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Miles v. Corizon Healthcare

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

May 13, 2019

DOUGLAS SCOTT MILES, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTHCARE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Douglas Scott Miles, Jr. (registration no. 1182356), an inmate at Farmington Correctional Center ("FCC"), for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $161.98. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). 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(b)(1)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of plaintiffs account indicates an average monthly deposit of $809.93. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $161.98, which is 20 percent of plaintiff s average monthly deposit.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action is malicious when it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing litigants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D. N.C. 1987), off'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987).

         To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). These include "legal conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 1949. Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 1950-51. This is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is required to plead facts that show more than the "mere possibility of misconduct." Id. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint "to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief." Id. at 1951. When faced with alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its judgment in determining whether plaintiffs proffered conclusion is the most plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950, 1951-52.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights against three defendants during his incarceration at Moberly Medical Center: Corizon Health Care; Dr. Paul Jones (Medical Director for Corizon, Jefferson City); and Nurse Geneen Wilhite (Director of Nursing, Jefferson City). He sues the defendants in their official and individual capacities. He alleges as follows.

         Plaintiff claims that at the end of August 2015 he injured his back while playing basketball. A day later he began to feel discomfort in his lower back, so he went to medical for pain treatment. The next day, plaintiff claims he returned to medical and was provided X-rays, as well as ibuprofen on the continuing days. Plaintiff states that Dr. Jones told him after reviewing the X-rays that his spine was straight with no bone or tissue abnormality. Plaintiff states that after the pain continued through mid-October, when he finally saw Dr. Jones at that time, Dr. Jones agree to provide him with steroid injections to try to assist with the pain. Dr. Jones told plaintiff on this visit that nothing else could be done for him.

         Plaintiff states that he returned to medical at the end of December 2015 with additional pain and discomfort in his back and Dr. Jones provided him with two additional steroid injections. Plaintiff states that the injections continued at an interval of every ten weeks for approximately one year. In December 2015, plaintiff claims that he sought an outside medical action, specifically an MRI. However, plaintiff asserts that he was denied access to the MRI at that time.

         Plaintiff states that as a result of the denial of the MRI, he filed an IRR grieving the issue, and he pursued the grievance through the appeals process. He claims that eventually Dr. Jones was replaced with a "new doctor" who told plaintiff that the injections were doing "more harm than good" and he discontinued the injections. Plaintiff alleges that he was transferred to Algoa Correctional Center in February of 2017, where he was still experiencing back pain. Plaintiff does not indicate whether he sought treatment for the back pain at Algoa. He makes a conclusory statement without any factual assertions, however, that "Geneen Wilhite ...


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