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Baer v. Wilson

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

December 31, 2019

ROGER WILSON, et al., Defendants




         Pro se Plaintiff William H. Baer, a state prisoner incarcerated at the Richland Correctional Institution (“RCI”), brings this fee-paid action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Roger Wilson (Chief Inspector), Karen Stanforth (Assistant Chief Inspector), Kelly Rose (Institutional Inspector), Dorene Burkhart (Health Care Administrator), Racheal Wheeler (Nurse Practitioner), Danny Hall (Nurse Practitioner), and Mbanefo Ojukwu (Nurse Practitioner) (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff claims that Defendants denied him adequate medical treatment while he was incarcerated at RCI. (ECF No. 1).

         For the reasons that follow, this action is dismissed.


         According to the Complaint, Plaintiff arrived at RCI in July, 2018 with a history of breathing and sinus problems. Plaintiff states that these problems stemmed from his confinement in a dormitory at Grafton Correctional Institution (“GCI”) where he was exposed to water leaking from the roof and “black mold” in the ceiling. Shortly after he was moved to another dormitory at GCI, Plaintiff began having “massive” breathing problems and a chronic infection in his left sinus. In 2014 while at GCI, he was sent Ohio State University Hospital where he received breathing treatments and antibiotics. Since that time, Plaintiff has complained of symptoms such as difficulty breathing, inability to walk, dizziness and blackout spells, and coughing and vomiting. (Id. ¶ 1-7).

         Plaintiff states that since he arrived at RCI in July, 2018, his symptoms have worsened to the point that he has received allergy injections monthly, prednisone and antibiotics more frequently, and breathing treatments. But Plaintiff alleges that none of this medical treatments have been sufficient to address his medical problems. (Id. ¶ 8-9).

         Plaintiff filed an informal complaint with defendant Burkhart on February 20, 2019 stating that while he has been seen by several doctors, he has not undergone testing to determine “what is wrong” with his health. Burkhart responded that Plaintiff has asthma and allergic rhinitis, and an MRI and CT scan are not warranted. Plaintiff took his grievance to defendant Rose, who responded that he reviewed the record and Plaintiff is being treated properly. He received the same response from defendants Wilson and Stanforth. Plaintiff was being treated with symbicort, atrovert, prednisone, and antibiotics, and an X-Ray had been performed. (Id. ¶ 10-17).

         On March 28, 2019, Plaintiff was seen by defendant Hall who informed Plaintiff that the X-Ray showed he was suffering from a sinus disease. Defendant Ojukwu saw Plaintiff on April 9, 2019 and told Plaintiff he had sinusitis and recommended a CT scan and that Plaintiff be seen at the Franklin Medical Center. On May 7, 2019, a CT scan was performed at the Franklin Medical Center and he was seen by defendant Wheeler on May 14, 2019. Wheeler informed Plaintiff that he had sinusitis and would be seeing a doctor about possible surgery, and they need to “find the right nasal spray that fits the plaintiff's problem.” (Id. ¶ 18-24).

         Plaintiff alleges that he has been on antibiotics, nasal sprays, antihistamines, steroids, and breathing treatments for the past two years, and that Defendants have acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and with “reckless disregard and malice intent to deprive the plaintiff of adequate medical treatment.” Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' deliberate indifference has resulted in Plaintiff suffering from anxiety, depression, and paranoia that Defendants will allow his to die before providing adequate medical care. (Id. ¶ 25, 28).

         For relief, Plaintiff asks this court to enjoin Defendants from transferring Plaintiff from RCI, award Plaintiff One Million Dollars in compensatory and One Million Dollars in punitive damages from each defendant, and order Defendants to adopt policies and procedures at RCI that will provide adequate treatment to prisoners. (Id. at 9-10).


         A. Standard of Review

         Because Plaintiff paid the filing fee, screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) is inapplicable. However, as Plaintiff is a prisoner at RCI, his status as a prisoner requires the court to screen his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A regardless of whether the filing fee was paid. Lacoss v. Engler, 234 F.3d 1268 (Table) (6th Cir. 2000) (“[A]ll complaints filed by prisoners against state officials, whether or not they are proceeding in forma pauperis, are subject to sua sponte dismissal for failure to state a claim.”) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A; Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014, 1016 (6th Cir. 1999)); Siller v. Dean, 205 F.3d 1341 (Table) (6th Cir. 2000) (finding that district court improperly dismissed fee paid prisoner civil rights case pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B) but affirming the district court's judgment because the complaint was properly subject to dismissal pursuant to § 1915A) (citations omitted); see also Nelson v. Janice, No. 2:14-CV-11256, 2014 WL 2765147, at *1 (E.D. Mich. June 18, 2014) (“[A] review of a ...

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