United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
pro se and in forma pauperis, Michael
Anthony Tutt brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against
Coastal State Prison (CSP) and Memorial Health for failing to
properly classify him due to his medical needs. The Court
granted plaintiff's request to pursue his case in
forma pauperis (IFP), doc. 4, and he returned the
necessary forms. Docs. 5 & 6. The Court now screens the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires
the immediate dismissal of any pro se complaint that
fails to state at least one actionable claim against a
governmental entity or official.
alleges that the Superior Court directed his reclassification
and transfer to a “transitional center.” Doc. 1
at 5. CSP staff “disregarded” those orders, and
Tutt ended up losing his ability “to walk, hold, or
maintain bladder control” and having ongoing
“numbness” and spinal damage due to complications
from his high blood pressure. Id. At some point, it
appears his condition deteriorated until he had to be
discharged to Memorial Health Hospital for emergency
treatment after Tutt suffered from a stroke. Id. At
a later date, Tutt was in a vehicle collision caused by CSP
staff's reckless driving, en route to a medical
appointment in Atlanta. Id. at 7 (noting that
because he was in irons, he couldn't “brace for the
impact”). He “los[t] vision” during the
accident and experienced neck pain, headaches, and ongoing
lower back pain following the accident. Id. Tutt
seeks a little over a million dollars in damages.
threshold matter, Tutt names CSP in his Complaint.
Correctional facilities are not considered legal entities
subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Grech v.
Clayton County, Ga., 335 F.3d 1326, 1343 (11th Cir.
2003); Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1215 (11th
Cir. 1992), which means that he cannot pursue a claim against
CSP. And while Tutt names Memorial Health, a private entity
contracted with the county to provide medical services and
thus subject to § 1983 suit (see, e.g., Buckner v.
Toro, 116 F.3d 450, 452 (11th Cir. 1997)), Tutt sets
forth no facts ascribing to Memorial Health any act or
omission that harmed him. But simply naming someone
in a complaint does not state a plausible claim against them.
Indeed, Tutt indicates that Memorial Health provided the care
he needed upon admission and twice discharged him “with
a clear bill of health.” Doc. 1 at 9 (alleging that
discharging him after treatment amounted to
“malpractice”). Tutt must set facts alleging that
individual defendants are somehow responsible for the harms
he has suffered. The Court cannot ferret out allegedly
responsible parties on its own.
further advised that it is well-established that “the
Constitution does not require elaborate prisoner
classification at the jail level.” Jones v.
Diamond, 594 F.2d 997, 1016 (5th Cir. 1979), on
reh'g, 636 F.2d 1364 (5th Cir. 1981). To advance a
claim for denial of proper medical care, “an inmate
must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to
evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976); see Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832
(1994) (the Constitution imposes a duty upon prison officials
to “ensure that inmates receive adequate food,
clothing, shelter, and medical care.”). “[N]ot
every claim by a prisoner that he has not received adequate
medical treatment, ” however, “states a violation
of the Eighth Amendment.” Harris v. Thigpen,
941 F.2d 1495, 1505 (11th Cir. 1991) (quotes and cite
omitted). A prisoner must show that: (1) he had a serious
medical need; (2) defendants were deliberately indifference
to that need; and (3) some injury was caused by
defendants' indifference. Goebert v. Lee Cty.,
510 F.3d 1312, 1326 (11th Cir. 2007).
point, Tutt is also advised that minor injuries, like the
bumps and bruises one might expect from tumbling out of a bus
seat, are not the sort of medical need that would be
“diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one
that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.”
Mann v. Taser Int'l, Inc., 588 F.3d 1291, 1307
(11th Cir. 2009) (quotes and cite omitted). They are simply
not the kind of serious injuries that trigger prison
officials' Eighth Amendment obligations. See, e.g.,
Young v. United States, 2015 WL 3605052 at * 6 (M.D.
Fla. June 8, 2015) (“Generally, other courts addressing
bruises and lacerations have concluded that they do not
constitute an objectively serious medical need, ” and
collecting cases). And this Court's jurisdiction over any
state malpractice claims depend upon the viability of some
constitutional claim. Williams v. Morales, 2018 WL
2087247 at *3 (S.D. Ga. May 4, 2018) (citing, inter alia,
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 13331 & 1367).
said, Tutt must amend his Complaint and must identify
appropriate defendants, subject to suit, and explain
how they are responsible for his injuries. Tutt must
include a coherent “short and plain statement of the
claim showing” that he is entitled to the relief
sought. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). That means he must present the
Court with the factual allegations that support his
constitutional claims. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (complaints must
contain factual allegations “sufficient to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level”). Mere
conclusions that defendant violated the law are not enough.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). His
Amended Complaint must be complete and stand on its own (no
incorporation of a prior version is permitted) since it will
supersede the original. Failure to comply within 30
days from the date this Order is served will result
in a recommendation that this case be dismissed.
See Malowney v. Fed. Collection
Deposit Grp., 193 F.3d 1342, 1345 n. 1 (11th Cir. 1999)
(“An amended complaint supersedes an original
complaint”); Varnes v. Local 91, Glass Bottle
Blowers Ass'n of U.S. & Canada, 674 F.2d 1365,
1370 n. 6 (11th Cir. 1982) (“As a general rule, an
amended complaint supersedes and replaces the original