United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNIED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an inmate at Augusta State Medical Prison
(“ASMP”) in Grovetown, Georgia, is proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) in this case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Because he is proceeding 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).
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
names Dr. Alston, Medical Director at ASMP as a Defendant.
(Doc. no. 1, pp. 1, 4.) Taking all of Plaintiff's
allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the
present screening, the facts are as follows.
was stabbed in the pericardium sac, which holds the heart in
place and allows it to function properly. (Id. at
5.) Between the inner and outer layers of the pericardium,
there is a small amount of fluid, which prevents the layers
from rubbing together while the heart pumps blood.
(Id.) Plaintiff's last open-heart surgery
occurred on May 10, 2018. (Id.) Plaintiff's
discharge forms indicated use of a hot, wet compressor
heating pad with or without medicated skin cream would help
relieve pain. (Id.) Plaintiff never received proper
medical treatment for his condition. (Id.)
23, 2018, Dr. Alston prescribed diclofenac sodium topical
gel, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
(“NSAID”), for his chest pain. (Id.)
People with a history of recent heart surgery should not use
the medication. (Id.) Since using the gel, Plaintiff
has experienced high blood pressure, shortness of breath,
trouble breathing, and flu-like symptoms, which are
side-effects of using the gel. (Id.) Plaintiff had
two different types of heart surgery last year, is a chronic
heart patient, and had a pericardial effusion window
implanted into his chest. (Id.) Plaintiff is subject
to future heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes, all of
which can be caused by the gel. (Id.) Plaintiff
believes Dr. Alston should be held accountable for putting
his health at risk by giving him the medication.
(Id.) As relief, Plaintiff seeks $2, 000, 000 and/or
his freedom. (Id. at 6.)
Legal Standard for Screening
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, 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
Fed.Appx. 49, 51 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell v.
Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997)).
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.
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).
Plaintiff Fails to State a Deliberate Indifference to a
Serious Medical Need Claim against Dr.
fails to state a claim against Dr. Alston for deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need. To state a claim,
Plaintiff must allege: (1) he had a serious medical need -
the objective component, (2) a defendant acted with
deliberate indifference to that need - the subjective
component, and (3) his injury was caused by a defendant's
wrongful conduct. Goebert v. Lee County, ...