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Dunham v. Zanders

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

June 15, 2018

ANTONIO LAMAR DUNHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
SAM ZANDERS, Warden; TINA SANDERS, Warden of Care and Treatment; MR. INMAN, Deputy Warden; MR. TREVOR, Correctional Officer; MR. GILBERT, Correctional Officer; DR. ISMAIL; MS. SMITH, Nurse; MS. JACKSON, Nurse; DR. PAUL J. SYRIBEYS; MR. WILKENS, Warden; DR. ALSTON; DR. KITTER; and MS. APRIL, Nurse, individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.

          ORDER

          BRIAN K. EPPS UNITED STALES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Central State Prison in Macon, Georgia, brought the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 regarding events alleged to have occurred in Dodge County, Laurens County, Washington County, and Richmond County, Georgia. 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 Fed.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).

         I. SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff names as Defendants: (1) Warden Sam Zanders, (2) Warden of Care and Treatment Tina Sanders, (3) Deputy Warden Inman, (4) Officer Trevor, (5) Officer Gilbert, (6) Dr. Ismail, (7) Nurse Smith, (8) Nurse Jackson, (9) Dr. Paul J. Syribeys, (10) Warden Wilkens, (11) Dr. Alston, (12) Dr. Kitter, and (13) Nurse April. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1-2.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         1. Assault

         On April 25, 2016, while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Dodge State Prison (“DSP”), Plaintiff wrote DSP Warden Zanders about being moved to a different room because his cellmate, Rashad Smith, threatened Plaintiff and “told him he had to go [be]cause he didn't trust [Plaintiff].” (Id. at 11.) Warden Zanders never responded. (Id.) On May 2, 2016, Warden Zanders inspected the dorm, and Plaintiff asked him if he received the letter. (Id.) Warden Zanders told Plaintiff he did not and instructed him to write another. (Id.) Plaintiff did so but received no response. (Id.) Warden Zanders failed to move Plaintiff despite knowing Smith had previously “bitten off a piece” of a former cellmate's ear. (Id. at 23.)

         On May 10, 2016, Plaintiff returned to his room from putting his bed sheets in the laundry cart to find Smith had locked the door and would not let in Plaintiff. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff asked Smith why Smith had not allowed Plaintiff to put on his leg brace and pants. (Id.) Smith “burst[] out of the room howling I'm tired of your shit, ” and attacked Plaintiff. (Id.) Smith attempted to drag Plaintiff into their room and bit Plaintiff on his hand and head. (Id.)

         After Smith stopped attacking, Plaintiff went to the control booth to get medical attention. (Id.) Officers Trevor and Gilbert were not in the control booth, so Plaintiff began beating the windows of the control booth. (Id. at 8.) Officers Trevor and Gilbert, who were serving breakfast in another dorm, came into view through the window. (Id.) Plaintiff showed Officer Trevor he was bleeding from his face and hand. (Id.) Officer Trevor “turned his back on” Plaintiff, and the officers “refused to respond.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff saw Smith leave their room, so Plaintiff returned to the room to put on his leg brace and pants. (Id.) Smith returned, “grabbed [Plaintiff] in a headlock and stated sense [sic] I know I'm going to lockdown I'm gonna give you something to remember me by forever.” (Id.) Smith “put [Plaintiff's right] ear in his mouth and ripped it completely out of [Plaintiff's] head leaving a big hole.” (Id.) Plaintiff returned to the control booth and “beat on the window for several minutes” until Officer Gilbert saw him. (Id.) Plaintiff showed Officer Gilbert the injury, and Officer Gilbert called his supervisor to the scene. (Id.) The officers took Plaintiff to medical, where a nurse put Plaintiff's ear in saline and ice so it could be reattached at the hospital. (Id.)

         2. First Ear Surgery and Post-Operative Care

         Officers took Plaintiff to a hospital in Dublin, where Plaintiff received medication. (Id. at 9.) A doctor at the hospital told Plaintiff they would need to transfer him to Dr. Syribeys for surgery and Dr. Syribeys informed the doctor over the phone the ear could not be reattached. (Id.) Officers took Plaintiff to Dr. Syribeys in Macon. (Id.) Plaintiff asked Dr. Syribeys if he was sure there was no way for the ear to be reattached, and Dr. Syribeys told him “there's no way medically possible . . . .” (Id.) Plaintiff “was left with no choice but to let Dr. Syribeys do the surgery.” (Id.) After surgery, Dr. Syribeys said no follow-up appointment was necessary and the ear should stop bleeding in four days. Drs. Syribeys and Ismail and DSP Wardens Zanders, Sanders, and Inman decided not to reattach Plaintiff's ear because it was “an easier cheaper but much less effective course of treatment.” (Id. at 22.)

         Officers returned Plaintiff to Dodge State Prison. (Id. at 9.) Dr. Ismail ordered Nurses Jackson and April to clean the blood from Plaintiff's ear channel with cotton swabs and a mixture of saline and peroxide. (Id.) Beginning on May 16, 2016, Plaintiff complained to Dr. Ismail and Nurses April, Smith, and Jackson about extreme pain, bleeding, headaches, and loud ringing in his right ear, but they told Plaintiff nothing was wrong. (Id. at 10.) On May 19, 2016, Plaintiff was rushed back to the Dublin hospital with extreme pain and swelling in his neck. (Id.) A doctor diagnosed Plaintiff with an infection, prescribed antibiotics, and recommended Plaintiff see a specialist immediately. (Id.)

         On May 23, 2016, Plaintiff was still bleeding out of his right ear. (Id.) Dr. Ismail told Nurse April to clean the blood from Plaintiff's infected ear, but she refused, saying she did not want to lose her license for performing the procedure. (Id.) Dr. Ismail had Nurse Smith clean out Plaintiff's ear instead. (Id.) Nurse April told Plaintiff she did not know why Dr. Ismail would not send him to a specialist. (Id.) After Nurse April's statement, Plaintiff began contacting family members to contact prison officials on his behalf. (Id.) “Dodge Medical and Counselor Ms. Fuqua Chief” told Plaintiff's sister Plaintiff would be sent out for treatment soon, but he never was. (Id.)

         3. ...


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