United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Michael F. Urbanski United States District Judge
Lee Baker, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
defendants are Clay Corbin, the Captain of Security at the
Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center
("Jail"), and James Whitley, the Jail's
Superintendent. Plaintiff argues that Capt. Corbin
deliberately interfered with necessary medical treatment by
not allowing him to receive the amber-tinted eyeglasses he
ordered from the internet. Defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment, and Plaintiff responded, making this matter
ripe for disposition. After reviewing the record, the court
grants the motion for summary judgment.
alleges the following in the verified complaint:
I have been denied my eyeglasses that [we]re medically
prescribed for me [in] the past six months. I am legally
blind in my right eye, and my vision in my left eye is
deteriorating ... for I have to strain to see .... My eye
hurts, and I am having serious headaches.
* * *
The eyeglasses in question are not dark tinted, only amber
tint. They are not reading glasses. They are prescribed. The
reason they were ordered from E-bay was I couldn't afford
several hundred dollars so I sent my eye exam and eye
prescription forms to an eyeglasses company online. The
glasses are legitimate eyeglasses. I have the box and the
paper work with them in my property at this facility.
Corbin denied Plaintiffs requests to receive the eyeglasses
from Ebay because, inter alia, they were not
authorized due to the risk of safety and security to the
Jail. These particular eyeglasses had two pieces of metal on
each ear piece, and the Jail does not allow eyeglasses of any
kind, prescription or reading, that contain metal pieces that
can be used as weapons.
issues of safety and security were particular important here
because Plaintiff has had multiple incidents of fashioning or
making shanks and weapons from screws, metal pieces, battery
cores, and a spring from an ink pen. Jail staff had also
documented Plaintiffs threats to kill or assault Jail staff,
other inmates, and police; threats to escape on numerous
occasions; and threats and attempts of self-harm and suicide.
Jail does allow eyeglasses if they are medically necessary,
otherwise meet the Jail's security requirements, and are
approved. The Jail also allows reading glasses if they are
purchased through the canteen because those eyeglasses meet
security requirements. Tinted eyeglasses are also available
through the canteen if prescribed by a doctor.
Plaintiff had not established to either defendant, before or
after he ordered the eyeglasses from Ebay, that they were
prescribed or met the Jail's security requirements. Capt.
Corbin explains that he had never seen a prescription for the
eyeglasses ordered from Ebay. Furthermore, an ophthalmologist
examined Plaintiff in September 2015, which was two months
before Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment,
and that doctor did not order any type of glasses as
medically necessary. As of September 3, 2015, Plaintiff had
requested a pair of reading glasses from the canteen, the
request was approved, and Plaintiff paid $4.00 to receive
them. Plaintiff was never denied the right to purchase
reading glasses from the canteen.
Whitley avers he had no personal involvement with or
contemporaneous knowledge about ...