United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS.
Y. Pearson, United States District Judge.
se Plaintiff Andre Jenkins filed this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Cuyahoga County Executive Armond
Budish, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, Cuyahoga
County Jail Director Kenneth Mills, Cuyahoga County Jail
Warden Eric Ivey, and Metro Health Medical Center Chief Jane
Platten. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges he was denied mental
health treatment and was assaulted while he was being held in
the Cuyahoga County Jail. He seeks monetary relief. For the
reasons that follow, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's
claims against all Defendants.
November 30, 2018, Plaintiff was allegedly denied mental
health medication while being held in the Cuyahoga County
Jail. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2. He claims he requested to
speak with a mental health specialist, but the corrections
officer repeatedly denied his request. Id. He states
he began to “act out” due to his anxiety and post
traumatic stress disorder. Id. He covered his cell
window in toilet paper to gain the attention of jail
personnel. Id. A corrections officer entered his
cell, pushed him back, and pulled the toilet paper from the
window. Id. at PageID #: 3. Plaintiff cut his finger
during the incident and was escorted to the medical
department for treatment. Id. He claims he notified
a member of the medical department that he felt suicidal, but
was denied treatment. Id. Plaintiff was then taken
to segregation. Id. He alerted an officer that he
still felt suicidal. Id. As a result, Plaintiff was
placed on suicide watch for three days. Id. He
indicates he did not receive counseling during this time.
Id. After he was removed from suicide watch,
Plaintiff returned to segregation and received a conduct
alleges that when he served his time in segregation, he was
assigned to unit 10-H, cell 6. Id. at PageID #: 4.
He states that, because rain water on the roof ran into his
cell, the cell had black mold. Id. Plaintiff claims
he kept wiping the mold off with his hand, causing him to
feel sick. Id. He contends the food trays “are
infested with stagnant water” and the meals are
nutritionally inadequate. Id. He also indicates the
ventilation in the jail is not operating properly, leaving an
odor of feces and urine. Id.
Plaintiff claims that, for fifteen days, two prison nurses
deprived him of his mental health medication. ECF No. 3-1 at
PageID #: 20. He alleges that, after requesting to speak with
a mental health expert, he was pepper-sprayed in the face,
“jumped on, ” and held in a restraint chair for a
total of four hours. Id. He claims that, as a result
of the incident, he suffered pain in the back of his neck and
lower left side. Id.
this incident, Plaintiff claims he requested to be placed on
suicide watch. Id. He alleges he was placed on
suicide watch for eight days, but did not receive counseling
or medication for his mental health issues. Id.
Standard for Dismissal
se pleadings are liberally construed by the Court.
Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per
curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Nonetheless, the district 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). An action has no arguable basis in law when
a defendant is immune from suit or when a plaintiff claims a
violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no arguable
factual basis when the allegations are delusional or rise to
the level of the irrational or “wholly
incredible.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992); Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199.
determining whether the plaintiff has stated a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the
Complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accept all factual allegations as true, and determine whether
the Complaint contains “enough fact to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. Although a Complaint need
not contain detailed factual allegations, its “factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the Complaint are true.” Id.
The Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The
Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
677-78 (2009), further explains the
“plausibility” requirement, stating that “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Furthermore,
“the plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant acted
unlawfully.” Id. This determination is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
Law and Analysis
Eighth Amendment imposes a constitutional limitation on the
power of the states to punish those convicted of crimes.
Punishment may not be “barbarous” nor may it
contravene society's “evolving standards of
decency.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346
(1981). The Eighth Amendment, therefore, prohibits conduct by
prison officials that involves the “unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain.” Ivey v. Wilson,
832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (quoting
Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 346).
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.
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
v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8 (1992). 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.
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). 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).
fails to establish the subjective element of his claims.
Deliberate indifference “entails something more than
mere negligence.” Id. at 835. An official acts
with deliberate indifference when “he acts with
criminal recklessness, ” a state of mind that requires
that the official act with conscious disregard of a
substantial risk of serious harm. Id. at 837. This
standard is met if “the official knows of and
disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; 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. Plaintiff does not allege facts reasonably
suggesting that the County Executive, the Sheriff, the
Warden, or the Chief of Metro Health Medical Center ...