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Hughes v. Infante

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

February 7, 2019

EULAS LINWOOD HUGHES PLAINTIFF
v.
NURSE FRAN INFANTE, Turn Key Medical; LEAD NURSE SHAWNA STEPHENS, Turn Key Medical; DR. SAEZ, Turn Key Medical; DEPUTY KEMP; DEPUTY LYO; DEPUTY FURBY; DEPUTY COBB; and NURSE JANE DOE DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Eulas Linwood Hughes, currently an inmate of the Benton County Detention Center ("BCDC"), has filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis ("IFP").

         When he filed the Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff failed to include page 6. He was given time to submit the missing page. It has now been filed as a Supplement (Doc. 6) to the Complaint. Plaintiff has named as Defendants the following: four members of the medical staff at the BCDC, Nurse Infante, Lead Nurse Stephens, Dr. Saez, and Nurse Jane Doe;[1] and four BCDC deputies, Deputy Kemp, Deputy Lyo, Deputy Furby, and Deputy Cobb.[2] With the exception of Deputy Cobb, Plaintiff has sued the Defendants in both their individual and official capacities. Plaintiff has sued Deputy Cobb in his official capacity only.

         Plaintiff's Complaint and Supplement are before the Court for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff maintains he is given his medication by non-medically trained guards. He contends on two occasions, October 7, 2018, and January 14, 2019, he was given the wrong medication. Plaintiff alleges that Deputy Furby and Deputy Kemp were involved in the October 7, 2018, incident. When he complained to medical staff about having been given the wrong medication, Plaintiff states he was told that it was his obligation to let the nurse know if he was being given the wrong medication. Plaintiff states he did not realize it was the wrong medication until it was too late. He had already taken it.

         With respect to the January 14, 2019, incident, Plaintiff alleges Nurse Jane Doe provided him with the wrong medication. When he showed the nurse the medication was wrong, Plaintiff alleges her response was that she had not packed the pouch containing his medication.

         On January 3, 2018, Plaintiff alleges Deputy Cobb stopped him from going to the nurse for his medication. Plaintiff further alleges that the nurse allowed Deputy Cobb to bar access to her.

         Finally, with respect to each of his claims, Plaintiff contends the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPPA") was violated. As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (2) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         A claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "In evaluating whether a pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a claim, we hold 'a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded ... to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         "The essential elements of a § 1983 claim are (1) that the defendant(s) acted under color of state law, and (2) that the alleged wrongful conduct deprived the plaintiff of a constitutionally protected federal right." Schmidt v. City of Bella Vista,557 F.3d 564, 571 (8th Cir. 2009). Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but prohibits the deprivation of rights established by the United States Constitution or federal laws. City of Okla. City v. Tuttle,471 U.S. 808, 816 (1985). To state a claim, plaintiff must establish that each defendant ...


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