United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this
civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed
plaintiffs financial information, the Court assesses a
partial initial filing fee of $34.82, which is twenty percent
of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint,
the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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.
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.
an inmate at St. Louis City Justice Center, brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as defendants
are the City of St. Louis Justice Center; Unknown Barns
(Superintendent); Dr. Unknown Fluentes; and Corizon Health
Medical Inc. Plaintiff states that he sues all defendants in
their official and individual capacities.
7, 2017, plaintiff was transferred to the St. Louis City
Justice Center from St. Louis University Hospital where he
had been treated for a gunshot wound to his foot. He states
he was placed in the Justice Center's medical unit. On
July 8, 2017, defendant Dr. Fluentes examined plaintiff and
changed his medication from Norco 5.325 milligrams every six
hours, as needed, to Tylenol #4 two times per day for two to
three days, then to Tylenol #3 two times per day for four
days. After this course of treatment, plaintiff was moved
from the medical unit to cell block 4-A in a wheelchair.
states there was no further follow-up and he received no
additional pain medication. Plaintiff states defendants Dr.
Fluentes and Superintendent Barns "failed to render
medical health care commensurate with community standards,
" and have violated his Eighth Amendment right to be
free of cruel and unusual punishment.
damages, plaintiff seeks an Order requiring medical staff at
the Justice Center to examine his foot, $100, 000 for pain
and suffering, and punitive damages.
prevail on his Eighth Amendment claim, plaintiff must show
that (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical need
and (2) defendant knew of, but deliberately disregarded, that
need. See Schaub v. VonWald, 638 F.3d 905, 914 (8th
Cir. 2011). Medical malpractice does not amount to deliberate
indifference "merely because the victim is a
prisoner." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976). An inmate must demonstrate that a prison medical
treatment provider's actions were "so inappropriate
as to evidence intentional maltreatment or a refusal to
provide essential care." Dulanyv. Carnahan, 132
F.3d 1234, 1240-41 (8th Cir. 1997).
plaintiff was discharged from St. Louis University Hospital
to the St. Louis City Justice Center with instructions and
prescription information provided by hospital staff.
Plaintiff was seen the next day at the Justice Center by Dr.
Fluentes, who examined plaintiff and assessed his injury. In
the exercise of her medical judgment, Dr. Fluentes prescribed
different pain medication than the doctor at St. Louis
University Hospital-changing the Norco prescription to
Tylenol #4 and later Tylenol #3. Based on plaintiffs
complaint, he was treated in the medical unit for seven days
with pain medication and then returned to the general
population in a wheelchair. Plaintiff states he was not
prescribed any additional pain medication.
carefully reviewed and liberally construed plaintiffs
complaint, the Court has no information from which it could
find that defendants Dr. Fluentes or Superintendent Barns
knew of, but deliberately disregarded, a serious medical
need. Plaintiffs gunshot wound was treated by medical staff
at the Justice Center, although Dr. Fluentes modified his
prescription pain medications. While plaintiff might disagree
with Dr. Fluentes' prescription decisions, mere
disagreement with treatment decisions does not rise to the
level of a constitutional violation. The Eighth Amendment
allows medical care providers to exercise their independent
medical judgment. See Long v. Nix,86 F.3d 761, 765
(8th Cir. 1996). "Prisoners do not have a constitutional
right to any particular type of treatment. Prison ...