United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE.
se Plaintiff Deshon Garrison filed this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford
Pinkney, Cuyahoga County Jail Medical Director Dr. Tallman,
and Physician Dr. Gatz. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges
jail medical staff would not authorize surgery to repair a
broken metacarpal bone in his hand, would not prescribe
Percocet for pain, and charged him for all medical
appointments. He asserts the Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs. He seeks monetary
damages and injunctive relief.
also filed an Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 2). That Application is granted.
states he entered the Cuyahoga County Jail on May 15, 2017 as
a parole violator from Pennsylvania and a pretrial detainee
from Ohio. He indicates he arrived at the jail with a
fractured metacarpal bone in his left hand. He was taken to
Metro Health Medical Center where the fracture was confirmed,
and his hand was placed in a splint. Doctors indicated
surgery may be necessary in the future and prescribed
Percocet for pain. Plaintiff contends that when he returned
to the jail, the Defendants refused to schedule him for
surgery, stating it was not an emergency, and would not fill
the prescription for a narcotic pain reliever, providing him
instead with an over-the-counter medication. He alleges that
although the medical staff did not comply with the
recommendations of the Metro Health Medical Center
physicians, he was charged a co-pay for medical appointments
in the jail. Plaintiff pled guilty to charges of domestic
violence and was sentenced to time served on September 5,
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the
Court is required to dismiss an in forma pauperis
action under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e) if it fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an
arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d
1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of
Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). A claim
lacks an arguable basis in law or fact when it is premised on
an indisputably meritless legal theory or when the factual
contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S.
of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks “plausibility in the
Complaint.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A pleading must contain a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). The factual allegations in the
pleading must be sufficient to raise the right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the Complaint are true. Bell Atl.
Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. The Plaintiff is not required to
include detailed factual allegations, but must provide more
than “an unadorned, the-Defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading that offers legal conclusions or a simple recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not meet this
pleading standard. Id. In reviewing a Complaint, the
Court must construe the pleading in the light most favorable
to the Plaintiff. Bibbo v. Dean Witter Reynolds,
Inc., 151 F.3d 559, 561 (6th Cir.1998).
for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs arise in
the context of the Eight Amendment's prohibition against
cruel and unusual punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104 (1976). The Eighth Amendment's protections,
however, apply specifically to post-conviction inmates,
see Barber v. City of Salem, Ohio, 953 F.2d 232, 235
(6th Cir. 1992). The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment extends those same protections to pretrial
detainees. Thompson v. County of Medina, Ohio, 29
F.3d 238, 242 (6th Cir. 1994). Although they are based on
violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, the claims of
pretrial detainees are analyzed under the same rubric as
Eighth Amendment claims brought by prisoners. See Roberts
v. City of Troy, 773 F.2d 720, 723 (6th Cir. 1985)
(citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545 (1979)).
Supreme Court in Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298
(1991), set forth a framework for Courts to use when deciding
whether certain conditions of confinement constitute cruel
and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. A
Plaintiff must first plead facts which, if true, establish
that a sufficiently serious deprivation has occurred.
Id. Seriousness is measured in response to
“contemporary standards of decency.”
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 8. Routine discomforts of prison
life do not suffice. Id. Only deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs or extreme deprivations
regarding the conditions of confinement will implicate the
protections of the Eighth Amendment. Id. at 9. A
Plaintiff must also establish a subjective element showing
the prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state
of mind. Id. Deliberate indifference is
characterized by obduracy or wantonness, not inadvertence or
good faith error. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312,
319 (1986). This state of mind is shown “where
‘the official knows of and disregards'” the
substantial risk of serious harm facing the prisoner.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. The official “must
both be aware of facts from which the inference could be
drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he
must also draw the inference.” Id. Liability
cannot be predicated solely on negligence. Id. A
prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when both
the objective and subjective requirements are met. Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
Plaintiff's claim against the Cuyahoga County Sheriff
fails to meet the subjective criteria. He does not allege
facts suggesting the Sheriff personally participated in
decisions concerning Plaintiff's medical care. Instead,
he contends the Sheriff denied his grievances. Responding to
a grievance or otherwise participating in the grievance
procedure is insufficient to trigger liability under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d.
295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999). Furthermore, Plaintiff's
disagreement with the proposed treatment plan and medications
provided to him does not equate to deliberate indifference.
Plaintiff contends he arrived at the jail with a fractured
hand. He does not provide any additional information about
his injury. He was taken to Metro Health Medical Center where
he was treated. His hand was placed into a splint. He was
prescribed narcotic pain medication; however, the jail
substituted an over-the-counter pain reliever. Plaintiff
contends he should have received immediate surgery, but Dr.
Gatz and Dr. Tallman disagreed, finding Plaintiff did not
require emergency surgery.
duty to provide a certain level of health care to
incarcerated offenders under the Eighth Amendment is a
limited one. Prisoners are not entitled to unfettered access
to the medical treatment of their choice. See Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (citing
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 103-104). A difference of
opinion regarding medical treatment generally does not rise
to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 107. Moreover, where, as here,
the Plaintiff has received some medical attention, but
disputes the adequacy of that treatment, Courts are reluctant
to second-guess the medical judgments of prison officials and
constitutionalize claims which sound in state tort law.
Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 860 n. 5. (6th Cir.
1976). The relevant inquiry is whether the treatment
Plaintiff was provided was “so grossly incompetent,
inadequate, or excessive as to shock the conscience or to be
intolerable to fundamental fairness.” Terrance v.
Northville Regional Psychiatric Hosp., 286 F.3d 834, 844
(6th Cir. 2002). While Plaintiff ...