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Walters v. Corizon Health

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 8, 2017

LANCE W. WALTERS, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH Provider In both its individual and official capacities as a contracted Health Care Provider for the Indiana Department of Correction, as well as, the Plainfield Correctional Facility, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES In both its individual and official capacities as a contracted Health Care Provider for the Indiana Department of Correction, as well as, the Plainfield Correctional Facility, MURAT POLAR DR. In both his individual and official capacities as a Medical Doctor at Plainfield Correctional Facility, RACHAEL HOUGHTON In both her individual and official capacities as a Director of Medical Services at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, BECKY TRIVETT In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, KATIE COLLOSSY In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse and as a Administrative Assistant Plainfield Correctional Facility, TONI JORDAN In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, PAMELA JOHNSON In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse Practitioner at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, CORIZON HEALTH Provider In both its individual and official capacities as a contracted Health Care Provider for the Indiana Department of Correction, as well as, the Plainfield Correctional Facility, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES In both its individual and official capacities as a contracted Health Care Provider for the Indiana Department of Correction, as well as, the Plainfield Correctional Facility, MURAT POLAR DR. In both his individual and official capacities as a Medical Doctor at Plainfield Correctional Facility, RACHAEL HOUGHTON In both her individual and official capacities as a Director of Medical Services at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, BECKY TRIVETT In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, KATIE COLLOSSY In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse and as a Administrative Assistant Plainfield Correctional Facility, TONI JORDAN In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, PAMELA JOHNSON In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse Practitioner at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, RON TURNER In both his individual and official capacities as a Unit Team Manager at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, RAYMOND KINNESON In both his individual and official capacities as the Americans with Disabilities Coordinator at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, GARNER CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, in both her individual and official capacities as a Correctional Officer at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, BRIAN NEWMAN In both his individual and official capacities as a Unit Team Case Manager at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, HEATHER KITZMILLER In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, KIMBERLY BALLARD In both her individual and official capacities as a Nurse at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, JOHN REYNOLDS In both his individual and official capacities as a Nurse Practitioner at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, CHASSITY (DOE) in both her individual and official capacities as Director of Nursing at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, GULLEDGE CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, in both her individual and official capacities as a Correctional Officer at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, STANLEY KNIGHT In both his individual and official capacities as the Superintendent/Warden of the Plainfield Correctional Facility, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING SELECTED MATTERS AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         I. Filing Fee

         The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt [5], is granted. The motion reflects that he is not able to pay an initial partial filing fee. The Court credits his representations in his motion. The Court therefore finds that the plaintiff does not have the assets or means to pay the initial partial filing fee originally assessed. Because the Prison Litigation Reform Act mandates that a prisoner will not be prohibited from bringing a civil action for the reason that he lacks the assets and means to pay an initial partial filing fee, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4), the plaintiff will be granted a waiver of payment of the initial partial filing fee in this case. However, he is still obligated to pay the full filing fee pursuant to the statutory formula set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). See Id. § 1915(b)(1).

         II. Motion for Preliminary Injunction

         The plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction has been considered. The plaintiff explains that he has been diagnosed with lupus, asthma and heart conditions and that he has not been provided with appointments with a cardiologist or dermatologist. When the plaintiff was recently taken to the Emergency Room at Hendricks Regional Hospital the doctor told him that he should schedule a cardiology appointment and follow up care when he is released from prison on November 9, 2017. The plaintiff seeks a court order directing the defendants to arrange for an examination and plan of treatment by qualified specialists and to make sure that the plan of treatment is carried out.

         The plaintiff's motion, dkt [3], is denied. The plaintiff reports that he will be released from custody this week on November 9, 2017. At that time, the defendants will no longer be responsible for his medical care and treatment. Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United States, 506 U.S. 9, 12 (1992)(A[I]f an event occurs while a case is pending on appeal that makes it impossible for the court to grant any effectual relief whatever to a prevailing party, the appeal must be dismissed, @ for federal courts have “no authority to give opinions upon moot questions or abstract propositions, or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the matter in issue in the case before it.”) (internal quotation marks omitted); Lehn v. Holmes, 364 F.3d 862, 871 (7th Cir. 2004)(“[W]hen a prisoner who seeks injunctive relief for a condition specific to a particular prison is transferred out of that prison, the need for relief . . . become[s] moot.”); Higgason v. Farley, 83 F.3d 807 (7th Cir. 1996) (same). There is simply not time to order the relief the plaintiff seeks.

         III. Motion for Counsel

         The plaintiff's motion for assistance with recruiting counsel, dkt [4], is denied as premature. No viable complaint has been filed and the defendants have not been served. The Seventh Circuit has found that “until the defendants respond to the complaint, the plaintiff's need for assistance of counsel . . . cannot be gauged.” Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 845 (7th Cir. 2013). In addition, certain litigation challenges associated with incarceration will be resolved once the plaintiff is released from custody later this week.

         IV. Screening Standard

         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the Plainfield Correctional Facility, filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated. The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. § 1915A(b).

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Gladney v. Pendelton Corr. Facility, 302 F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; Gladney, 302 F.3d at 774. “Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109 (7th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted); accord Paul v. Marberry, 658 F.3d 702, 705 (7th Cir. 2011).

         To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts, and his statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); see Christopher v. Buss, 384 F.3d 879, 881 (7th Cir. 2004). However, a complaint that offers “labels and conclusions” or “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Id. “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.” Id. The complaint allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Christopher, 384 F.3d at 881.

         In considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should follow the principles set forth in Twombly by first “identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations. Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court must then “assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id.

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The Court is obliged to give the plaintiff's pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ...


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