United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Courtney Parker, Pro Se Plaintiff.
P. Jones United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Courtney Parker, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Parker
alleges that Virginia prison officials have disregarded his
safety and caused him injury through deliberate indifference
in connection with a vehicle accident. After review of
Parker's submissions, I conclude that this action must be
makes the following statement of facts on which he bases his
claims under § 1983:
On 05-11-16, between approximately 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., I
was being transferred from Keen Mountain Correctional Center.
. . . I was handcuffed and shackled to be transferred. . . .
I made a statement to the driver of the tansport [sic]
vehicle, (Defendant Keen), about the bus not having seat
belts, for which he stated that I will be “alright,
” that I “don't need no seat belt, I will
need a bag to throw up in though.” I reached my seat
and was sitting on the left side of the bus, the seat closest
to the aisle. During the transport, the bus came to an
instant stop, where I heard a hug [sic] crashing sound while
at the same time being thrown from my seat to the floor of
the bus, hitting my head and neck area on the metal part of
the seat attachment. After gathering myself from the
dizziness and pain I was feeling, I got up to look at what
happened and seen that the bus had ran into the back of a
parked van at Bland Correctional Center where we were
supposed to change transportation vehicles. After the
accident I instantly reported to the bus driver that I was
thrown from the seat and hit my head and neck on the landing.
I was told that I would be okay. I was then told to get off
the bus to change vehicles, and the driver of the . . . bus
simply left us there without reporting the accident or my
injuries. I then was put on the River North Correctional
Center bus where I instantly told that bus driver of what
happen and the pain I was feeling and was assured that I
would receive medical attention upon arrival at River North.
I suffered serious migranes [sic] and dizziness the entire
ride to River North Correctional Center where after I
arrived, I again reported my pain and the injuries I had
suffered from the bus accident. Medical staff eventually
spoke to me about the pain and what had happened and I was
given pain medication and an appointment to get an x-ray
taken. Ever since this incident, I have been having daily
migranes [sic] that are unbearable at times, constant pain in
my neck and back, and when I am asleep, if I am laying a
certain way, the whole right side of my body goes numb to the
point I cannot feel or move my arm or hand for long periods
after waking up. Since the accident I have been put on
ibuprofen and tydel, (a muscle relaxer), for the intense pain
I have been having.
Compl. 3-4, ECF No. 1. Parker alleges deliberate indifference
to his safety and his medical needs, in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. Specifically, he contends that Keen
Mountain Correctional Center staff caused the accident and
River North Correctional Center staff provided negligent
medical treatment because of the time it took them to treat
him after he reported his injuries to them. As defendants,
Parker names Officer Keen, D. Wells, and B. Walls,
Institutional Ombudsman. He seeks monetary and injunctive
1983 permits an aggrieved party to file a civil action
against a person for actions taken under color of state law
that violated his constitutional rights. See Cooper v.
Sheehan, 735 F.3d 153, 158 (4th Cir. 2013). Thus, a
§ 1983 plaintiff “must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official's own
individual actions, has violated the Constitution.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009).
“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.
Complaint mentions the names of defendants Wells and Walls
only in the heading of the Complaint form. Parker does not
state any facts concerning specific actions either of these
defendants undertook, personally, in violation of his
constitutional rights. Because Parker does not show that each
of these defendants, through his or her own “individual
actions [or inactions], has violated the Constitution”
or caused others to violate it, he fails to state any
actionable § 1983 claim against Wells and Walls.
Id. at 676. Accordingly, his § 1983 claims
against them must be dismissed under §
Complaint also states no constitutional claim against Officer
Keen for his actions. To state a prima facie § 1983
claim that a
prison condition[ ] violate[d] the Eighth Amendment, a
plaintiff must show both (1) a serious deprivation of a basic
human need; and (2) deliberate indifference to prison
conditions on the part of prison officials. . . . [T]he first
showing requires the court to determine whether the
deprivation of the basic human need was objectively
sufficiently serious, and the second requires it to determine
whether subjectively the officials acted with a
sufficiently culpable state of mind.
Strickler v. Waters, 989 F.2d 1375, 1379 (4th Cir.
1993) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). For
purposes of this opinion, I will assume from Parker's
allegations about his injuries in the bus accident and
seemingly related pain thereafter that he has stated a
sufficiently serious deprivation to satisfy the first facet
of the Eighth Amendment standard.
the second facet of that standard, however, Parker falls
short. In a conditions claim, a ‘“sufficiently
culpable state of mind'” requires demonstrating
deliberate indifference - by stating facts showing that the
defendant knew a particular action or condition presented a
substantial or excessive risk of serious harm and,
nevertheless, failed to take “reasonable
measures” to alleviate that risk. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 847 (1994) (citation
omitted). An official's merely negligent action is not
sufficient to give rise to a constitutional claim and,
accordingly, is not actionable under § 1983. See
Cty. of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 849 (1998)