United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge
Marcus Adam Ashby, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se, filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging denial of adequate medical care in
jail. After review of the record, the court concludes that
the action must be summarily dismissed for failure to state a
an inmate at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Haysi,
Virginia, alleges the following sequence of events on which
he bases his § 1983 claim. Ashby developed an ingrown
toenail that became “extremely irritated and
infected.” Compl. 2, ECF No. 1. Over a six-month
period, he was provided “every infection pill[, but]
nothing helped.” Id. He was also prescribed
ten days of “foot soaks” with the help of a night
nurse; after the third soak, the nurse told him “they
aren't going to do anything for it [so] deal with it and
no I'm not putting you on the dr [sic] list.”
Id. Ashby did not receive any more foot soaks.
Id. at 3. On October 21, 2019, “they cut the
ingrown [toenail] out.” Id.
filed this § 1983 action that same week, naming the jail
and Steven Clear as defendants. As relief, he asks for
monetary compensation and a transfer to a facility that
provides proper medical treatment.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), the court is required to review
prisoner complaints for compliance with the basic rules of
pleading, and during this review, must either identify a
claim in the complaint on which relief may be granted or
summarily dismiss the complaint. A viable complaint must
allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Giarrantano v.
Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
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, 48 (1988). One of the defendants Ashby has named,
the jail, does not qualify as a person subject to being sued
under § 1983. See, e.g., McCoy v.
Chesapeake Corr. Ctr., 788 F.Supp. 890, 893-94 (E.D. Va.
1992). Thus, the court must dismiss Ashby's claims
against the jail.
the other defendant Ashby identifies, Steven Clear, is a
person who might be sued under § 1983, Ashby fails to
state any § 1983 claim against this individual for
another reason: he does not describe any conduct by Clear
that deprived him of constitutional rights. To hold an
official liable under § 1983, the plaintiff must state
facts that affirmatively show how the officer acted
personally to deprive the plaintiff of constitutional rights.
Vinnedge v. Gibbs, 550 F.2d 926, 928 (4th Cir.
1977). Even assuming Clear is a supervisory official at the
Haysi facility, a supervisor cannot be held automatically or
vicariously liable for the actions of his employees.
Id. Moreover, supervisory officials without medical
expertise may rightfully rely on the medical diagnoses and
treatment prescribed for an inmate by the jail's medical
staff. Shakka v. Smith, 71 F.3d 162, 167 (4th Cir.
1995). Because the complaint fails to state facts showing
that Clear violated Ashby's constitutional rights, the
court will summarily dismiss this case without prejudice
under § 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted.Dismissal without prejudice leaves
Ashby with the option to refile his § 1983 claims in a
new and separate civil action, provided that he corrects the
noted deficiencies. An appropriate order will enter this day.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to the plaintiff.
 In any event, the court is also
satisfied that Ashby has not stated facts to support a §
1983 claim against anyone at the jail based on the medical
care he received there. Only a prison official's
deliberate indifference to an inmate's serious medical
needs violates the Eighth Amendment. See Estelle v.
Gamble. 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976). To state such a claim,
the plaintiff must show, objectively, that his medical need
was serious and, subjectively, that the defendant prison
official was "deliberately indifferent"-that he
"kn[ew] of and disregarded] an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety," or responded unreasonably to such a
risk. Farmer v. Brennan. 511 U.S. 825, 834-37
(1994). A claim concerning a mere disagreement between an
inmate and medical personnel over the appropriate diagnosis
and course of treatment does not implicate the Eighth
Amendment. Wright v. Collins. 766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th
Cir. 1985). Questions of medical judgment are not subject to
judicial review under § 1983. Russell v.
Sheffer. 528 F.2d 318 (4th Cir. 1975).
Ashby fails to allege that anyone at the jail ignored
his medical needs. On the contrary, his complaint indicates
that jail officials provided him with various medications to
treat the infection, foot soaks to address his pain, and
ultimately, a surgical procedure to remove the ingrown
toenail itself. Ashby believes that the medical staff should
have removed the nail sooner. His mere disagreement with the
medical judgments of the doctors or nurses as to the type and
timing of treatments provided does not show that any of these
individuals acted ...