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Adams v. Medlin

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

September 17, 2014

PHILLIP DANIEL ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
JASON MEDLIN, Warden, and PAT CLARK, Defendants.

ORDER

BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate at Wheeler Correctional Facility ("WCF") in Alamo, Georgia, brought the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis ("IFP"), Plaintiff's complaint must be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn , 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v. Donald , 165 F.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).

I. SCREENING OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

A. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff names as Defendants in this case Jason Medlin, the Warden of WCF, and Pat Clark, the Medical Director at WCF. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows. On March 26, 2013, Plaintiff was diagnosed with Bell's palsy. (Id. at 5.) On May 15, 2013, Dr. Hanes saw Plaintiff at WCF after Plaintiff's left eye remained open for fifty-one days. (Id.) Dr. Hanes prescribed Plaintiff artificial tears. (Id.)

Plaintiff's left eye started to leak puss and he saw an outside specialist on July 31, 2013, who prescribed him Tobradex drops and ointment. (Id.) Plaintiff received the drops on August 16, 2013, and the ointment on November 1, 2013. (Id.) Both the drops and ointment were reordered on December 1, 2013, and Plaintiff received them on January 28, 2014. (Id.) Plaintiff is again out of eye ointment and has not received more as of June 17, 2014, the date he signed this complaint. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he suffers irreversible damage to both eyes, including permanent vision damage to his left eye. (Id.)

B. DISCUSSION

1. Legal Standard for Screening

The complaint or any portion thereof may be dismissed if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, of if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). A claim is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). "Failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard as dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)." Wilkerson v. H & S, Inc. , 366 F.Appx. 49, 51 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell v. Farcass , 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997)).

To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the allegations in the complaint must "state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). That is, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555. While Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint is insufficient if it "offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '" or if it "tenders naked assertions' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555, 557). In short, the complaint must provide a "plain statement' possess[ing] enough heft to sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Twombly , 550 U.S. at 557 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

Finally, the court affords a liberal construction to a pro se litigant's pleadings, holding them to a more lenient standard than those drafted by an attorney. Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, this liberal construction does not mean that the court has a duty to re-write the complaint. Snow v. DirecTV, Inc. , 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006).

2. Potential Eighth Amendment Claims

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Medlin and Clark showed deliberate indifference to his serious medical need. To state a claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, Plaintiff must allege that: (1) he had an objectively serious medical need, (2) a defendant acted with deliberate indifference to that need, and (3) his injury was caused by that defendant's wrongful conduct. Goebert v. Lee County , 510 F.3d 1312, 1326 (11th Cir. 2007); see also Thomas v. Bryant , 614 F.3d 1288, 1317 n.29 (11th Cir. 2010) (noting that a plaintiff must "show a causal connection between the constitutional violation and his injuries" to prevail on any § 1983 claim).

To satisfy the first prong, a prisoner's medical need must have been "diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or... is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention." Goebert , 510 F.3d at 1326 (quoting Hill v. Dekalb Reg'l Youth Det. Ctr. , 40 F.3d 1176, 1187 (11th Cir.1994)). To satisfy the second prong, Plaintiff must allege that a defendant: (1) was subjectively aware of a serious risk to Plaintiff's ...


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