Cohen v. Corizon Medical et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (See Full Order.) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's claims in his amended complaint against defendant Chastain, in his individual capacity, under the Eighth Amendment, are properly alleged pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's claims in his complaint against defendant Corizon are dismissed, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 2/16/2017. (CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CORIZON, LLC, et al.,
No. 4:16-CV-1343 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Before the Court is plaintiff’s amended complaint. Because plaintiff is currently an
inmate within the Missouri Department of Corrections and proceeding in forma pauperis in this
action, his amended complaint is subject to review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 for
frivolousness, maliciousness and for failure to state a claim. After reviewing the amended
complaint, the Court will dismiss plaintiff’s claims against defendant Corizon, LLC from this
Standard of Review
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions” and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. at 679. “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. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense. Id. at 679.
When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled
facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.
Plaintiff brings this action against defendants Corizon LLC and Dr. Charles Chastain
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights.
Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center
(“ERDCC”) in April 2014 when a doctor determined he needed knee replacement surgery.
Plaintiff was transferred to an outside hospital for the surgery, and Dr. Tony Chein performed the
surgery on April 22, 2014.
Plaintiff claims that within twenty-four (24) hours of his arrival at ERDCC after
discharge from the hospital, he needed a blood transfusion because of excessive bleeding.
Plaintiff asserts that from April through June of 2014, he suffered excessive bleeding and needed
additional blood transfusions. He claims that during this time period at ERDCC, he was under
the care of Dr. Charles Chastain. Plaintiff claims that during this time period he asked Dr.
Chastain, on several occasions, if he could be seen by a vascular specialist/vascular surgeon.
Plaintiff asserts that his requests were ignored or rejected by defendant Chastain. Plaintiff claims
that defendant Chastain did express concern that his knee could be infected, but defendant
Chastain took no action to address the continuous and excessive bleeding.
Plaintiff claims that in June of 2014 he was transferred to the Farmington Correctional
Center (“FCC”). Upon his arrival at FCC, plaintiff asserts that he was diagnosed with a serious
health condition and immediately taken to a hospital. Plaintiff claims that he was immediately
placed under the care of a vascular surgeon and subjected to surgery. He states that between July
of 2014 and October of 2014 he was subjected to three additional surgeries on his knee. HE
claims that in October of 2014, he had to have a second knee replacement on the same knee that
was operated on by Dr. Chien in April of 2014.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys fees, in this
Plaintiff has alleged an Eighth Amendment violation for denial of medical care against
both Dr. Charles Chastain, as well as Corizon, LLC. Plaintiff has also alleged a violation of
“respondeat superior” against defendant Corizon LLC. Defendant Chastain has been named in
this lawsuit in his individual capacity only.
To state a claim for medical mistreatment, plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to indicate
a deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976);
Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 175 (8th Cir. 1995). Allegations of mere negligence in
giving or failing to supply medical treatment will not suffice. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. In order
to show deliberate indifference, plaintiff must allege that he suffered objectively serious medical
needs and that defendants actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those needs. Dulany v.
Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997).
In order to state a claim against Corizon, plaintiff must allege that there was a policy,
custom or official action that caused an actionable injury. Sanders v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 984
F.2d 972, 975-76 (8th Cir. 1993).
Plaintiff has stated enough factual allegations to properly allege a claim against defendant
Chastain in his individual capacity under the Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference to
plaintiff’s serious medical needs. However, plaintiff has not alleged that there was a policy,
custom or official action by Corizon, LLC that caused an actionable injury against plaintiff; thus,
he has not stated an Eighth Amendment claim against defendant Corizon. It is not enough to
state that Corizon acted under “respondeat superior,” or by and through the aegis of Dr. Chastain,
as an entity cannot be held responsible under the theory of respondeat superior under § 1983
liability. See Sanders, 984 F.2d at 976; See also Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995)
(respondeat superior theory inapplicable in § 1983 suits).
The Court finds that the amended complaint states a plausible claim for relief under the
Eighth Amendment against defendant Dr. Chastain in his individual capacity.
against Corizon will be dismissed by separate order.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s claims in his amended complaint against
defendant Chastain, in his individual capacity, under the Eighth Amendment, are properly
alleged pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s claims in his complaint against defendant
Corizon are dismissed, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately.
Dated this 16th day of February, 2017.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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