field and has
treated Plaintiff for years. Plaintiff alleges that he is
supposed to receive red blood cell exchange transfusions
every month and, while at Alexander, he received them only
twice in two years. [Doc. 1 at 3-4]. Additionally, Plaintiff
alleges that three different prescribed medications are being
withheld from him and he is instead being given medications
that are “clearly forbidden.” [Doc. 1 at 5]. As
for Defendant Fox, Plaintiff alleges that Fox and Defendants
Gamewell and Harris “stopped [Plaintiff's]
treatment at the Levine Institute and sent [Plaintiff] to
UNC. They didn't feel comfortable interfering with my
sickle cell doctor from Levine.” [Doc. 1 at 7].
injuries, Plaintiff alleges that he has been living in
constant physical agony for two years with fear of sudden
death. [Doc. 1 at 10].
relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive
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
Court finds that, taking Plaintiff's allegations as true,
and drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor,
Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Gamewell, Harris,
and Fox for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs
are not clearly ...