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Jones v. Parks

United States District Court, D. Kansas

November 19, 2019

LORENZO M. JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW PARKS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Sam A. Crow, U.S. Senior District Judge.

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Although Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the El Dorado Correctional Facility (“EDCF”), the claims giving rise to his Complaint occurred during his incarceration at the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kansas (“LCF”).

         I. Nature of the Matter before the Court

         Plaintiff alleges that he worked as a laundry porter at LCF and acquired a hernia. He went to the clinic in 2017 and was given a blood test and a physical by the PA. Plaintiff kept complaining about his groin pain and after a year and a half he was taken to Providence in Lansing and was scheduled for surgery on August 18, 2018. LCF refused the doctor's orders and transferred Plaintiff to EDCF. Plaintiff complained to the nurse at sick call at EDCF and she sent him to the clinic where Nurse Ladwig and Nurse Son sent him to get a CAT scan. The scan showed that his internal organs were entangled in his hernia. Plaintiff now has to take medication to have a bowel movement and to help him urinate.

         Plaintiff claims Defendant Parks violated Plaintiff's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment when he denied the doctor's order to bring Plaintiff in for surgery on August 18, 2018. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Howlett's refusal to comply with his stair restriction constituted “depraved indifference gross medical negligence.”

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Parks is the Unit Team Head at the LCF Clinic and makes the final decisions. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Howlett is the Unit Team Manager of C-1 Seg, and she instructed officers to place Plaintiff on the second tier despite his stair restriction. Plaintiff alleges that Howlett stated that she could not enforce the stair restriction because it was a security issue.

         Plaintiff names as Defendants: Andrew Parks, Unit Team Head at LCF; (fnu) Howlett, Unit Team Manager at LCF; and Corizon. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).

         “To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (citations omitted); Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1523 (10th Cir. 1992). A court liberally construes a pro se complaint and applies “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In addition, the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true. Anderson v. Blake, 469 F.3d 910, 913 (10th Cir. 2006). On the other hand, “when the allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, ” dismissal is appropriate. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007).

         A pro se litigant's “conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief' requires “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The complaint's “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 555, 570.

         The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained “that, to state a claim in federal court, a complaint must explain what each defendant did to [the pro se plaintiff]; when the defendant did it; how the defendant's action harmed [the plaintiff]; and, what specific legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant violated.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007). The court “will not supply additional factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint or construct a legal theory on a plaintiff's behalf.” Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted).

         The Tenth Circuit has pointed out that the Supreme Court's decisions in Twombly and Erickson gave rise to a new standard of review for § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) dismissals. See Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1218 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); see also Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009). As a result, courts “look to the specific allegations in the complaint to determine whether they plausibly support a legal claim for relief.” Kay, 500 F.3d at 1218 (citation omitted). Under this new standard, “a plaintiff must ‘nudge his claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'” Smith, 561 F.3d at 1098 (citation omitted). “Plausible” in this context does not mean “likely to be true, ” but rather refers “to the scope of the allegations in a complaint: if they are so general that they encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent, ” then the plaintiff has not “nudged [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1974).

         III. ...


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