United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES B. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Mark Allen Peters, a state prisoner appearing pro se and
proceeding in forma pauperis, brings this federal
civil rights action against several defendants, alleging
violations of his federal constitutional rights. On January
18, 2019, the Court dismissed all claims asserted against six
of these defendants for failure of service. See
Order of Jan. 18, 2019 (Doc. No. 59). Because the Court finds
that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted against the remaining defendants, the Court
now dismisses without prejudice all remaining claims in
is presently incarcerated at Lawton Correctional Facility
(“LCF”), a private prison in Lawton, Oklahoma,
owned and operated by GEO Group, Inc. pursuant to a contract
with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections
(“ODOC”). Plaintiff filed his suit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, asserting violations of his Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. See Compl. (Doc. No. 1)
at 8-12, 13.
Complaint, Plaintiff names the following defendants: ODOC;
ODOC Director Joe Allbaugh; ODOC Chief Medical Officer Dr.
Joel McCurdy; private prison operator GEO Group, Inc.; LCF
Warden Hector Rios; John/Jane Doe; healthcare services
provider Correct Care Solutions (“CCS”); and
eight CCS employees, including Christina Thomas, Shirley
Stouffer, Parks, Gary, Savoy, Richmond, Holmburg, and
Tocknell. All of the individual defendants, with the possible
exception of John/Jane Doe, are identified as sued in both
their individual and official capacities. See Id.
at 2-6; see also Jones v. Barry, 33 Fed.Appx. 967');">33 Fed.Appx. 967,
971 n.5 (10th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive
relief. See Compl. at 14.
January 18, 2019, the Court dismissed Defendants Thomas,
Stouffer, Parks, Gary, Richmond, and Doe from this action for
failure of service. See Order of Jan. 18, 2019, at
1-5; Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).
OBLIGATION AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court is obligated to conduct a review of Plaintiff's
Complaint to identify its cognizable claims and to dismiss
the pleading, or any portion thereof, that is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1); Doc.
No. 6 (Order granting Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative level
on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint
are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citation omitted). In evaluating whether a plaintiff has
stated a valid claim, the Court “accept[s] as true all
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and view[s]
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Burnett v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 706
F.3d 1231, 1235 (10th Cir. 2013). Bare legal conclusions in a
complaint are not entitled to the assumption of truth;
“they must be supported by factual allegations”
to state a claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
se litigant's complaint must be liberally construed.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The
broad construction afforded to the pro se litigant's
allegations does not, however, “relieve the plaintiff
of the burden of alleging sufficient facts on which a
recognized legal claim could be based.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Claims
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
“a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right
secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States,
and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law.” West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); see 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983; Phillips v. Tiona, 508 Fed.Appx. 737,
750 (10th Cir. 2013) (“We have long assumed that
employees of a private prison act under color of state law
for purposes of § 1983 suits by inmates . . . .”).
Failure to Protect
first alleges that unspecified LCF prison officials failed to
protect Plaintiff from the violent attack of another
prisoner, thus violating their duty under the Eighth
Amendment to protect inmates from harm. See Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832-33 (1994) (explaining that
prison officials have a duty under the Eighth Amendment to
“take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of .
. . inmates, ” and “to protect prisoners from
violence at the hands of other prisoners” (internal
quotation marks omitted)). In support of this claim,
Plaintiff alleges that on December 2, 2016, after being
placed in a segregated housing unit, Plaintiff's cellmate
violently attacked him. See Compl. at 8-9. Plaintiff
claims that he pressed the cell's panic button several
times but the guards failed to respond. Plaintiff sustained a
fractured nose, black eye, and contusions. See Id.
does not specifically allege the involvement of any named
Defendant in relation to this claim. In lawsuits that include
multiple defendants, it is “particularly
important” that plaintiffs “make clear exactly
who is alleged to have done what to
whom.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v.
Collins, 656 F.3d 1210, 1215 (10th Cir. 2011) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “[I]t is incumbent upon a
plaintiff to identify specific actions taken by
particular defendants” to state cognizable
§ 1983 claims against those defendants. Pahls v.
Thomas, 718 F.3d 1210, 1226 (10th Cir. 2013) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Because Plaintiff has failed to do
so here, his failure-to-protect claim does not plausibly show
that any Defendant infringed his rights. See Pahls,
718 F.3d at 1225-26.
the Court dismisses Plaintiff's failure-to-protect claim
without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).
next alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs on three occasions when Plaintiff
was provided the wrong medication. See Sealock v.
Colorado, 218 F.3d 1205, 1209 (10th Cir. 2000) (“A
prison official's deliberate indifference to an
inmate's serious medical needs violates the Eighth
Amendment.”). Plaintiff alleges that on January 9,
2017, a few hours after an unspecified nurse gave him the
wrong medication, he had a strong adverse reaction that
caused him to have no control over his legs and to sustain a
fall. See Compl. at 9. Plaintiff claims he was taken
to the medical department but was “just left in an
unattended room.” Id. The second incident
occurred on March 5, 2017, when Defendant Tocknell
“refused to allow Plaintiff to see his
medications” before he took them, and, as a result of
being given the wrong medication, Plaintiff had a seizure of
such severity that he required emergency medical attention.
Id. at 9-10 (emphasis omitted). Plaintiff then
alleges that on March 11, 2017, Defendant Savoy included
along with Plaintiff's normal pills a red pill that
Plaintiff did not recognize. See Id. at 10. When
Plaintiff brought this to Defendant Savoy's attention,
she told Plaintiff to “flush” the red pill.
Id. Defendants Tocknell and Savoy are the only
Defendants named in relation to this claim.
officials violate the Eighth Amendment “‘when
they are deliberately indifferent to the serious medical
needs of prisoners in their custody.'” Oxendine
v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1276 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Perkins v. Kan. Dep't of Corr., 165 F.3d 803,
811 (10th Cir. 1999)). To state such a claim, a plaintiff
must allege both an objective and a subjective component.
Id. To satisfy the objective component, a plaintiff
must allege facts that plausibly show that the alleged
deprivation was “sufficiently serious.”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834; see Sealock, 218
F.3d at 1209. To satisfy the subjective component, a
plaintiff must allege facts that plausibly show that the
defendant was aware of and ignored “an excessive risk
to inmate health or safety.” Farmer, 511 U.S.
at 837; see Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1209. Plaintiff
must show that Defendants “ha[d] a culpable state of
mind”-i.e., that they “act[ed] or fail[ed] to act
with deliberate indifference to inmate health and
safety.” Shannon v. Graves, 257 F.3d 1164,
1168 (10th Cir. 2001); accord Farmer, 511 U.S. at
Supreme Court has “defined this ‘deliberate
indifference' standard as equal to
‘recklessness,' in which ‘a person disregards
a risk of harm of which he is aware.'” DeSpain
v. Uphoff, 264 F.3d 965, 972 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 836-37). “But an
inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care-even if
it rises to the level of medical malpractice-does not in
itself amount to a constitutional violation.” Hill
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 685 Fed.Appx. 665, 668 (10th Cir.
2017) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06).
Court assumes that the objective component of an Eighth
Amendment violation would be met by Plaintiff's alleged
facts. However, such allegations, even when accepted as true
and liberally construed in his favor, do not support a
reasonable inference that either Defendant Tocknell or
Defendant Savoy “acted or failed to act despite [her]
knowledge of a ...