United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
David A. Farmer, Plaintiff
Tara Reece, et al., Defendants
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY J. HELMICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
se Plaintiff David A. Farmer filed this action under 42
U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986 against Marion Correctional
Institution (“MCI”) Health Care Administrator
Tara Reece and MCI nurses Cora Metz, Betsy Harringar, Jesse
Glass, and Jason Hughes. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges
Defendants did not follow post-operative wound care
instructions from the surgeon, which led to additional
surgery. He seeks monetary damages.
alleges he contracted a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus
Aureus (MRSA) infection at MCI. He went to the medical department
in November 2017. He states Glass and Hughes examined his
foot but did not refer him to the doctor. He claims, without
explanation, that this led to a surgical procedure at the
Ohio State University Hospital to removal a portion of bone.
He indicates he returned with specific wound care
instructions, which he does not include in his Complaint. He
alleges, without explanation, that Metz, Harringar, Glass,
and Hughes refused to the follow the orders and instead began
to “stuff [his] wound with some kind of
materials.” (Doc. No. 1 at 3). Plaintiff contends his
wound got larger and did not heal, requiring him to have a
second surgery to remove additional bone. Upon his return to
MCI, he confronted the Health Care Administrator, Tara Reece,
and asked why the nurses were packing his wound. He claims
Reece told him there were no orders for his foot to be packed
and left to speak with her staff. Plaintiff claims the
Defendants conspired to cover up the situation in violation
of 42 U.S.C. § 1985 and seeks monetary damages.
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), I am
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. at 327. A cause
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).
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
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, I
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).
initial matter, Plaintiff fails to state a plausible claim
under 42 U.S.C. § 1985. To establish a violation of
§ 1985, Plaintiff must allege that the Defendants
conspired together for the purpose of depriving the Plaintiff
of equal protection of the law and committed an act in
furtherance of the conspiracy which was motivated by racial
or other class-based discriminatory intent. Bass v.
Robinson, 167 F.3d 1041, 1050 (6th Cir. 1999). It is
well-settled that conspiracy claims must be pled with some
degree of specificity and that vague and conclusory
allegations unsupported by material facts will not be
sufficient to state such a claim. Spadafore v.
Gardner , 330 F.3d 849, 854 (6th Cir. 2003);
Gutierrez v. Lynch, 826 F.2d 1534, 1538 (6th Cir.
1987). Plaintiff must allege sufficient factual allegations
to link the Defendants in the conspiracy and to establish the
requisite “meeting of the minds” essential to the
existence of the conspiracy. McDowell v. Jones, 990
F.2d 433, 434 (8th Cir. 1993) (holding that plaintiff failed
to state a claim for conspiracy pursuant to § 1985 for
failure to allege a meeting of the minds).
Plaintiff does not allege any facts to suggest the Defendants
conspired together. His allegations of conspiracy are
entirely conclusory. Moreover, to state a claim under §
1985, the conspiracy must be motivated by racial or other
class-based discrimination. Plaintiff gives no indication
that the Defendants intended to discriminate against him on
the basis of race or membership in a protected class.
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under § 1985, his
claims for relief under § 1986 must also be dismissed.
Section 1986 imposes liability on those individuals who have
knowledge of any of the wrongs prohibited by § 1985, yet
fail to prevent them. Without a violation of § 1985,
there can be no violation of § 1986.
considered and examined the pro se Plaintiff's
pleadings to determine their legal viability, I conclude they
fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Therefore, this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e). I certify, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §