United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
A. White, United States District Judge.
action is before the Court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss Plaintiff's amended civil rights complaint. The
Court has before it for consideration Plaintiff's amended
complaint (Dkt. 60), Defendants' motion (Dkt. 64), and
Plaintiff's response (Dkt. 75).
an inmate in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of
Corrections (DOC) who is incarcerated at Davis Correctional
Facility in Holdenville, Oklahoma, brings this action under
the authority of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking relief for
alleged constitutional violations during his incarceration at
Oklahoma State Penitentiary (“OSP”) in McAlester,
Oklahoma. The defendants are Patricia Sorrels, OSP Health
Services Administrator; David Marlar, OSP Resident Physician;
Buddy Honaker, DOC Medical Services Administrator; James
Howard, OSP Resident Psychiatrist; Susan Shields, OSP
Psychologist; Patricia Stem, DOC Eastern Regional Mental
Health Coordinator; William Taylor, OSP Mental Health Unit
Manager; Nancy Coppel, OSP L.P.N.; Amber Robinson, OSP
L.P.N.; Alicia Scull, OSP L.P.N., and Buster Harris, OSP
Claim Concerning Plaintiff's Knees
alleges that during the morning “pill pass” on
June 22, 2015, he advised the attending nurse on duty that
his knees were swollen and causing him severe pain. The nurse
observed Plaintiff's knees and advised him to submit a
“sick-call” or Heath Services Form.
alleges he stated in his June 22, 2015, sick-call that
“I need my knee (sic) looked at again. It (sic) is
(sic) swollen and throbbing with pain” (Dkt. 60 at 3).
Plaintiff asserts his knees still were swollen and very
painful when he was triaged by Defendant Coppel. Coppel,
however, did not provide Plaintiff with anything for his
symptoms. He claims Coppel's deliberate indifference to
his medical problems resulted in more pain and a lasting
pain was so “severe and unrelenting” that
Plaintiff could not sleep well, and at times he could not get
out of bed from his top bunk assignment. Therefore, he
submitted the second of many sick-call slips on July 8, 2015,
stating, “I was triaged for my swollen and painful
knees on June 28th, 2015. I am still having the same issues.
I need Tylonol (sic) for pain and something for the fluid on
my knees” (Dkt. 60 at 3). The triage nurse observed his
knees on July 8, 2015, and allegedly said, “You need an
X-ray those look bad” (Dkt. 60 at 4). Plaintiff,
however, received no pain relief.
August 3, 2015, Plaintiff submitted his third sick-call after
receiving no pain treatment in the first and second triages.
His sick-call stated his swollen and painful knees still had
not been examined. He again requested Tylenol, X-rays, and
treatment for fluid on his knees. Because he allegedly was
not triaged for the third sick-call, Plaintiff submitted a
Request to Staff (RTS) to Defendant Patricia Sorrels, Health
Services Supervisor, on August 10, 2015. The RTS stated he
needed an X-ray, treatment, and pain relief. Plaintiff
alleges he subsequently submitted numerous additional RTSs
and grievances, but he did not receive the requested X-ray,
pain relief, and other treatment or “amenity” to
prevent further damage to his knees.
5, 2016, Dr. Gonzago, the facility physician at Lawton
Correctional Facility, provided Plaintiff a prescription for
Naproxin for pain relief. Plaintiff claims he mistakenly
believed Naproxin was a “serious prescription pain
medication, ” but he subsequently learned it was only a
prescription for Advil. The medication did not relieve his
pain, and the pain caused him uncontrollable gnashing of his
teeth which resulted in chipped and broken teeth.
complains that Defendants Marlar, Robinson, Coppel, Scull,
and Sorrels were responsible for the denial of pain relief
for approximately 79 days until Plaintiff received the Advil.
This delay also allegedly resulted in further damage to
Plaintiff's left knee. When he was reevaluated on
December 7, 2015, in the hypertension chronic care clinic,
Defendant Dr. Marlar prescribed something “more
serious” for the pain, along with a brace to allow the
meniscus tendon to heal properly. Plaintiff returned to Dr.
Marlar on January 8, 2016. Dr. Marler then advised Plaintiff
that there was a spending freeze, and Plaintiff could not be
provided with a knee brace. Plaintiff maintains the delays
and denials of treatment for his knees amounted to cruel and
unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
further alleges he is a black male, and while going through
the grievance process, he discovered that three of his
“Caucasian counterparts” were being seen by
Defendant Nurses Coppel, Robinson, and Scull. Furthermore,
the “counterparts” received pain relief the first
day they complained of pain. Plaintiff asserts the denial of
pain relief for him violated his right of equal protection to
be free from pain and suffering. Plaintiff further claims
Defendants Sorrels and Honaker have shuffled and forged
paperwork to take advantage of him, because he is
incarcerated and unable to seek medical treatment from a
provider of his choosing.
with Cellmate and Plaintiff's Resulting Injuries
resumed sharing a cell with his former cellmate Gail
Daetwiler on June 13, 2014. The two men previously were
separated because Daetwiler refused to take his psychotropic
medications in protest of Dr. Janna Morgan's not allowing
them to transfer to a lower security level as she had
promised. Defendants William Taylor and Patricia Stem advised
Plaintiff and Daetwiler that if either of them stopped taking
his medication, they immediately would be separated again.
around August 4-6, 2015, Dr. James Howard discontinued
Daetwiler's psychotropic prescriptions, because Daetwiler
had refused to meet with Dr. Howard. When Daetwiler was
advised of this change on the morning of August 10, 2015, he
immediately “began to throw a tantrum.” Plaintiff
advised the staff that if Daetwiler's psychotropic
medications were not resumed, Plaintiff and Daetwiler would
need to be separated for Plaintiff's safety. Plaintiff
claims that while they were waiting for Daetwiler to receive
his medication, Defendants Scull and Robinson said that
“Defendants Scull and Stem were sending schathing (sic)
e-mails to Defendant Howard as well as Defendant Shields
sending e-mails to Defendant Howard also” (Dkt. 60 at
morning of August 14, 2015, the Certified Emergency Response
Team (C.E.R.T.) arrived in Plaintiff's unit for an
institution-wide search of each cell for contraband. Despite
not finding any contraband, the C.E.R.T. officers allegedly
trashed all ten cells on the top tier, including Plaintiff
and Daetwiler's cell. Plaintiff argues this damage to the
cells violated Article 2 § 30 of the Oklahoma
Constitution, the Fourth and ...