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Griffin v. Easter

United States District Court, District of Kansas

April 15, 2014

JEFF EASTER, Sheriff, Sedgwick County Detention Facility, et al., Defendants.


Sam A. Crow U.S. Senior District Judge

This pro se civil complaint was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by an inmate currently confined at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility, Hutchinson, Kansas. Having considered the materials filed, the court finds as follows.


The fee for filing a civil complaint in federal court is $400.00, which includes the statutory fee of $350.00 and an administrative fee of $50.00, or for one granted leave to proceed without prepayment the fee is $350.00. Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of Fees (Doc. 3) and has attached an Inmate Account Statement in support as statutorily mandated. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner granted such leave is not relieved of the obligation to pay the full fee of $350.00 for filing a civil action.

Instead, being granted such leave merely entitles him to pay the filing fee over time through payments deducted automatically from his inmate trust fund account as authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). Furthermore, § 1915(b)(1), requires the court to assess an initial partial filing fee of twenty percent of the greater of the average monthly deposits or average monthly balance in the prisoner’s account for the six months immediately preceding the date of filing of the civil action. Having examined the records of plaintiff’s account, the court finds the average monthly deposit during the relevant time period was $ 26.19, and the average monthly balance was $ 4.09. The court therefore assesses an initial partial filing fee of $ 5.00, twenty percent of the average monthly deposit rounded to the lower half dollar. Plaintiff is given time to submit the part fee to the court and warned that his failure to comply within the prescribed time may result in dismissal of this action without further notice.


D.Kan. Rule 9.1(a) requires that a civil rights complaint be on forms approved by the court. The complaint in this action is not on forms. Plaintiff is required to submit his complaint upon the appropriate forms and to present all his claims and allegations therein. He must answer all applicable questions on the forms and may not simply refer to his non-complying initial pleading.


As the factual background for his complaint, Mr. Griffin alleges as follows. On September 25, 2012, during his detention at the Sedgwick County Adult Detention Center, Wichita, Kansas (SCADC) he fell due to a wet floor and sustained serious injuries. At the time, two “unsupervised trustees were mopping water from the floor with towels.” There was no sign warning of the wet floor, and no verbal warning was given to plaintiff. Nurse Kaitlin witnessed the fall, advised plaintiff to remain calm, and helped him to his feet. Plaintiff was called to the clinic for an “intense evaluation.” Another nurse did the initial screening and discovered that plaintiff “was suffering severe medical issues” including that his “neck was out of joint” due to the fall. The nurse ordered plaintiff sent to a specialist and prescribed a neck collar. He returned to his pod “under strict medical monitoring.” On September 27, 2012, plaintiff was given x-rays, which were “considered inconclusive” due to the intense swelling inside his neck. Two weeks later, plaintiff was transported to his own personal doctor, Dr. Moufarrij, who determined that plaintiff needed an MRI. Dr. Moufarrij analyzed the MRI results and determined that plaintiff’s “C-4, C-5, C-6 and C-7 needed to be fused due to the fall which crushed those bones from the impact.” Recommended surgery was conducted.

Plaintiff then sustained another injury at the SCADC when the Clinical Therapist, whose name is unknown, acted negligently and without proper training in that he “roughly pulled” plaintiff’s neck during a session causing it to “snap, ” which resulted in paralysis to plaintiff’s left side, arm and upper body for 8 days. Plaintiff was again transported to his personal doctor, who performed an MRI and CT and determined that a second surgery was necessary for “spinenoisis and Laminectomy for 3 through 6 due to the disc were damaged.” The doctor noted that the injuries could have been fatal. The prescribed surgery was performed. Plaintiff was later transported to the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC). None of the therapy that defendants were ordered to provide has been provided by defendants or the KDOC.

Defendant Karen Powell, Assistant County Counselor, failed to fairly investigate this matter and did not obtain adequate information. She was biased in her findings toward defending Sheriff Easter and obstructed courts from knowing the true nature of plaintiff’s injuries. Powell was negligent and deceptive and she “falsely reported” that plaintiff’s injuries were “from other sources” rather than his fall at the SCADC.

Plaintiff names as defendants Sheriff Jeff Easter, SCADC; Assistant County Counselor Karen Powell, “Sedgwick County Clinical Therapist, ” and “any” unnamed John or Jane Does. He alleges that defendants acted maliciously, sadistically, with deliberate indifference and “possibly discrimination.” He further alleges that defendants failed “to take action against the Tort Action Claim, ” failed to “curb the pattern of abuse” and protect plaintiff from “arbitrary governmental suppression, ” delayed due process, and “refus(ed) to fix the matter in a just way.” Plaintiff asserts the following constitutional violations: cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, violation of due process, violation of equal protection, and violation of the privileges and immunities clause. In addition, he claims medical malpractice, negligence, and violation of Kansas Tort Laws. Plaintiff seeks compensatory, exemplary, and punitive damages, each in the amount of $3, 500, 000.


Because Mr. James is a prisoner, the court is required by statute to screen his complaint and to dismiss the complaint or any portion thereof that is frivolous, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks relief from a defendant immune from such ...

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