United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge
Michael Duchelle Green, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Green alleges that after his shoulder was injured by a
sliding door, a jail doctor refused to see him for twenty
days. Having reviewed Green's submissions, the court
concludes that the action must be summarily dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
claims arose while he was incarcerated at the Amherst County
Adult Detention Center ("ACADC"). On May 1, 2018,
an ACADC employee closed a door on Green's left shoulder.
He alleges he was in severe pain for weeks thereafter. On May
9, 2018, he was moved to the medical unit because of his
"broken shoulder." Compl. 4, ECF No. 1. Dr.
Kazlauskas, a jail physician, examined Green on May 31, 2018.
Then, Green allegedly lay "in pain unable to move [his]
left arm." Id. He was told that he would see an
"Ortho," but was not given a time table for this
upcoming appointment. Id. Over the next twenty days,
Green filed five requests to see Dr. Kazlauskas, who
"refused." Id. On June 20, 2018, Green
filed an inmate request form to Capt. Rivers and Major
Schmitt. It was returned to him the next day, when he was
told that according to Major Schmitt, "inmates are not
allowed to file complaints." Id. Green then
filed this § 1983 action against Dr. Kazlauskas and the
ACADC "Medical Department," seeking $50, 000.
court takes judicial notice of additional information
relevant to Green's § 1983 claims in this action. He
filed an earlier § 1983 complaint concerning, in part,
the medical care he received at ACADC in May 2018, No.
7:18CV00247. His submissions in that case indicate the
following sequence of events. See gen. No.
718CV00247, ECF Nos. 1 and 3.
1, 2018, the day of Green's shoulder injury, a nurse
assessed him and noted no bruising, swelling, or open areas.
No. 7:18CV00247, ECF No. 1, at 3. Because he was complaining
of pain, however, the nurse started him on "[p]ain
protocol." Id. Green was seen by a nurse the
next day for the same complaints. The nurse then notified a
jail doctor, who referred Green to a specialist. On May 3,
2018, Green was transported to the local Orthopedic Center
and x-rays were taken. He was given an injection and a
prescription to treat "rotator cuff impingement" in
the left shoulder. Id.
ACADC, Green's pain complaints continued. A nurse
assessed him and restarted pain protocol on May 5, 2018. He
was moved to the medical unit on May 9, 2018, so staff could
monitor his pain. A jail doctor examined Green on May 14,
2018, and ordered an MRI of his shoulder. The MRI was
performed on May 29, 2018. On May 31, 2018, Dr. Kazlauskas
reviewed the results and referred Green to the Orthopedic
Center for follow up care.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1), the court must dismiss a
prisoner's civil action concerning 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 viable complaint must 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) (citing Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). To state a cause
of action under §1983, a plaintiff must establish that
he has been deprived of rights guaranteed by the Constitution
or laws of the United States and that this deprivation
resulted from conduct committed by a person acting under
color of state law. West v. Atkins. 487 U.S. 42,
initial matter, Green cannot pursue § 1983 claims
against the AC ADC Medical Department. The department, as a
group of people, is not a "person" subject to suit
under § 1983. See Vinnedee v. Gibbs. 550 F.2d
926, 928 (4th Cir. 1977) (finding that "liability will
only lie where it is affirmatively shown that the official
charged acted personally in the deprivation of the
plaintiff['s] rights"). Thus, the court must
summarily dismiss Green's claims against the department,
pursuant to § 1997e(c)(1), for failure to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted.
Green's allegations do not support a claim that Dr.
Kzlauskas or anyone on the medical staff at ACADC violated
his constitutional rights related to his medical needs. Only
"[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)). "[O]fficials
evince deliberate indifference by acting intentionally to
delay or deny the prisoner access to adequate medical care or
by ignoring an inmate's known serious medical
needs." Sharpe v. South Carolina Dept. of
Corrections. 621 Fed.Appx. 732, 733 (4th Cir. 2015)
(citations omitted). To prove deliberate indifference, Green
must show that the 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."
Jackson. 775 F.3d at 178 (citing Farmer.
511 U.S. at 837). This component requires proof of intent
beyond mere negligence, errors in judgment, inadvertent
oversights, or disagreements between doctor and patient about
the prisoner's treatment plan. See Estelle. 429
U.S. at 105-06 ("Medical malpractice does not become a
constitutional violation merely because the victim is a
prisoner."). "Questions of medical judgment are not
subject to judicial review." Russell v.
Sheffer, 528 F.2d 318, 319 (4th Cir. 1975).
submissions to the court in this case and No. 7:18CV00247 do
not indicate that anyone ignored his medical needs. He began
receiving medical care on the day he was injured. A nurse
assessed him and started pain medication. When his pain
continued, the nurse consulted a doctor, who referred Green
to an orthopedist. Two days after the injury occurred, the
specialist conducted X-rays, reached a diagnosis, and
provided particularized treatment for that condition: an
injection and prescriptions. Within the month, jail staff
moved Green to the medical unit to monitor and treat his
pain; the jail doctor ordered an MRI that was conducted two
weeks later; and the doctor then referred Green for follow up
care by the orthopedist. Green's claims reflect his
apparent belief that he should have had a follow up
examination by the orthopedist more quickly or that he should
have received different care at the jail than he received
between May 31 and June 21, 2018. During that time, he was
housed in the medical unit so that staff could monitor and
treat his condition. At the most, Green's allegations
amount to disagreements with the medical judgments made by
the doctors and nurses as to appropriate treatment and
timing. Green does not state facts showing deliberate
indifference by any of them.
stated reasons, the court concludes that Green's
submissions fail to state any constitutional claim against
the defendants. Therefore, the court will summarily dismiss
this case for failure to state a claim. An appropriate order
will enter this day.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion