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Adams v. Edwards

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 24, 2015

ALDEN ADAMS,
v.
DANIEL EDWARDS, SHERIFF, ET AL., SECTION

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

DANIEL E. KNOWLES, III, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Alden Adams, a state prisoner, filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Daniel Edwards, Warden Stuart Murphy, Assistant Wardens Schirra Finn and Brandon Pinion, Head Nurse Alison Thornhill, and Nurses Bruce Oliver and Blaine Griffin. In this lawsuit, plaintiff alleges that he was denied adequate medical care while incarcerated at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. In his amended complaint, he stated his claims as follows:

On 10-14-14 and 10-28-14, I gave Nurse Blaine Griffin sick call forms to see the doctor. On 10-16-14 and 11-8-14, I gave Nurse Bruce Oliver sick call forms to see the doctor. It's going on three months and I haven't seen a physician yet. On 10-28-14, I sent a ARP to Asst. Warden S. Finn. On 10-31-14 I sent a ARP to Asst. Warden Brandon Pinion and on 11-10-14, I sent a ARP to Warden Stuart Murphy. I haven't heard from either of them concerning this matter.[1]

To better understand the factual bases of plaintiff's claims, the Court held a Spears hearing on January 26, 2015. See Spears v. McCotter, 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985). "[T]he Spears procedure affords the plaintiff an opportunity to verbalize his complaints, in a manner of communication more comfortable to many prisoners." Davis v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005-06 (5th Cir. 1998). The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has observed that a Spears hearing is in the nature of a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) motion for more definite statement. Eason v. Holt, 73 F.3d 600, 602 (5th Cir. 1996). Spears hearing testimony becomes a part of the total filing by the pro se applicant. Id.

At that Spears hearing, plaintiff testified that, while he was incarcerated at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail, he experienced a sharp pain running from his neck to his right elbow which a physician diagnosed as nerve damage. He said that he had been told that he needed an MRI, but he was never taken to the doctor. Plaintiff testified that defendants Bruce Oliver and Blaine Griffin collected his sick call requests, but they never arranged for any medical care whatsoever. Plaintiff also testified that he wrote grievances to Warden Stuart Murphy and Assistant Wardens Schirra Finn and Brandon Pinion, but they never responded to those grievances. Plaintiff stated that Alison Thornhill was the jail's head nurse, but she was never there. Lastly, plaintiff explained that he sued Sheriff Daniel Edwards because he is the head of the jail.[2]

The Court also ordered production of certified copies of all of plaintiff's medical records, including all sick call requests, and all of his written complaints and/or administrative grievance records from the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. The Court also directed that copies of those same records be sent to plaintiff for his use in this proceeding. Those records have been produced and filed into this federal record.

Federal law mandates that federal courts "review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Regarding such lawsuits, federal law further requires:

On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint -
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

Additionally, with respect to actions filed in forma pauperis, such as the instant lawsuit, federal law similarly provides:

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 ...

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