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Rust v. Hininger

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

November 6, 2017

DAMON T. HININGER, CEO of Correction Corporation of America CCA; GREGORY C. DOZIER, Commissioner of Georgia Department of Corrections; DR. YVONNE NEAU, Wheeler Correctional Facility; VANCE LAUGHLIN, Warden, Wheeler Correctional Facility; and JOHN DOE QUINN, Deputy Warden of Care and Treatment, Wheeler Correctional Facility, Defendants.



         Plaintiff, an inmate at Calhoun State Prison in Morgan, Georgia, is proceeding in forma pauperis in this case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, 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. App'x 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff names (1) Damon T. Hininger, (2) Gregory C. Dozier, (3) Dr. Yvonne Neau, (4) Vance Laughlin, and (5) John Doe Quinn as Defendants. (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 July 22, 2015, while incarcerated at Wheeler Correctional Facility (“WCF”), Plaintiff noticed a “zit like bump in [his] groin area” and used a razor to shave off the whitehead. (Id. at 9.) The next day, the area was painful, swollen, and red. (Id.) Plaintiff reported the issue to P.A. Boone, who told Plaintiff to report to sick call the next morning. (Id.) Plaintiff developed a fever and increased pain that night. (Id.)

         On July 24, 2015, at 6:00 a.m., Plaintiff went to the medical area for his unit. (Id.) P.A. Boone inspected Plaintiff and sent him back to his dorm until he could be taken to “main medical.” (Id.) At 8:00 a.m., P.A. Boone escorted Plaintiff to the main medical area and said Dr. Neau would be with him shortly. By 10:30 a.m., Dr. Neau had not seen Plaintiff, while other inmates were being treated. (Id. at 10.) By this point, Plaintiff's testicles “had swollen to approximately the size of softballs and were filled with poison.” (Id.) At 1:00 p.m., Plaintiff left medical to speak to “Deputy Warden of Care and Treatment Quinn.” (Id.) Mr. Quinn told Plaintiff to return to medical and wait for his turn, which he did. (Id.)

         Plaintiff remained in medical until 4:00 p.m., when he went to Warden Laughlin's office and “entered without permission.” (Id.) Mr. Laughlin became “agitated about the interruption” and made a call to an unknown person. (Id.) Mr. Laughlin told Plaintiff he “was being made to wait because [he] was complaining and being a ‘dick.'” (Id. at 11.) Plaintiff offered to show Mr. Laughlin his condition, but Mr. Laughlin told Plaintiff he “did not want to see [his] ‘nuts'” and told him to return to medical. (Id.) Mr. Laughlin refused Plaintiff's request to return to his dorm to wait. (Id.)

         Dr. Neau examined Plaintiff at 7:30 p.m. (Id.) Dr. Neau apologized for making Plaintiff wait after seeing his condition and explained Mr. Laughlin instructed her to see Plaintiff last. (Id.) Dr. Neau took a culture but said she could not send it until July 30, 2015. (Id.) Dr. Neau did not know the type of infection. (Id.) Dr. Neau numbed the area and performed a “surgical procedure, ” during which she made “unprofessional comments” about the size of Plaintiff's testicles and her hope Plaintiff did not want children. (Id. at 12.) Dr. Neau wrapped the area, prescribed a general antibiotic and painkillers, and instructed Plaintiff to come back every night for a dressing change. (Id.)

         Plaintiff's condition deteriorated quickly that same evening, to the point Dr. Neau called 911, and Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. (Id.) After administering “intense antibiotics” for several days, the hospital transferred Plaintiff to the “Augusta Doctors Hospital, Burn and Wound Unit, ” where Dr. Hasan treated Plaintiff. (Id. at 12-13.) Dr. Hasan explained to Plaintiff that Dr. Neau had failed to properly diagnose and treat Plaintiff's infection, leading to life-threatening gangrene that required immediate surgery. (Id.) Dr. Hasan told Plaintiff he faced a risk of amputation from the waist down. (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff underwent three surgeries in two weeks before being transferred to Augusta State Medical Prison. (Id.)

         After two follow-up visits from Dr. Hasan, Augusta State Medical Prison transferred Plaintiff to Calhoun State Prison, where the medical facility could not properly care for his wound. (Id.) A culture of his wound taken in October 2015 showed Plaintiff still had an infection. (Id.) Dr. Hasan's follow-up was postponed until December 24, 2015, when the infection was stopped. (Id. at 14.) Plaintiff has severe nerve damage on the “left side groin area” and no feeling in his testicles. (Id.) Prison officials denied a sterility test. (Id.)

         Plaintiff seeks $20 million in “pain and suffering and decline in quality of [his] personal life, ” and $10 million in punitive damages. (Id. at 6.)


         A. 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, or 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, 325 (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. ...

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