Bonds v. Southern Health Partners, et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: 1) Plf Bonds's 42 U.S.C. § claims against the Campbell County Detention Center and Southern Health Partner's Inc., alleging violation of his rights under the Fist and Eighth Amendments of the U.S. Constitu tion are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; 2) Bonds's claim against the Campbell County Detention Center and Southern Health Partners, Inc., alleging violations of the ADA, are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE: Bond's claim against the Campbe ll County Detention Center and Southern Health Partners, Inc., alleging violations of the Ky Open Records Act, are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; 4) This proceeding is DISMISSED and Judgment will be ENTERED contemporaneously with this Memorandum Opinion and ORder in favor of the named Defs; 5) The Clerk of Court shall send a copy of (see a-b);.. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 4/6/2016.(ECO)cc: COR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
NORTHERN DIVISION AT COVINGTON
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS,
INC., et al.,
Civil Action No. 2:15-CV-209-WOB
Plaintiff Todd Bonds Todd Bonds is an inmate currently confined by the Kentucky
Department of Corrections (“KDOC”) at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex
located in LaGrange, Kentucky.1 Proceeding without an attorney, Bonds filed a 42
U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint [R.1] in which he asserts claims against the CCDC
and Southern Health Partners, Inc., (“SHP”) a corporate entity which provides healthcare
services to inmates confined in county and city correctional facilities.
http://southernhealthpartners.com/ (last visited on April 1, 2016).2 Bonds subsequently
When Bonds filed this action on December 15, 2015, he was confined in the Campbell County
Detention Center (“CCDC”), located in Newport, Kentucky. See R. 1; R. 1-2. Bonds has since filed three
separate Notices informing the Court of a change of address [R. 12; R. 15; and R. 16]. In his two most
recent Notices [R. 15; R. 16], Bonds stated that he was confined in the Roederer Correctional Complex, in
LaGrange, Kentucky, but the KDOC’s website states that Bonds is now confined in the Luther Luckett
Correctional Complex. See http://corrections.ky.gov/depts/AI/LLCC/Pages/default.aspx (last visited on
April 1, 2016).
Bonds later filed a First Amended Complaint [R. 5], a Second Amended Complaint [R. 8] and a Third
Amended Complaint [R. 11], in which he asserts additional federal claims against the CCDC and SHP.
filed a First Amended Complaint [R. 5], a Second Amended Complaint [R. 8], and a
Third Amended Complaint [R. 11], in which he asserts additional federal claims against
the CCDC and SHP.
Bonds’s primary complaint is that while he was confined in the
CCDC, he was denied proper medication for his diabetes condition in violation of his
rights guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but Bonds also
claims that defendants retaliated against him for questioning the medication administered
to him. By separate Order, Bonds has been granted in forma pauperis status. [R. 18]
The Court has conducted a preliminary review of Bonds’s complaint and amended
complaints because he asserts claims against government officials, and because he has
been granted pauper status. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a); 1915A. In such cases, a district court
must dismiss any action which: (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2); 1915A(b)(1). Because Bonds is
proceeding pro se, the Court liberally construes his claims and accepts his factual
allegations as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). But as explained below, Bonds has not alleged a
claim upon which relief can be granted as to the federal claims which he has asserted, and
those claims will be dismissed with prejudice. Bonds’s pendant state law claims will be
dismissed without prejudice to his right to assert those claims in state court.
In his original complaint [R. 1], Bonds alleges that “…his rights regarding
prescription medication” were violated at the CCDC; that he has a fear of needles and is
unable prick his finger to perform glucose-level tests; and that the defendants “refused to
honor” his diabetic condition and prescribe him medication for the condition. [R. 1, p. 2,
¶¶ 3-6] Bonds states that on November 20, 2015, he was placed on suicide watch
because he asked questions about a drug being administered to him and because he
refused to take a medication with which he was unfamiliar. [Id.] Bonds also claims that
he was subjected to humiliation, intimidation, retaliation, and abuse, from both medical
and correctional staff. [Id., ¶ 3]
Bonds’s allegations that he was denied necessary medical treatment and/or
medication fall under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits
cruel and unusual punishment. Bonds’s claim alleging retaliation falls under the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Bonds seeks an order requiring jails to allow all
inmates to inquire about their medical treatment/medications without fear of retaliation,
and $7.5 million in compensatory damages from the defendants. [Id., p. 2, ¶ 4; ¶ 7]
In his First Amended Complaint [R. 5], Bonds reiterated the claims set forth in his
original complaint, but provided more details about the claims. Bonds stated that on
November 18, 2015, he was arrested and taken to the CCDC; that at the time, he was
being treated for high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes; and that because he was afraid
of needles, he refused to prick his finger to perform his own blood-sugar test. [R. 5, p. 2]
Bonds alleges that on November 20, 2015, a nurse whom he identified as either “Anette”
or “Ursula” refused to conduct his blood-sugar test for him, and told Bonds that
“…inmates are required to ‘prick’ themselves by the CCDC policy.” [Id., pp. 2-3]
Bonds alleges that this particular nurse asked three CCDC deputy jailers to put him in an
isolation cell because he refused to obey her order to prick his own finger (for the bloodsugar test), but that the deputies refused to comply with her request because they
concluded that he had been a “victim” of a “hoax” by SHP. [Id., p. 3]
that he was denied medical treatment until he started having vision problems and started
seeing “spots,” which he described as a side-effect from his diabetes condition. [Id.]
Bonds alleges that he submitted several written requests to receive treatment for
his diabetic condition; that all of his requests were denied, see id.; that in late December
2015 and early January 2016, Nurses “Hope” and “Marissa” tried to get him to sign an
unidentified statements that were “back-dated” to the date of his arrest of November
2015, but that he refused to do so. [Id., pp. 3-4] Bonds alleges that in December 2015,
he submitted several written requests to the CCDC’s “administration offices” under the
Kentucky Open Records Act, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 61.870 et seq., (“KORA”) in which
he requested (1) information about “beginning salaries of correctional officers,” and (2)
copies of the CCDC’s documents which mentioned him (Bonds) in any respect (medical
requests, grievances, e-mails). [Id., p. 6] Bonds alleges but that CCDC officials ignored
his open records requests, and have therefore violated his rights the KORA.
Bonds alleges that when he asked questions about a drug (with which he was
unfamiliar) being administered to him, the CCDC retaliated against him by placing him
in a suicide dress and/or placing him in isolation under a suicide watch on December 26,
2015. [Id., pp. 8-10] Bonds alleges that a CCDC deputy told him that he should sue the
CCDC because its actions against him were wrong. [Id., p. 9] Bonds’s § 1983 claim
alleging the denial of proper medical treatment falls under the Eighth Amendment and his
claim alleging retaliation falls under the First Amendment. [Id., p. 10] Bonds also
alleges that the defendants violated his rights guaranteed under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (“ADA”).
In his Second Amended Complaint [R. 8], Bonds broadly alleges SHP humiliated
and retaliated against him with “malicious and willful intent.” [Id., p. 1] Bonds further
alleges that on January 12, 2016, he was called to the mail-room of the CCDC to collect
three pieces of incoming mail, one of which was the January 7, 2016, Deficiency Order
from this Court; that all three pieces of his incoming mail had been opened outside of his
presence, including the Deficiency Order; and that he complained to CCDC Deputy
Hickey about the opening of his incoming legal mail. [Id., p. 2] According to Bonds,
Deputy Hickey inquired about the opening of the envelope from this Court, but explained
to him that “…the lady in charge of mail is a relative of ‘CCDC’ employee Major Nagel,
and the lady ‘couldn’t tell’ that the letter was legal mail.” [Id.] Bonds’s claim that a
CCDC mailroom employee opened his incoming legal mail falls under the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees access to the courts.
In his Third Amended Complaint [R. 11], Bonds reiterates that the CCDC medical
staff refused to “aid” him in taking his blood-sugar tests, and that on January 19, 2016,
Nurse “Roberta” informed him that his Type 2 Diabetes medication had been switched
from Metformin to another unidentified drug because of the results from his second blood
test, and because Metformin was too hard on the kidneys. [Id., pp. 2-3] Bonds claims
that prior to arriving at the CCDC, he had experienced no kidney problems from taking
Metformin. [Id.] Based on these alleged events, Bonds claims that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. In addition to his earlier requests for relief, Bonds also seeks an order
terminating the SHP “staffers” (whom he identifies as Nurses “Annette,” “Ursula,”
“Marissa,” “Krista,” and “Leslie”) and revoking their medical credentials. [Id., p. 4]
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that a party may amend its
pleading once as a matter of course within: (A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) if the
pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a
responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f),
whichever is earlier. Otherwise a party may amend the party's pleading only by leave of
court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when
justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Bonds did not seek leave of Court before
filing either his Second or Third Amended Complaints, but even so, the decision whether
to permit amendment is committed to the discretion of the trial court. Lucas v. Schneider
Nat’l Carriers, Inc., 953 F.2d 644, slip copy at *5 (6th Cir.1992) (unpublished). The
Court will exercise its discretion and screen all of Bonds’s amended complaints.
1. CLAIMS ASSERTED UNDER 42 U.S.C. § 1983
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a
right secured by the federal Constitution or laws, and he must show that the deprivation
was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42,
48, (1988); Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). Because §
1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify the specific constitutional right
allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
As discussed, Bonds
alleges that the defendants retaliated against him and improperly opened his incoming
legal mail in violation of his First Amendment rights, and that they denied him necessary
medical treatment, in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.
Bonds has named the CCDC as one of two defendants in this action. The § 1983
claims which Bonds asserts against the CCDC suffer from a fatal defect, however,
because jails and detention centers are buildings in which prisoners are held; neither can
be considered “persons” subject to suit under § 1983. Monell v. Dep't of Social Serv.,
436 U.S. 658, 688-90 (1978); Marbry v. Corr. Med. Servs., No. 99-6706, 2000 WL
1720959, at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 6, 2000) (“[T]he Shelby County Jail is not an entity subject
to suit under § 1983.” (citing Rhodes v. McDannel, 945 F.2d 117, 120 (6th Cir. 1991)));
Cage v. Kent Cnty. Corr. Facility, No. 96-1167, 1997 WL 225647, at *1 (6th Cir. May 1,
1997) (“The district court also properly found that the jail facility named as a defendant
was not an entity subject to suit under § 1983.”).
To the extent that Bonds’s submissions are broadly construed to include § 1983
claims against the governing body of Campbell County, presumably the Campbell
County Fiscal Court, his First and Eighth Amendment claims fare no better. When a §
1983 claim is asserted (or construed as being asserted) against a municipality, a district
court must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether the plaintiff's harm was caused by a
constitutional violation; and (2) if so, whether the municipality is responsible for that
violation. Collins v. City of Harker Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). Bonds
alleges that numerous nurses (whom he partially identified by name) employed by SHP
either refused to provide him with specific diabetes treatment, and/or that they
unnecessarily delayed in treating his high blood pressure and diabetes. Bonds further
claims that specific CCDC officials retaliated against him and opened his incoming mail
outside of his presence in violation of his First Amendment rights.
Bonds does not, however, allege that the Campbell County Fiscal Court had an
policy or custom which was the moving force behind the alleged actions, or inactions,
about which he complains. Absent such an allegation, a local government entity cannot
be held liable under § 1983 based on the theory of respondeat superior for harm or injury
inflicted solely by its employees. Monell, 436 U.S. at 611. Liability under § 1983
against a political subdivision may attach only where the “execution of a government's
policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may
fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury” about which the plaintiff
complains. Id. ; see also Berry v. City of Detroit, 25 F.3d 1342, 1345 (6th Cir. 1994)
Put another way, to prevail on a § 1983 claim against a municipality, the plaintiff
must “identify the policy, connect the policy to the [local government] itself and show
that the particular injury was incurred because of the execution of that policy.” Coogan
v. City of Wixom, 820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir. 1987). The local government policy or
custom must be the “moving force” behind the behind the violation of the plaintiff’s
constitutional rights. Board of Cnty. Commrs. of Bryan Cnty. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397,
405 (1997); see also Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 823 (1985) (explaining that
there must be an “affirmative link between the policy and the particular constitutional
violation alleged”); Bennett v. City of Eastpointe, 410 F.3d 810, 818-19 (6th Cir. 2005).
The only policy which Bonds has attributed to the CCDC is a policy pursuant to
which inmates who have diabetes must “prick” themselves with a needle, i.e., the diabetic
inmates conduct their own blood glucose-level tests. [R. 1, pp. 5-6] Bonds challenges
this policy on the grounds that he is afraid of needles, and because it is contrary to his
personal practice of having someone else prick his finger to ascertain his blood glucose
level. Even accepting as true Bonds’s allegation that the CCDC does in fact follow a
policy which requires its diabetic inmates to prick their own finger (and hence conduct
their own blood glucose-level tests), such a policy could hardly be considered as one that
promotes, condones, or effectuates harmful conduct or deliberate indifference in violation
of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Here, Bonds simply alleges that the alleged policy deprived him of the ability to
receive the specific type of medical care he deemed necessary to treat his condition at
that specific time: to wit, having someone else, such as a nurse, prick his finger and
conduct his glucose-level testing. Mere disagreement with the nature of one’s medical
treatment is not sufficient, standing alone, to constitute deliberate indifference to a
serious medical need.
See Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 850 (6th Cir. 1976);
Alberson v. Norris, 458 F.3d 762, 765–66 (8th Cir. 2006). Bonds fails to set forth facts
indicating that the alleged harm that he suffered was caused by an unconstitutional policy
statement, ordinance, regulation, by a decision officially adopted and promulgated by the
entity’s officers, or by a municipal custom.
Bonds’s § 1983 claims against SHP suffer from the same defect as his claims
against the CCDC. The municipal-liability law concepts discussed above apply to § 1983
claims against a private corporation like SHP.3 See Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102
F.3d 810, 818 (6th Cir. 1996) (“Monell involved a municipal corporation, but every
circuit to consider the issue has extended the holding to private corporations as well.”).
“A private corporation is not liable under § 1983 for torts committed by its employees
when such liability is predicated solely upon a theory of respondeat superior.” Austin v.
The Sixth Circuit has held that a private entity which contracts with the state to perform a traditional
state function such as providing medical services to prison inmates may be sued under § 1983 as one
acting under color of state law. Hicks v. Frey, 992 F.2d 1450, 1458 (6th Cir. 1993). Thus, to the extent
that Bonds alleges that the SHP has contracted with the CCDC to provide medical services to its inmates,
the Court presumes that SHP is a state actor.
Paramount Parks, Inc., 195 F.3d 715, 728 (4th Cir. 1999). Rather, a private corporation
which contracts with a municipal governing body is liable under § 1983 only when an
official policy or custom of the corporation causes the alleged deprivation of federal
rights. Street, 102 F.3d at 817. Liability must be based on a policy or custom of the
contracted private entity or “the inadequacy of [an employee’s] training.” Id.; Starcher v.
Corr. Med. Sys., Inc., 7 F. App’x 459, 465 (6th Cir. 2001) (“CMS’s [Correctional
Medical Systems, Inc.,] liability must also be premised on some policy that caused a
deprivation of [plaintiff’s] Eighth Amendment rights.”).
To the extent that Bonds is alleging that SHP had or followed a policy that
requires inmates to prick their own finger and thus conduct their own glucose-level tests,
and that he disagreed with that policy, he fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. A prisoner is entitled to medical care, but that concept does not mean, however,
that a prisoner is constitutionally entitled to a specific type of medical care which
comports with his personal preferences and practices. Westlake, 537 F.2d at 860.
Bonds alleges that specific nurses employed by SHP denied him medical treatment
and/or unreasonably delayed in providing him with medical treatment, but Bonds does
not allege that denial of and/or delay in receiving medical treatment by these specific
SHP nurses resulted from a specific corporate custom or policy which SHP implemented.
Again, as in the arena of governmental municipal liability, a private corporation which
contracts with a governmental body to provide a service, such as medical treatment for
inmates, is not vicariously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior for the actions
of its employees. See Patton v. Kentucky, No. 1:12CV-P86-M, 2012 WL 3096618, at *2
(W.D. Ky. Jul. 30, 2012) (dismissing claims against SHP where prisoner plaintiff failed
to allege that a policy or custom was the “moving force” behind the alleged Eighth
Amendment violations); Spradlin v. Osborne, No. 4:10CV-P88-M, 2010 WL 3069072, at
*1 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 3, 2010) (same) (citing Austin, 195 F.3d at 728); Crouch v. Southern
Health Partners, Inc., 2009 WL 860414, at *4 (W.D. Ky. Mar. 27, 2009) (dismissing §
1983 claims against SHP because the plaintiff asserted no claims of wrongdoing against
SHP itself, and because liability against SHP under § 1983 could not be premised on the
doctrine of respondeat superior or vicarious liability); Morton v. Daviess County
Detention Center, No. 4:08CV-P30-M, 2009 WL 960495, at *5 (W.D. Ky. Apr. 7, 2009)
(“Plaintiff's complaint is devoid of any allegations that an official policy or custom of
Southern Health Partners, Inc. was the moving force behind any employee's alleged
deprivation of Plaintiff's civil rights.”) Bonds’s § 1983 claims against SHP will therefore
be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
2. CLAIMS ASSERTED UNDER THE ADA
In his Second Amended Complaint, Bonds alleges that the defendants violated the
ADA. Bonds’s allegation on this point is not a model of clarity, but he appears to be
claiming that his diabetes, and/or his fear of needles and resulting inability to prick his
finger to conduct a glucose-level test, qualified as disabilities under the ADA.
Under Title II of the ADA, “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by
reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of
the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination
by any such entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132. See generally, Mingus v. Butler, 591 F.3d 474,
481–84 (6th Cir. 2010) (discussing Title II of the ADA in the context of prisoner
litigation). However, Bonds’s ADA claims lack merit and must be dismissed.
First, the ADA and Rehabilitation Act [29 U.S.C. § 794] afford disabled persons
legal rights regarding access to programs and activities enjoyed by all, but these statutes
do not provide a general federal cause of action to challenge the sufficiency of the
medical treatment of their underlying disabilities. Carrion v. Wilkinson, 309 F. Supp.2d
1007, 1016 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 10, 2004). Carrion was consistent with the conclusions
reached by several other circuit courts of appeals which had addressed the issue. See
Bryant v. Madigan, 84 F.3d 246, 249 (7th Cir. 1996) (concluding that the ADA would not
be violated by a prison’s failure to address the medical needs of its disabled prisoners and
that the statute “does not create a remedy for medical malpractice”); Burger v.
Bloomberg, 418 F.3d 882, 883 (8th Cir. 2005) (holding that an RA and/or an ADA claim
cannot be based on medical treatment decisions); Fitzgerald v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 403
F.3d 1134, 1144 (10th Cir. 2005) (inmate’s claims under RA and ADA were properly
dismissed for failure to state claim as they were based on medical treatment decisions.).4
See also Thomas v. Pa. Dep’t of Corr., 615 F.Supp.2d 411, 429 (W.D. Pa. 2009) (plaintiff's requests for
a handicap cell that were denied based on a medical determination that they were not warranted did not
support discriminatory treatment in violation of Title II of the ADA); Redding v. Hanlon, No. 06-4575
(DWF/RLE), 2008 WL 762078, at *16 (D. Minn. Mar. 19, 2008) (dismissing inmate’s ADA claim where
the plaintiff alleged that the defendants had denied him the single cell accommodation ordered by his
doctor, not that he had been denied access to any service or program).
In Carrion, the prisoner-plaintiff alleged that he had been denied medical
treatment in the form a proper diet which conformed to his diabetic needs, and that the
denial of the diet violated the ADA. The district court rejected Carrion’s ADA claim,
stating that it was “…not the type[ ] of claim[ ] that the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act
were intended to cover.” Id. at *7 (citing Galvin v. Cook, No. CV 00-29-ST, 2000 WL
1520231, at *6 (D. Or. Oct. 3, 2000), in which the district court rejected a diabetic
inmate’s ADA claim). Numerous district courts have followed Carrion’s holding that the
ADA does not provide a plaintiff with general federal cause of action for challenging the
medical treatment associated with his or her underlying disability. Kensu v. Rapelje, No.
