United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY K. FRIZZELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Seth Oren Simmons, an inmate at the Benton County Jail in
Bentonville, Arkansas, commenced this action on June 4, 2019,
by filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint
(Dkt. 1) and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. 2).
By order filed June 24, 2019 (Dkt. 3), the Court granted
Simmons leave to proceed in forma pauperis, directed him to
submit an initial partial payment of $3.72 on or before July
24, 2019, identified deficiencies in the complaint, and
directed Simmons to file an amended complaint. The Court also
entered an order (Dkt. 4) directing officials at the Benton
County Jail to submit the initial partial payment on
Simmons's behalf. Simmons submitted an amended complaint
(Dkt. 5) on July 25, 2019. As discussed below, the Court
finds the amended complaint sufficient to state one or more
plausible Â§ 1983 claims against defendant. However, before
this action may proceed, Simmons must submit the initial
partial payment or show cause in writing for his failure to
The amended complaint survives preliminary
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a federal district
court must screen civil complaints filed by prisoners seeking
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court
must identify any cognizable claim and dismiss any claim
which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. §
1915A(b). In reviewing the complaint, the court accepts all
well-pleaded facts as true and liberally construes them in
plaintiff's favor. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556, U.S.
662, 678-79 (2009); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1110 (10th Cir. 1991). Ultimately, the court must determine
whether the complaint contains “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570
(2007). “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.
amended complaint, Simmons claims Terry Hibbert, the
administrator of the Delaware County Jail, violated his
Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care and safe
living conditions in August 2018, while Simmons was detained
at the Delaware County Jail in Jay, Oklahoma. Dkt. 5, at 1-3.
In Count I, Simmons alleges he had serious medical needs
resulting from injuries he sustained from an assault and that
Hibbert knew of, but disregarded, an excessive risk to
Simmons's health by failing to provide Simmons prescribed
medication and access to a follow-up appointment with a
surgeon. Dkt. 5, at 2, 4. Simmons alleges Hibbert's
failure to provide him access to adequate medical care left
Simmons with facial pain and impaired breathing. Id.
at 3-4. In Count II, Simmons alleges Hibbert failed to
provide safe living conditions and placed him at risk for
additional serious injuries “or even death” by
housing him in an overcrowded jail cell upon his release from
the hospital. Id. at 2, 5. Simmons seeks $10 million
“for pain and suffering, emotional distress, punitive
damages, physical damages, medical fees, and attorney and
court proceeding fees.” Id. at 5.
the Eighth Amendment, jail officials must, inter alia,
“ensure that inmates receive adequate . . . medical
care.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832
(1994). To state an Eighth Amendment violation based on
inadequate medical care, an inmate must plausibly allege that
the prison official acted with “deliberate indifference
to [the inmate's] serious medical needs.”
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). A
“sufficiently serious” medical need is one
“diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or . .
. so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize
the necessity for a doctor's attention.” Hunt
v. Uphoff, 199 F.3d 1220, 1224 (10th Cir. 1999) (quoting
Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 575 (10th Cir. 1980)).
And a prison official acts with a “sufficiently
culpable state of mind, ” when the official
“knows of and disregards an excessive risk” to
the inmate's health. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. In
other words, “the official must both be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and [the official] must also
draw the inference.” Id.
Simmons's allegations at true, the Court finds them
sufficient to state one or more plausible Eighth Amendment
claims against Hibbert arising from Hibbert's alleged
failure to provide access to adequate medical care.
The amended complaint is subject to being dismissed for
prior order, the Court advised Simmons that this civil action
could be dismissed without prejudice to refiling if he failed
to either submit the initial partial payment by July 24,
2019, or show cause in writing for his failure to do so. Dkt.
3, at 2. To date, the Court has not received the previously
assessed initial partial payment of $3.72. Before this action
may proceed, Simmons must either submit the initial partial
payment or explain his failure to pay. Thus, within 21 days
from the entry of this order, Simmons shall either (1) submit
the initial partial payment or (2) file a written response
explaining his failure to submit the initial partial payment.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that within 21 days from the
entry of this order, or by September 3,
2019, Plaintiff shall either (1) submit an initial
partial payment of $3.72, or (2) show cause
in writing for his failure to do so. Failure to
comply with this order will result in the ...