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Watson v. Witty

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division

December 2, 2016

TERRY G. WATSON, Plaintiff,
KAREY L. WITTY, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiff's financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $62.28.[1] Additionally, plaintiff will be required to amend his complaint because as currently written, it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679. “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.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.

         When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.

         The Complaint[2]

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Moberly Correctional Center (“MCC”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Plaintiff names as defendants the following: Corizon Correction Health, Inc.; Karen Witty (CEO, Corizon, Inc.); Ralf Sulke (VP, Corizon); Geeneen Wilhite (Corizon, Manager of Health Services at MCC); Renee Tradaro, Corizon, Manager of Health Services at South Central Correctional Center (SCCC)); Dr. Paul Jones (Corizon Employee at MCC); Dr. Aschok Chada (Corizon Employee at SCCC); Matt Strumm (Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), Division Director in Jefferson City); Deloise Williams (MDOC, Asst. Director of Health Services in Jefferson City); George Lombardi (Director of MDOC); Michael Bowersox (Warden, SCCC); Michelle Buckner (Asst. Warden, SCCC); Unknown Allen (Correctional Officer, SCCC); Dean Minor (Warden, MCC); Lisa Pogue (Asst. Warden, MCC).

         Plaintiff claims that defendants, as a group, have discriminated against him in various ways. He claims that he is a veteran, and he was “disabled” when he entered prison. He asserts that he suffered a fall during training in the U.S. Army in Germany in 1993, resulting in physical damage to his cervical spine, thoracic and lumbar spine, left hip, left knee and left foot. Plaintiff also asserts that his hearing has been damaged as a result of his service in the U.S. Army.

         Plaintiff claims that Corizon, the medical service provider for the Missouri Department of Corrections, has been given notice of his purported disabilities on several occasions. He claims that despite having been rated as 100% disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Corizon has “ignored” his official documents relating to his disabilities and made it a practice to deny all incarcerated persons necessary medical supplies and services. Plaintiff states that Corizon has placed profit over health and safety, and he asserts generally that when he entered the prison system that his treatments, access to specialists and pain mitigation stopped.

         Plaintiff asserts on some unknown date, as a result of some uncertain conversation, defendant Dr. Chada told plaintiff that it was him, and not the President of the United States, who would decide at MDOC who was disabled.

         Plaintiff claims that he has been provided little assistance for his purported disability except over the counter pain medications to treat his chronic pain and arthritis, “with the exception of psychotropic drugs used to mitigate chronic pain such as Effexor or Cymbalta.” Plaintiff states that there has been little change to this treatment despite his utilization of the grievance system. He asserts that in order for him to receive “lay-ins” and not be punished, the Court would have to make Corizon recognize the VA system of disability, including tinnitus and hearing loss.

         Plaintiff further asserts, generally, that there are “other conditions of confinement” at MDOC that cause harm, including old and worn mattresses and a general lack of upgraded facilities at MCC, which plaintiff believes are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, plaintiff states that at MCC there are “no handicap showers, ” meaning there is no wand for the showers, and he does not believe there is enough room for a wheelchair. (Plaintiff does not state whether he is in a wheelchair or whether he needs a wand in the shower or has asked for a wand and been denied such a device.)

         Plaintiff states that he also does not believe that there is a handicap cell at MCC, and he states that the entrance to each cell requires stairs. (Again, plaintiff does not state whether he can or cannot traverse stairs.)

         Plaintiff also complains that there are long lines for medications and states in a conclusory fashion that “managers” fail to meet ADA duties by ...

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