United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE SOUTHERN
DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
pro se and in forma pauperis, plaintiff
Charles Justin Smith brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
against the Warden and two doctors. Doc. 1. The Court now
screens his complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
alleges that he was tested for hepatitis C in March of 2018,
and again in July of 2018. Doc. 1 at 5. He then stated that
he saw both Dr. Awe and Dr. Agyemang, but that they told him
he did not “qualify for treatment, ” although he
notes that he received some form of monitoring. Id.
Plaintiff hints that this statement may be due to the amount
of time he has been incarcerated, but the Court is left to
wonder why treatment was denied.
well established that “deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the
‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' . . .
proscribed by the Eighth Amendment.” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976) (cites and footnotes
omitted). A prisoner states a valid claim, under 42 U.S.C.
section 1983, “whether the indifference is manifested
by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's
needs . . . or by prison guards in intentionally denying or
delaying access to medical care . . . or intentionally
interfering with treatment once prescribed.”
Id. at 104-05.
show that a prison official acted with deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs, a plaintiff must
satisfy both an objective and a subjective inquiry.”
Farrow v. West, 320 F.3d 1235, 1243 (11th Cir.
2003). First, the plaintiff must prove an objectively serious
medical need. Id. Second, the plaintiff must prove
that the prison official acted with deliberate indifference
to that need. Id.
serious medical need is considered ‘one that has been
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.'”
Id. (citing Hill v. Dekalb Reg'l Youth Det.
Ctr., 40 F.3d 1176, 1187 (11th Cir.1994)). In either
case, “the medical need must be one that, if left
unattended, pos[es] a substantial risk of serious
harm.” Id. (cite and internal quote omitted).
“That Hepatitis C presents a serious medical need is
undisputed.” Loeber v. Andem, 487 Fed.Appx.
548, 549 (11th Cir. 2012) (citing Brown v. Johnson,
387 F.3d 1344, 1351 (11th Cir. 2004)).
to establish the second element, deliberate indifference to
that serious medical need, the prisoner must prove three
facts: (1) subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm;
(2) disregard of that risk; and (3) by conduct that is more
than mere negligence. McElligott v. Foley, 182 F.3d
1248, 1255 (11th Cir. 1999). Here, it is clear from
plaintiff's complaint that he received some treatment, in
fact, he received examinations from at least two physicians.
He was also monitored. See Doc. 1 at 5 (noting that
his levels were tested at least twice). He argues that he was
refused some (unspecified) treatment due to a failure to
“qualify” but “a mere disagreement between
an inmate and the prison's medical staff as to the course
of treatment does not establish deliberate
indifference.” Black v. Ala. Dept. of Corr.,
578 Fed.Appx. 794, 796 (11th Cir. 2014) (citing Harris v.
Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1505 (11th Cir. 1991).
Plaintiff, moreover, does not allege that he suffered any
negative health consequences from the refused treatment.
Id. Thus, at this stage, plaintiff's abbreviated
complaint is simply insufficient to survive screening.
Despite these failings at this stage in the proceeding, the
Court will grant plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint
correcting the deficiencies noted above. See, e.g.,
Johnson v. Boyd, 568 Fed.Appx. 719, 724 (11th Cir. 2014)
(pro se plaintiff may receive a chance to amend);
Duff v. Steub, 378 Fed.Appx. 868, 872 (11th Cir.
2010) (amendment granted when more carefully crafted
complaint may state a claim).
plaintiff is DIRECTED to file an Amended
Complaint within 30 days from the date of this order or face
a recommendation of dismissal. Smith is advised that his
Amended Complaint will supersede the original Complaint and
therefore must be complete in itself. Once he files an Amended
Complaint, the original pleading will no longer serve any
function in this case.
it is time for Smith to pay his filing fee. His PLRA
paperwork reflects a current balance of $70.59, with $82.86
in average monthly deposits and a $193.33 average monthly
balance over the six-month period prior to the date of his
Prison Account Statement. Doc. 9. He therefore owes a $38.66
initial partial filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b) (1) (requiring an initial fee assessment “when
funds exist, ” under a specific 20 percent formula).
Plaintiff's custodian (or designee) shall remit the
$38.66 and shall set aside 20 percent of all future deposits
to his account, then forward those funds to the Clerk each
time the set aside amount reaches $10.00, until the balance
of the Court's $350.00 filing fee has been paid in
 Congress enacted the Prison Litigation
Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat.
1321-71, to establish procedures to govern civil complaints
filed in federal court by prisoners and other detainees.
Among the PLRA's procedures is the requirement for this
Court to conduct an early screening in all civil cases of any
complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a government
entity or official. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The purpose
of the early screening is to “identify cognizable
claims” in the prisoner's complaint and to dismiss
any claims that: (1) are frivolous; (2) are malicious; (3)
fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or
(4) seek monetary relief from a defendant immune from such
relief. Id. Similarly, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(2)
allows the Court, under the same four standards for dismissal
listed in § 1915A, to dismiss any prisoner suit brought
“with respect to prison conditions.” Therefore,
the Court examines Plaintiff's Complaint to determine
whether he has stated a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C.
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