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Darby v. Witty

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

July 6, 2018

KAREN 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 $24.25, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Additionally, the Court will order plaintiff to file an amended prisoner civil rights compliant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as directed below.

         Legal Standard on Initial 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

         Plaintiff brings this § 1983 action against multiple medical providers and prison officials at Potosi Correctional Center (“PCC”) and Moberly Correctional Center (“MCC”) for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Named as defendants are: Karey L. Witty, CEO, Corizon Corrections Healthcare, Inc. (“Corizon”); Ralf Sulke, Vice President of Operations, Corizon; Dr. John Deghetto, Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”); Dr. Ruanne Stamps, Medical Director, MCC; Bonnie Boley, Health Services Administrator, MCC; Dr. Unknown Paniagua, PCC; Laurel Davison, Nurse Practitioner, MCC; Dr. George Robinson, Dentist, PCC; Dr. Ernest Jackson, Missouri Director of Dental Services-Corrections; Dr. Unknown Dillard, Dentist, PCC; Dr. Unknown Blake, Dentist, PCC; Dr. Unknown Guzdial, Dentist, PCC; Unknown Corrections Officers at PCC; Dr. Unknown Cooper, Dentist, PCC; and Unknown Doctors. Plaintiff's claims fall under three categories: allegations regarding dental care, allegations regarding plaintiff's fingernails and toenails, and allegations regarding plaintiff's acid reflux. The Court will discuss each category separately.

         Dental Care

         Plaintiff complains of the dental care he has received in prison starting on June 3, 2008. On that day, defendant Dr. George Robinson pulled one of plaintiff's teeth, which caused plaintiff severe pain. Then the tooth next to the pulled tooth became loose, and Dr. Robinson pulled the second tooth. Five days after Dr. Robinson pulled plaintiff's second tooth, plaintiff states pieces of his jaw bone started falling out and a third tooth fell out. In his prison grievance, plaintiff stated as follows:

In all about 8 pieces of jaw bone came out, the biggest piece I turned in to Nurse Tracy Dunn after Mr. Cartrette my caseworker saw the tooth and bone, I have been in extreme pain for several [days] because of Dr. Robinson. Now my gums are receding away from tooth #18 exposing the nerves on the side of the tooth, it will probably have to be pulled as well. My gums are not closing properly because they are falling where the bone is missing.

         After the dental care events of June 2008, plaintiff continued to have dental treatments, which he lists on page fifteen of his complaint. From 2008 through 2012, plaintiff lost five more teeth: three were pulled out by dentists, and two were pulled out by plaintiff.

         On February 10, 2013, less than five years before filing this action, plaintiff pulled tooth #4 and four days later pulled tooth #5. He states he pulled these teeth after being denied dental emergencies.

Both teeth were loose and bone had been cracked when tooth #3 was pulled. Tooth #5 was painful for years and when I pulled it out it was so loose that a ½” wide piece of bone pulled out with it, 3 roots, one large one in upper plate, 2 small roots embedded in the upper face bone, which the crack was caused by a hit to the mouth by the dentist Dr. Robinson from bearing down so hard to pull tooth #3, which dentist Dr. McKinney had drilled too close to the edge of the tooth while Dr. Robinson was off. Tooth #3 had a cavity from Dr. Robinson's cleaning session when I first got to Potosi Correctional Center. This led to several dental emergencies over the years and being denied so many times that I resorted to pulling them myself.

         Fingernails ...

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