12-11877, 2015 WL 5302816, at *4 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 10, 2015) (“Defendant’s conduct
in response to Kensu’s requests for dietary accommodation was medical treatment. The
ADA does not provide relief for alleged incompetent treatment.”); Johnson v. Swibas,
No. 14-CV-2258-BNB, 2014 WL 5510930, at *3 (D. Colo. Oct. 31, 2014) (“Johnson’s
allegation that he was denied a single cell accommodation for his paruresis…challenges a
medical determination, which does not implicate the ADA.”); VanDaalen v. Travis, No.
CV 12-642-PHX-RCB (ECV), 2012 WL 3257583, at *5 (D. Ariz. Aug. 8, 2012)
(“Plaintiff appears to be raising claims under the ADA and RA regarding his medical
care…. He cannot do so.”) Hardy v. Diaz, No. 9:08-CV-1352 (GLS/ATB), 2010 WL
1633379, at *9 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2010) (“Plaintiff in this case is only challenging the
medical treatment of his underlying medical condition. Therefore, he cannot proceed
under either the ADA or the RA.”). Thus, Bonds’s ADA claim challenging the medical
treatment which he received at the CCDC fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted and must be dismissed.
Second, even assuming that the ADA provided Bonds with substantive a cause of
action, Bonds does not meet the standing criteria of the ADA statutes. Under Title II of
the ADA (42 U.S.C. § 12132), a plaintiff must establish that: (1) he or she has a
disability; (2) he or she is otherwise qualified; and (3) he or she is being excluded from
participation in, being denied the benefits of, or being subjected to discrimination under
the program solely because of his or her disability. Dillery v. City of Sandusky, 398 F.3d
562, 567 (6th Cir. 2005). Thus, Bonds must first demonstrate that he has a disability,
which the ADA defines as:
(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more
of the major life activities of such individual;
(B) a record of such an impairment; or
(C) being regarded as having such an impairment.
42 U.S.C. § 12102(2).
According to the ADA regulations, an individual is “substantially limited” in
performing a major life activity if he is either: (1) unable to perform a major life activity
that the average person in the general population can perform (e.g., walking), or (2)
significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which she can
perform a particular major life activity as compared to the condition, manner, or duration
under which the average person in the general population can perform that same major
life activity (e.g., being able to walk only for brief periods of time). 29 C.F.R. §
1630.2(j)(1)(i)-(ii). Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual
tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting,
bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating,
interacting with others, and working. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i)(1)(i).5 Major life activities
also include the operation of a major bodily function, including functions of the immune
system, special sense organs and skin; normal cell growth; and digestive, genitourinary,
bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine,
hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions.
29 C.F.R. §
Broadly construing Bonds’s submissions, Bonds appears to be alleging either that
his diabetes and/or his aversion to needles counts as disabilities under the ADA.
Diabetes qualifies as a physical impairment, but it does not, per se, qualify as a disability
under the ADA. See Salim v. MGM Grand Detriot, L.L.C., 106 F. App’x 454, 459 (6th
Cir. 2004) (citing Nawrot v. CPC Int’l, 277 F.3d 896, 903 (7th Cir. 2002)). One court has
concluded that based on a very limited and specific set of facts, trypanophobia (also
known as “needle-phobia”) could qualify as a disability.
See Stevens v. Rite Aid
Corporation, No. 6:13-CV-783, 2015 WL 5602949, at *6 (N.D.N.Y Sept. 23, 2015).6
Thinking also has been held to be a major life activity. Taylor v. Phoenixville Sch. Dist., 184 F.3d 296,
307 (3d Cir. 1999).
Stevens involved an employment discrimination claim brought under the ADA; the plaintiff was a
pharmacist who worked for the Rite Aid pharmacy company until he was discharged in August 2011. Id.
