Goodman v. SWVRJA Duffield Medical Dept.
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Norman K. Moon on 7/18/2017. (tvt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
ANTHONY A. GOODMAN,
Civil Action No. 7:17cv00207
By: Norman K. Moon
United States District Judge
Plaintiff Anthony A. Goodman, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming only the “SWVRJA Duffi[e]ld Medical Dept.” as a
defendant. To state a cause of action under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege facts indicating that he
has been deprived of rights guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States and that
this deprivation resulted from conduct committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988) (emphasis added). By order entered June 7, 2017, the court
conditionally filed this action, advised Goodman that his complaint failed to state a claim against
the named defendant, and gave him the opportunity to amend his complaint. The court warned
Goodman that failure to amend the complaint to correct the deficiency would result in dismissal
of the complaint. Goodman responded to the court’s order but still only names the “SWVRJA
Duffield Medical Dept.” as a defendant. Because a medical department is not a legal entity, it is
not a “person” subject to suit under § 1983, and Goodman cannot maintain this action against it.
See Harden v. Green, 27 F. App’x 173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001) (“The medical department of a prison
may not be sued, because it is not a person within the meaning of § 1983.”). Accordingly, I will
dismiss Goodman’s complaint without prejudice pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1). I note that
nothing in this opinion precludes Goodman from refiling his claims against any individuals who
may have violated his federal rights, assuming he has exhausted his remedies in accordance with
42 U.S.C. § 1997e.
ENTER: This _____ day of July, 2017.
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