United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Glen E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge.
William Gibson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
the Western Virginia Regional Jail Authority ("the jail
authority"). Gibson alleges that (1) when he asked for
medical treatment of his Hepatitis C, a nurse practitioner at
the jail told him that his lab results were normal, but
refused to show him those results or to arrange for him to
seek "help from outside the jail"; and (2)
officials have not allowed him to utilize the grievance
procedure. (Compl. 2, ECF No. 1.) As relief, he seeks
monetary damages. Upon review of the complaint, the court
concludes that Gibson has not stated any viable § 1983
claim and, therefore, will dismiss this case without
28 U.S.C. § 1915(A)(b)(1), the court must dismiss any
§ 1983 action "with respect to prison conditions .
.. if the court is satisfied that the action is frivolous,
malicious, [or] fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted." A complaint must be dismissed if it does
not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face." Giarratano v.
Johnson. 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Therefore, a plaintiff must "allege facts
sufficient to state all the elements of [the] claim."
Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d
761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003).
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). To prove
that a governmental entity, such as a local jail authority,
is liable under § 1983 for constitutional violations
committed by its employees, the plaintiff must show that the
entity's policy was "the moving force of the
constitutional violation." Polk County v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981). "Local governing
bodies . . . can be sued directly under §1983 for
monetary, declaratory, or injunctive relief where ... the
action that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or
executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or
decision officially adopted and promulgated by that
body's officers." Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Serv.. 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978).
Gibson states no facts linking the alleged denial of medical
care where he is presently confined to a specific policy or
decision "officially adopted" by the governing body
of the jail authority. Therefore, he fails to state an
actionable claim against this entity, the only defendant that
he has properly identified in the heading of his complaint.
Accordingly, the court must summarily dismiss this action
without prejudice under § 1915A(b)(1).
addition to the jail authority, Gibson lists several names in
the body of his complaint who are not clearly identified as
defendants: Major A. Trent, Captain C. Keller, Amanda Doss
("head of medical"), Amy Bremet Robinson (physician
assistant), Lisa Ferguson (nurse), and Sergeant J.
Kenney. Because Gibson does not have assistance
from an attorney in filing this action, the court could
construe his submission as attempting to state claims against
these individuals. His allegations, however, do not state any
actionable § 1983 claim against anyone.
"[d]eliberate indifference to an inmate's serious
medical needs constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under
the Eighth Amendment." Jackson v. Lightsey, 775
F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976)). Objectively, the
inmate's medical condition must be "serious" in
the sense that it "has been diagnosed by a physician as
mandating treatment or ... is so obvious that even a lay
person would easily recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention." Id. To prove
deliberate indifference, Gibson must show that, subjectively,
each defendant prison official had "actual . . .
knowledge of both the inmate's serious medical condition
and the excessive risk posed by the official's [own]
action or inaction." Id. at 178 (citing
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994)). This
component requires proof of intent beyond mere negligence,
errors in judgment, inadvertent oversights, or disagreements
about the prisoner's treatment plan. Id. A
prison official is "deliberately indifferent" if he
"knows of and disregards [or responds unreasonably to]
an excessive risk to inmate health or safety."
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837.
fails to state facts showing that anyone at the jail acted
with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. While
Hepatitis C itself is a serious disease, Gibson does not
allege that any doctor, in the past or recently, has
diagnosed his current stage of this disease as mandating
treatment at this time. Indeed, he does not describe any
symptoms from which anyone could have known that treatment
was necessary. Thus, Gibson fails to allege facts stating any
actionable Eighth Amendment claim against any of the
jail's medical staff.
prison personnel are entitled to rely on the medical judgment
and expertise of the medical professionals charged with an
inmate's treatment, as to whether the medical evaluation
and treatment provided were appropriate to meet that
inmate's current medical needs. See Shakka v.
Smith. 71 F.3d 162, 167 (4th Cir. 1995). It is not the
function of these prison administrators, or the court, to
second guess the good faith treatment decisions of the
jail's medical staff. Id. The administrators
themselves "cannot be liable for the medical staffs
diagnostic decisions" and, indeed, "cannot
substitute their judgment for a medical professional's
prescription." Melov v. Bachmeier, 302 F.3d
845, 849 (8th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). Therefore, the
court is satisfied that Gibson fails to state any § 1983
claim against any supervisory official regarding his medical
care at the jail.
Gibson has no viable claim under § 1983 against jail
officers for refusing to provide him access to the grievance
procedures. See Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th
Cir. 1994) ("[T]he Constitution creates no entitlement
to grievance procedures or access to any such procedure
voluntarily established by a state."). Thus, the court
must summarily dismiss any such claim in this action.
reasons stated, the court concludes that Gibson's
submissions do not state any claim of constitutional
significance actionable under § 1983. Therefore, the
court will dismiss the action without prejudice, pursuant to
 Gibson states that Keller and Kenney
told him that "if [he] pursue to file a 1983 [he] will
blow [his] foot off and they will not allow [him to go
through the ...