But an ADA plaintiff must show more than a physical impairment; he or she must allege
and demonstrate that the identified disability substantially limits one or more of his or her
major life activities. 42 U.S.C. § 12012(2); Salim, 106 F. App’x at 459. Bonds does not,
however, allege facts indicating either that his diabetic condition or his phobia of needles
substantially limit one or more of his major life activities.
Even assuming that Bonds had met the first two elements of an ADA claim, by
demonstrating that either of his conditions counted as disabilities and that he is
“otherwise qualified” to participate in “services, programs, or activities” (in this case,
receiving a diabetic treatment), Bonds has not satisfied the third requirement, which
requires a plaintiff to allege that he is being excluded from receiving proper medical
treatment (for either of his conditions) because of his alleged disabilities, or, put another
way, that he was discriminated against because of his alleged disabilities.
Here, Bonds merely alleges that in numerous instances, he was denied proper
medical treatment for his diabetes, a claim which falls squarely under the Eighth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
As previously discussed, that allegation is
insufficient under the ADA. See Carrion, 309 F. Supp.2d at 1016 (dismissing claims by
prisoner with diabetes that he was denied medical treatment because they are not the type
of claim that the ADA and the RA were intended to cover); Stevenson v. Pramstaller, No.
07-14040, 2008 WL 5085145, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 2, 2008) (Report and
Recommendation to grant summary judgment on ADA claim because prisoner alleged
at *1. Rite Aid required its pharmacists to administer injections for immunizations, but Stevens alleged
that he could not administer injections because he suffered from trypanophobia (needle phobia). Id.
incompetent medical treatment, not that he was being excluded from a prison service,
program or activity, or of discrimination based on his disability); Stevenson v.
Pramstaller No. 07-14040, 2009 WL 804748 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 24, 2009) (adopting
Report and Recommendation and granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment).
Bonds’s Eighth Amendment claims against both of the named defendants (the CCDC and
SHP) fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
For these additional reasons, Bonds’s ADA allegations will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
3. CLAIMS ASSERTED UNDER THE KORA
Bonds alleges that the defendants have violated state law by ignoring, or refusing
to respond to, his open records request under KORA. The Court has dismissed Bonds’s
federal claims (under 42. U.S.C. § 1983 and the ADA), thus leaving Bonds’s pendant
state law claim alleging violations of the KORA as the sole surviving claim. A district
court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state-law claims once it has
dismissed all claims over which it possessed original jurisdiction. Gibbs v. Montgomery
County Agricultural Society, 140 F. Supp.2d 835, 845 (6th Cir. 2001); Saglioccolo v.
Eagle Ins. Co., 112 F.3d 226, 233 (6th Cir. 1997). Indeed, the Sixth Circuit has
recognized that if all federal claims are dismissed before trial, remaining state-law claims
generally should be dismissed as well. Saglioccolo, 112 F.3d at 233; see also Taylor v.
First of Am. Bank-Wayne, 973 F.2d 1284, 1287 (6th Cir. 1992). Consistent with that
principle, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Bonds’s state law
claims alleging violations of the KORA. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(2). Bonds is free to
pursue his KORA claims in state court.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that:
Plaintiff Todd Bonds’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims against the Campbell
County Detention Center and Southern Health Partners, Inc., alleging violation of his
rights under the First and Eighth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, are DISMISSED
WITH PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Bonds’s claims against the Campbell County Detention Center and
Southern Health Partners, Inc., alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12132, are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.
Bonds’s claims against the Campbell County Detention Center and
Southern Health Partners, Inc., alleging violations of the Kentucky Open Records Act,
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 61.870 et seq, are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to
Bonds’s right to assert those claims in state court.
This proceeding is DISMISSED and Judgment will be ENTERED
contemporaneously with this Memorandum Opinion and Order in favor of the named
The Clerk of the Court shall send a copy of (a) this Memorandum Opinion
and Order, and (b) the Payment Order entered on March 31, 2016 [R. 18], to Bonds at his
address of record and to the following address: Todd Bonds, KDOC # 280660, Luther
Luckett Correctional Complex, Dawkins Road, Box 6, LaGrange, Kentucky, 40031.
This April 6, 2016.
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