Fleming v. Centerion Medical Provider for TDOC
MEMORANDUM OPINION: without the benefit of an amended complaint, which Plaintiff has declined to file, the Court must accordingly DISMISS Plaintiff's action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under § 1983. The Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this action would not be taken in good faith and would be totally frivolous. Signed by District Judge Pamela L Reeves on April 12, 2017. c/m (AYB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
DARELL L. FLEMING,
CENTERION MEDICAL PROVIDER FOR
On February 22, 2017, this Court entered an Order in this civil rights action, filed pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 by pro se prisoner Darrell L. Fleming [Doc. 3; see Doc. 2]. In that Order, the Court
summarized the factual allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint – namely, that Plaintiff has had a lifethreatening hernia since the day he arrived at Morgan County Correctional Complex (“MCCC”), that
the medical staff knows about his hernia, and that he has complained about his hernia, but he has been
denied any medical care for this condition – against defendant, Centerion/M.H.M, a private company
contracted to provide medical services to inmates at MCCC [Doc. 3; see Doc. 2].1 The Court noted
that, under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints and sua sponte dismiss any claims that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for
relief, or are against defendants who are immune [Doc. 3 (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and
1915(A); Benson v. O’Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999))]. After setting forth the relevant legal
In his Complaint, Plaintiff states that he named Centerion as the lone defendant to this action
because he has been denied access to his medical records and thus has no knowledge of the names of
any individuals involved in the alleged unconstitutional acts. [Doc. 2 at 4].
standards governing dismissals for failure to state a claim and § 1983 claims against both individuals
and entities based on medical deliberate indifference, the Court stated:
The factual allegations in the complaint are, at present, scant. Plaintiff alleges that he
has a serious medical condition – a life threatening hernia – that has not been treated,
despite various employees of Centerion being aware of the condition. Had Plaintiff
named any of his medical providers as defendants in this action, the Court would
conclude that Plaintiff has presented sufficient factual allegations to allow the Court to
infer that they may be liable to Plaintiff for his alleged Eighth Amendment violation,
based on their deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
However, Plaintiff’s complaint names only Centerion as a defendant to this action, and
in order for this private corporation to be liable for Plaintiff’s alleged harm, he must
allege that the corporation employed a policy, custom, pattern, or practice that was the
moving force behind his lack of medical treatment. Plaintiff’s complaint currently
contains no such allegations, and thus, in its present form, does not appear to state any
claims for relief that would survive the screening requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915.2
[Doc. 3 at 4-5].
Nonetheless, the Court concluded that it was conceivable that Plaintiff could cure any defects
in the complaint if given leave to amend,” and thus ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint to
replace and supersede his original complaint within twenty-one days of the entry of the order [Id. at
5]. Plaintiff was given notice that “if he fail[ed] to timely comply with this order, the Court may
dismiss this action for want of prosecution and failure to comply with orders of the Court, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), or it may sua sponte dismiss the original complaint for failure
to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915.” [Id. at 6]. Despite this warning, over 48 days have
2 As the Court previously noted, in order to state a claim against Centerion, Plaintiff cannot rely upon a theory
of respondeat superior liability; instead, he “must prove that a policy, custom, pattern, or practice of the corporation was
the moving force behind his alleged constitutional violation.” See, e.g., Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 81718 (6th Cir. 1996) (applying municipal liability standard from Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), to
private corporation operating prison); see also Rouster v. Cty. of Saginaw, 749 F.3d 437, 453 (6th Cir. 2014); Savoie v.
Martin, 673 F.3d 488, 494 (6th Cir. 2012); Garretson v. City of Madison Heights, 407 F.3d 789, 796 (6th Cir. 2005).
now passed since the entry of the Court’s Order, and Plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint or
otherwise responded to the Court’s Order.
As the Court noted in its prior order, Plaintiff’s Complaint does not state any claims for relief
against the sole Defendant, Centerion, that can survive the screening requirements of 28 U.S.C. §
1915. Without the benefit of an amended complaint, which Plaintiff has declined to file, the Court
must accordingly DISMISS Plaintiff’s action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted under § 1983, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A).
The Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this action would not be taken in good faith and
would be totally frivolous. See Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
AN APPROPRIATE ORDER WILL ENTER.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
A S S
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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