Sales v. Hale et al
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION and ORDER: Magistrate Judge grants 1 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, RECOMMENDS denying 2 MOTION to Waive Strict Compliance, RECOMMENDS dismissing 3 Complaint. Objections to R&R due by 8/25/2017. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Jolson on 8/11/2017. (ew)(This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
ARKMAEL RAY SALES,
Civil Action 2:17-cv-689
Judge George C. Smith
Magistrate Judge Jolson
ARTHUR HALE, et al.,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff Arkmael Ray Sales, a pro se prisoner, brings this action against Arthur Hale,
Mary Lawrence, Roger Wilson, Heather Hegan, Missy Roush, Shelley L. Clemmons, and Dave
Collins. (See Doc. 1-2). This matter is before the undersigned for consideration of Plaintiff’s
Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 1) and the initial screen of Plaintiff’s
Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. All judicial officers who
render services in this action shall do so as if the costs had been prepaid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
Furthermore, having performed an initial screen and for the reasons that follow, it is
RECOMMENDED that the Court DISMISS Plaintiff’s claims.
Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must dismiss the Complaint,
or any portion of it, that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint to set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” In
reviewing a complaint, the Court must construe it in Plaintiff’s favor, accept all well-pleaded
factual allegations as true, and evaluate whether it contains “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). On the other hand, a
complaint that consists of “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action” is insufficient. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Although pro se
complaints are to be construed liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), “basic
pleading essentials” are still required. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989).
Plaintiff’s claims appear to relate to either his medical care while in prison or the
grievance procedures at Pickaway Correctional Institution. As to Defendant Dr. Arthur Hale,
Plaintiff alleges that on November 30, 2015, Dr. Hale discontinued his pain medication “Alltrim”
with “[n]o written statement by accusing officer or staff, no conduct report and no evidence.”
(Doc. 1-2 at 5). Plaintiff then alleges numerous complaints against “Defendant #1,” which the
Court assumes to be Dr. Hale (although it is unclear), including: that Defendant #1 refused to
accept Plaintiff’s electromyogram results from a specialist on June 30, 2016 (id.); that Defendant
#1 prescribed Elavil even though Plaintiff advised him that “I’ve taken Elavil before for cancer
pain and it did no good” (id.); that Defendant #1 gave Plaintiff anti-inflammatory medication
until February 2017, despite a specialist for his stomach disorder opining that Plaintiff should not
be given anti-inflammatory medications (id. at 5–6); and Defendant #1 found that Plaintiff’s
stool sample did not contain blood, although Plaintiff argues it clearly show[ed] blood” and a
subsequent stool culture test did in fact indicate the presence of blood (id. at 7).
Plaintiff also alleges claims against Defendants Heather Hagan, Missy Roush, and David
Collins, who are identified as “Health Care Administrators.” (Id. at 7). Plaintiff’s allegations as
to these three defendants are hard to follow:
[M]edical grievances “must” go to them “informally” which takes as long a eightten day, and their response more often than not is; “Keep getting on sick call or I
can not tell the doctor what to do...” Thus, this being the case, why the need to go
through them when it slows the process...? On top of the above, those things that
these three Defendants can resolve the cover-up as they have with everything
herein complained of.
(Id. at 7–8). Plaintiff also alleges that Ms. Roush took a document from him, detailing the
various foods and spices he should not eat based on a specialist’s recommendation, and denied
any such document was ever in Plaintiff’s medical files. (Id. at 9–10). In what appears to be an
attempt to support that allegation, Plaintiff explains that he was seen by Defendant #1 who
prescribed Pepcid, which he says proves the document was in his file. (Id. at 10).
As to Defendants Mary Lawrence and Shelley Clemons, Plaintiff alleges that they are
“Grievance Inspectors” who have not “totally” or only “half” investigated “The Issues.” (Id. at
8). Plaintiff offers no explanation for what “The Issues” refers to. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant Roger Wilson, the so-called “Chief Inspector of Grievance,” failed to respond to a
certified mailing that Plaintiff’s family sent him—presumably related to his grievance, although
Plaintiff does not explain any details relating to the mailing—in dereliction of his duty. (Id. at
Plaintiff seeks punitive damages from each Defendant in the amount of $750,000, as well
as $250,000 “in compensatory damages and cost for this action.” (Id. at 10). Plaintiff also asks
that this Court find that the prison grievance procedure is unconstitutional. (Id.).
