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Larnerd v. Hauck

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

August 4, 2014

JAMES J. LARNERD, JR., Plaintiff
v.
DEPUTY WARDEN HAUCK, et al., Defendants

Conner Chief Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

THOMAS M. BLEWITT, United States Magistrate Judge

I. BACKGROUND.

On July 14, 2014, Plaintiff James John Larnerd, Jr., currently an inmate at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility (“LCCF”), filed, pro se, this instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (Doc. 1). Plaintiff also simultaneously filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2).

Plaintiff’s civil rights form Complaint consists of five (5) handwritten pages. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-5). Plaintiff had insufficient room to fully state his claim in the Statement of Claim Section of his Complaint, so he attached two (2) single-spaced, handwritten pages to continue his factual averments. (Id., pp. 4-5). Plaintiff did not attach any Exhibits to his Complaint. As Defendants, Plaintiff names: (1) Deputy Warden Hauck; (2) Medical Staff LCCF; and (3) Warden Robert Karnes. (Id., p. 1). Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance on June 3, 2014.[2]

Plaintiff alleges as follows during his incarceration in the Lebanon County Correctional Facility in pertinent part:

When I was admitted I informed the medical staff that my left shoulder was hurt by the officers that arrested me. I also informed them of a goiter on my thyroid. ...
I was seen and told stretch my shoulder and I was given Motrin for the pain. After two days of no relief I asked to see the Doctor again. My medication was changed and I was given Naproxin for the pain. Still no relief from the pain in my shoulder. ...
I saw the Doctor 1 or 2 more times at the prison and he changed my medication to Ultram. This just barely helped with the pain. ...
My prescription ran out and because of the unsuccessful pain relief I tryed to go without for about 10 days. The pain became unbearable and I asked to have my prescription re-ordered. ...
I was taken to a neurologist on June 4, 2014 where I was diagnosed with nerve damage to my left C6 nerve and that I was suffering from a pinched nerve. ...
I was finally taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital and given an MRI. This was done on June 27, 2014 at 2pm...My medication was then switched to pretizone and flexerall. I was also informed that I was going to need surgery to repair the damage.

(Id., pp. 3-5).

Based on these facts, Plaintiff attempts to assert Eighth Amendment denial of medical care and cruel and unusual punishment claims against Defendants. (Id.).

As relief, Plaintiff requests “$2, 500, 000.00 in monetary damages for neglect and pain and suffering caused by the lack of medical attention given to me and my situation. These damages will cover lost wages and all medical expenses in repairing my shoulder.” (Id., p. 3). Plaintiff does not state if he sues the state actors Defendants in both their individual and/or official capacities. (Id., pp. 2-3). However, Plaintiff can only seek monetary damages from the state actor Defendants in their individual capacities.[3] The Court has jurisdiction over his §1983 civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331 and §1343(a). We will now screen Plaintiff’s Complaint as we are obliged to do in accordance with the PLRA.

II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW.

A. PLRA

As stated, the Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (Doc. 2). The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, [4] (the “PLRA”), obligates the Court to engage in a screening process when a prisoner wishes to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Specifically, Section 1915(e)(2), which was created by § 805(a)(5) of the Act, provides:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that (A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

B. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

In a § 1983 civil rights action, the Plaintiff must prove the following two essential elements: (1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct complained of deprived the Plaintiff of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the law or the Constitution of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981); Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 184 (3d Cir. 1993). Further, Section 1983 is not a source of substantive rights. Rather, it is a means to redress violations of federal law by state actors. Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 284-85 (2002). See also Holocheck v. Luzerne County Head Start, Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 491, 498-499 (M. D. Pa. 2005); Slater v. Susquehanna County, 613 F.Supp.2d 653, 660 (M.D. Pa. 2009) (citations omitted); Stankowskiv. Farley, 487 F.Supp.2d 543, 550 (M.D. Pa. 2007) (“only those who act under color of state law are liable to suit under section 1983.”). ...


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