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Jordan v. Karas Health Care

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

September 28, 2016




         Plaintiff Tony Jordan, Jr. filed this civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. He is incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

         Before the Court is a motion to dismiss (Doc. 9) filed by Separate Defendants Guard Tyrone Curtis and Corporal Chris Carter (the Washington County Defendants). Plaintiff has not responded to the motion.

         I. Background

         On June 9, 2016, at approximately 7:25 p.m., Plaintiff alleges he was given six or seven pills instead of his usual two or three. Plaintiff states that the six or seven pills were not prescribed to him and that he began feeling “real funny.” He indicates his heart was pounding, his eye was twitching, he felt off balance, and he was weak. He asserts he was not given any of his correct medication. At 7:51, Plaintiff states he went back out to see the nurse about having received the wrong medication. Plaintiff alleges that the nurse admitted she had given the Plaintiff the wrong medication. The nurse took Plaintiff's blood pressure which was 150/100. Plaintiff alleges this was very high but they refused to get him “better help.” Instead, Plaintiff was told to go lay down and sleep it off. Plaintiff alleges he told them that he suffered from high blood pressure and an enlarged heart. Plaintiff testified that Guard Curtis and Corporal Carter were present when he was seeking help. Plaintiff alleges they did nothing to get him help even though he asked over and over to go to the hospital. Plaintiff states he was not taken seriously.

         Plaintiff alleges the Defendants used excessive force when they were “pointing fingers at [him] blaming [him] for taking the pills.” He asserts the Defendants were being rude, loud, and unprofessional. Plaintiff states Guard Curtis demanded that he lay down and not say anything. Plaintiff alleges Corporal Carter blamed him instead of the nurse for the mess up.

         II. Applicable Standard

         Rule 8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a complaint to present “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “In order to meet this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), ‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         “The plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to show at the pleading stage that success on the merits is more than a ‘sheer possibility.'” Braden, 588 F.3d at 594 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The standard does “not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation, ” or reasonable inference, that the “defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (While pro se complaints are liberally construed, they must allege sufficient facts to support the claims.).

         III. Discussion

         The Washington County Defendants argue they are entitled to dismissal because their alleged conduct does not give rise to a claim. Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation, under color of law, of a citizen's “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must allege that the defendant acted under color of state law and that he violated a right secured by the Constitution. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988); Dunham v. Wadley, 195 F.3d 1007, 1009 (8th Cir.1999). The deprivation must be intentional; mere negligence will not suffice to state a claim for deprivation of a constitutional right under § 1983. Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986); Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344 (1986).

         A. Denial of Medical Care

         “[T]he treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment.” Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993). To prevail on a denial of medical care claim, a plaintiff must show: (1) the existence of an objectively serious medical need, (2) that the defendants knew of and deliberately disregarded. Vaughn v. Gray, 557 F.3d 904, 908-09 (8th Cir. 2009).

         “Liability under section 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of rights.” Clemmons v. Armontrout, 477 F.3d 962, 967 (8th Cir. 2007) (quoting Mayorga v. Missouri, 442 F.3d 1128, 1132 (8th Cir. 2006)); see also Keeper v. King, 130 F.3d 1309, 1314 (8th Cir. 1997) (no evidence that the defendants were doctors or were personally involved in making medical decisions about treatment); Mark v. Nix, 983 F.2d 138, 139-40 (8th Cir. 1993) (section 1983 liability requires some personal involvement or responsibility). Here, neither of the Washington County Defendants were medical personnel. Plaintiff was being seen by jail medical staff, and the Washington County Defendants are not liable for the jail medical staff's treatment decisions. Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“[B]ecause Burt and Ault lacked medical expertise, they cannot be liable for the medical staff's diagnostic decision not to refer ...

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