Cohen v. Corizon Medical et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER (See Full Order). IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. # 2 ] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.90 within thirty (30) d ays of the date of this Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance payable to "Clerk, United States District Court," and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison registration number; (3) the case number; and (4) that th e remittance is for an original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on defendants Corizon, Inc., and Dr. Charles Chastain pursuant to the service agreement the Court maintains with Corizon, Inc. Corizon s hall be served in its official capacity only. Dr. Chastain shall be served in both his official and individual capacity. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants Dr. Unknown Chein and Medical Device Supplier are DISMISSED without prejudice. An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 10/11/16. (EAB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CORIZON MEDICAL, et al.,
No. 4:16-CV-1343 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiff’s financial information, the Court assesses a partial
initial filing fee of $1.90, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b). Additionally, the Court will direct the Clerk to serve defendants Corizon, Inc., and
Dr. Charles Chastain with process.
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 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
violations of his civil rights.
Plaintiff sues Corizon, Inc., Dr. Charles Chastain, Dr. Unknown Chein, and an unknown
medical device supplier. 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. Dr. Chein
performed the surgery on April 22, 2014. After the surgery, he informed plaintiff that there were
complications during the surgery. Dr. Chein purportedly told plaintiff, “The knee replacement
did not fit well and was forced into place. You are suffering excessive hemorrhaging.”
Plaintiff claims that Dr. Chein told him that he needed to remain hospitalized because of
vascular damage, and he contacted Corizon for authorization. Plaintiff asserts that Corizon
denied the request as a result of their policy requiring inmates to return to prisons within twentyfour hours after surgery. Plaintiff returned to ERDCC on April 24, 2014.
Within twenty-four hours of his arrival at ERDCC, plaintiff needed a blood transfusion
because of excessive bleeding. From April 24, 2014, through July 10, 2014, plaintiff bled
excessively. Dr. Chastain gave plaintiff several blood transfusions until plaintiff was transferred
to the Farmington Correctional Center (“FCC”) on June 24, 2014. Dr. Chastain allegedly told
plaintiff that he was concerned about the possibility of blood loss and infections. Plaintiff asserts
that Dr. Chastain told plaintiff that he wanted to return him to the hospital but that his hands
were tied by Corizon’s policies. Thus, Dr. Chastain continued to treat plaintiff at ERDCC
instead of transferring plaintiff to an outside facility for treatment.
Upon his arrival at FCC, plaintiff was diagnosed with anemia, a high fever, and excessive
blood loss. The staff physician at FCC determined that plaintiff was in critical condition and
transferred him to a trauma and surgical intensive care facility. Plaintiff underwent immediate
emergency surgery on his arrival. His surgeon diagnosed him with a staph infection, severe
vascular damage, excessive bleeding, and anemia. The doctor told him he had a “botched knee
replacement” and subsequent neglect.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages in this matter.
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, 95-76 (8th Cir. 1993).
The Court finds that the complaint states a plausible claim for relief against defendants
Corizon and Dr. Chastain.1 As a result, the Court will order to serve these defendants with
The allegations against Dr. Chein do not rise above the level of negligence. Although he
allegedly “botched” the surgery, there is no indication that he was a “state actor” or that he
disregarded plaintiff’s serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment. Rather, he sought
authorization from Corizon to keep plaintiff in the hospital for treatment. Consequently, the
Court will dismiss Dr. Chein from this action.
To establish liability on the part of the unknown medical supplier, plaintiff must establish
that it is a “state actor.” “It is well settled that a private party may be held liable on a § 1983
claim if ‘he is a willful participant in joint action with the State or its agents.’” Mershon v.
Beasely, 994 F.2d 449, 451 (8th Cir. 1993) (quoting Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27 (1980));
see Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, Inc.,
509 F.3d 406, 422 (8th Cir. 2007). “In construing that test in terms of the allegations necessary
to survive a motion to dismiss, this circuit has held that a plaintiff seeking to hold a private party
liable under § 1983 must allege, at the very least, that there was a mutual understanding, or a
meeting of the minds, between the private party and the state actor.” Mershon, 994 F.2d at 451.
There are no allegations in the complaint showing that the supplier conspired with the State to
deprive plaintiff of his rights. Additionally, plaintiff has not indicated that the device was
defective. Rather, he has stated that Dr. Chein believed it was a faulty placement of the device
that caused the problems with plaintiff’s knee replacement. Therefore, the supplier must be
dismissed from this action.
Plaintiff has stated both an official capacity claim against Dr. Chastain, as well as an individual
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #
2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.90
within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance
payable to “Clerk, United States District Court,” and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his
prison registration number; (3) the case number; and (4) that the remittance is for an original
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on defendants
Corizon, Inc., and Dr. Charles Chastain pursuant to the service agreement the Court maintains
with Corizon, Inc. Corizon shall be served in its official capacity only. Dr. Chastain shall be
served in both his official and individual capacity.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants Dr. Unknown Chein and Medical Device
Supplier are DISMISSED without prejudice.
An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately.
Dated this 11th day of October, 2016.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Prisoners must pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the
prisoner is required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month’s income credited to the
prisoner’s account. The agency having custody of the prisoner will deduct the payments and forward them to the
Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
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