United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
C. Cacheris United States District Judge
Ranzell Fields was a Virginia inmate when he filed this pro
se civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that he suffered deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs at the Alexandria Detention Center
("ADC"). Plaintiff moved to proceed in forma
pauperis in the action. Following review of the initial
complaint, deficiencies in it were explained to plaintiff,
and he was allowed an opportunity to file a particularized
and amended complaint. After careful review of the amended
complaint, the claim must be dismissed with prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state
a claim for which relief can be granted.
alleges that upon his incarceration at ADC in December, 2013,
he began to submit requests for medical attention for his
scabies infection. Plaintiff submitted 8 requests over the
course of a month before he "got attention." Am.
Compl. ¶1. On May 28, 2014, plaintiff requested that the
medical department "provide [him] with instructions and
complete treatment and help;" three days later, he
informed medical that he was "scratching nonstop, unable
to sleep and developing painful sores." Am. Compl.
¶6. On June 4, 2014 plaintiff requested to see
Dr. Hussein for a "follow-up, " but Dr. Hussein
denied his request. On June 7, plaintiff "notified
medical of [his] concerns why there was never a follow up by
Doctor Bennett or Hussein, " id., and on June 20, 2014,
he was able to see Dr. Hussein in the medical department and
to describe the symptoms he was experiencing due to the
scabies infection. After Dr. Hussein viewed the rash and
sores on plaintiffs body he "disregarded" them and
referred plaintiff to the psychologist. Am. Compl. ¶ 4.
9, 2014, Mrs. Okoye "responded by stating an untruth and
completely distorting the facts regarding the date"
plaintiff received Permathrin for his scabies infection. Am.
Compl. ¶5. Plaintiff explains that Mrs. Okoye
"failed to follow the complete operation [sic]
procedures for a scabies infection." Id.
beginning in July, 2014, plaintiff began to submit requests
to see a specialist for his scabies. Am. Compl. ¶2.
After submitting 15 such requests over a six-month period,
plaintiff was allowed to visit a specialist at Capitol
Dermatologist on December 23, 2014. Am. Compl. ¶3. The
doctor there examined plaintiff and directed that officials
at ADC should give plaintiff t-shirts, that plaintiff should
receive two applications of Permathrin, and that he should
return in two weeks for a follow-up visit. Id. On
January 20, plaintiff was not given a complete application of
Permathrin because he received only "the small
container, " and he was not provided with directions for
its use. Am. Compl. ¶5. On February 4 he received another
container but it "was not even enough to treat the
infected areas." Id. On March 25 and May 18
plaintiff submitted requests informing medical that he had
not received full treatments for his scabies and had not been
quarantined, but on May 20 "the same occurred again no
instructions or help to apply needed medication nor did they
quarantine me." Id.
informed Ms. Miller and Ms. Silvio of his "severe
medical problem" by submitting request forms for medical
assistance. Am. Compl. ¶7. Nurse Silvio talked to
plaintiff regarding the issue only to dismiss his
self-reporting as well as "clear visual knowledge of
[his] lesions and sores." Am. Compl. ¶9.
named defendants in this action are Ms. Okoye, Ms. Miller,
Ms. Silvio, Dr. Hussein and Dr. Bennett, all of whom
allegedly violated plaintiffs Eighth Amendment rights when
they delayed and denied treatment for his "serious and
urgent medical needs." Am. Compl. ¶ 13. As relief,
plaintiff seeks an award of $900, 000 in damages.
reviewing a complaint pursuant to § 1915 A, a court must
dismiss a prisoner complaint that is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Whether a complaint states a claim
upon which relief can be granted is determined by "the
familiar standard for a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6)." Sumner v. Tucker. 9 F.Supp.2d 641,
642 (E.D. Va. 1998). Thus, the alleged facts are presumed
true, and the complaint should be dismissed only when
"it is clear that no relief could be granted under any
set of facts that could be proved consistent with the
allegations." Hishon v. King & Spalding.
467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). To survive a 12(b)(6) motion, "a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal. 556 U.S. -,
-, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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. However, "[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to meet this
standard, id, and a plaintiffs "[f]actual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level...". Twomblv. 550 U.S. at 55.
Moreover, a court "is not bound to accept as true a
legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation."
Iqbal. 129 S.Ct. at 1949-1950.
state a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim for denial of
medical care, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to
show that jail officials were deliberately indifferent to a
serious medical need. Estelle v. Gamble. 429 U.S. 97,
105 (1976); Staples v. Va. Dep't of Corr.. 904
F.Supp. 487, 492 (E.D.Va. 1995). Thus, a plaintiff must
allege two distinct elements to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. First, he must allege a sufficiently
serious medical need. See, e.g.. Cooper v.
Dyke. 814 F.2d 941, 945 (4th Cir. 1987) (determining
that intense pain from an untreated bullet wound is
sufficiently serious); Loe v. Armistead. 582 F.2d
1291 (4th Cir. 1978) (concluding that the "excruciating
pain" of an untreated broken arm is sufficiently
serious). Second, he must allege deliberate indifference to
that serious medical need. Under this second prong, an
assertion of mere negligence or even malpractice is not
enough to state an Eighth Amendment violation; instead,
plaintiff must allege deliberate indifference "by either
actual intent or reckless disregard." Estelle.
429 U.S. at 106; Daniels v. Williams. 474 U.S. 327,
328 (1986); Miltier v.Beorn. 896 F.2d 848, 851 (4th
Cir. 1990). The prisoner must demonstrate that
defendants' actions were "[s]o grossly incompetent,
inadequate, or excessive as to shock the conscience or to be
intolerable to fundamental fairness." Id.
(citations omitted). Additionally, a prisoner's
disagreement with medical personnel over the course of his
treatment does not make out a cause of action. Wright v.
Collins. 766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir. 1985).
taking all of plaintiff s allegations as true, he fails to
state an actionable Eighth Amendment claim for the denial of
medical care. As to the first component of such a claim, a
condition is sufficiently serious to merit constitutional
protection if it is "a condition of urgency, one that
may produce death, degeneration, or extreme pain."
Hathaway v. Coughlin. 37 F.3d 63, 66 (2d
Cir. 1994). Several courts which have considered the issue
have determined that scabies is not a sufficiently serious
condition to warrant constitutional protection. In Allen
v. Gaskins. Case No. 08-1338, (D.S.C. Feb. 18, 2010),
plaintiff alleged that prison officials were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the
Eighth Amendment when they caused him to contract scabies by
assigning another inmate who had the infection as his
cellmate. In pertinent part, the court held:
As an initial matter, Allen has presented no evidence from
which a reasonable jury could find that his infection
presented a substantial risk to his health or safety. See
Farmer. 511 U.S. at 837 (stating that the prison
official must both be aware of facts from which the inference
could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm
exists, and he must also draw the inference.") Scabies
is non-life threatening skin condition caused by "[a]
contagious infestation of the skin with the itch mite."
Taber 's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 1945
(20th ed. 2005) (defining "scabies"). Its symptoms