A. Allegations Regarding Plaintiff’s Medical Care
Plaintiff’s allegations against Dr. Hale (and Defendant #1, assuming arguendo, that they
are the same person) relate to his medical care while in prison. Under the Eighth Amendment,
prison officials are forbidden “from ‘unnecessarily and wantonly inflicting pain’ on an inmate by
acting with ‘deliberate indifference’ toward the inmate’s serious medical needs.”
Swigert, No. CIV.A. 2:05-CV-486, 2005 WL 1629779, at *1 (S.D. Ohio July 6, 2005) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). Prison officials are liable “only if they know of and
disregard ‘an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he
must draw the inference.’” Id. (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837, 114 S.Ct. 1970,
128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994)). However, courts have consistently held that mere negligence does not
constitute deliberate indifference. Id. And further, “a prisoner does not state a claim merely by
pleading that he disagrees with the diagnosis or treatment.” Id. (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 107–
108; Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 860 n. 5 (6th Cir. 1976)).
Here, Plaintiff does not allege that Dr. Hale knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to
his health and safety. Instead, Plaintiff acknowledges that Dr. Hale provided Plaintiff with
medical treatment on a reoccurring basis—he provided medications, allowed Plaintiff to see
specialists, and ordered stool samples. In other words, Plaintiff disputes only the course of his
medical treatment, but does not allege he failed to receive treatment. These disagreements are
not actionable, as they fail to allege a constitutional claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Palmer
v. Ohio State Univ., No. CIV.A. 2:01-CV-053, 2002 WL 483558, at *6 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 12,
Further, even Dr. Hale’s actions were somehow improper, “[m]edical malpractice does
not become a constitutional violation merely because the victim is a prisoner.” Estelle, 429 U.S.
at 106 (1976); see also Palmer, 2002 WL 483558, at *6 (holding that the Constitution does not
“prohibit medical malpractice within the prison context”). Thus, Plaintiff has failed to state a
claim for relief as to his medical claims.
B. Allegations Regarding the Grievance Procedures
Plaintiff’s remaining allegations are based on alleged deficiencies in the grievance
process and its employees. “As this Court has recognized, however, ‘a prison inmate does not
have an inherent constitutional right to an effective prison grievance procedure.’” Pollock v.
Lavender, No. 2:11-CV-00114, 2011 WL 2148584, at *6 (S.D. Ohio May 31, 2011), report and
recommendation adopted, No. 2:11-CV-00114, 2011 WL 2637329 (S.D. Ohio July 6, 2011)
(quoting Israfil v. Parks, No. 2:10–cv–132, 2010 WL 4642978, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 18,
2010)). “Furthermore, Ohio Court[s] have held that the Ohio Administrative Code sections
outlining prison grievance procedures do not confer a legal right on inmates.” Id. (citing State ex
rel. Wickensimer v. Bartleson, No. L–09–1049, 2009 WL 5174167, at *3 (Ohio Ct. App. Dec.
28, 2009)). Accordingly, since a violation of a constitutional right is required to obtain relief
under § 1983, and there is no constitutional right to an effective grievance procedure, Plaintiff
has failed to state a claim to relief. See Walker v. Michigan Dep’t of Corr., 128 F. App’x 441,
445 (6th Cir. 2005).
For the reasons stated, it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Waive Strict
Compliance be DENIED (Doc. 2) and that his Complaint (Doc. 1-2) be DISMISSED.
Procedure on Objections
If any party objects to this Report and Recommendation, that party may, within fourteen
(14) days of the date of this Report, file and serve on all parties written objections to those
specific proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made, together with
supporting authority for the objection(s).
A Judge of this Court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the Report or specified proposed findings or recommendations
to which objection is made. Upon proper objections, a Judge of this Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made herein, may receive further
evidence or may recommit this matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C.
The parties are specifically advised that failure to object to the Report and
Recommendation will result in a waiver of the right to have the District Judge review the Report
and Recommendation de novo, and also operates as a waiver of the right to appeal the decision of
the District Court adopting the Report and Recommendation. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140
(1985); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: August 11, 2017
/s/ Kimberly A. Jolson
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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