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Cooper v. Concordia Parish Correctional

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

June 18, 2016

CHAD COOPER, Plaintiff
v.
CONCORDIA PARISH CORRECTIONAL, ET AL., Defendants

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is a civil rights complaint (42 U.S.C. § 1983) filed by pro se Plaintiff Chad Cooper (“Cooper”). Cooper is a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility in Ferriday, Louisiana. Cooper complains that his constitutional rights were violated by the facility's nurses and Lt. Seyfarth.

         Because Cooper cannot establish a constitutional violation or a physical injury, his complaint should be dismissed.

         I. Background

         Cooper alleges that he “passed out” in his dorm. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Other inmates notified the officers, who brought a wheelchair and transported Cooper to check his blood pressure. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Cooper was advised that he would see a nurse in the morning. Cooper did not see a nurse until he filed a grievance approximately 10 days later. (Doc. 1, p. 3).

         Cooper seeks monetary damages and an apology from the medical staff.

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Cooper's complaint is subject to screening under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         Cooper is an inmate who has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 8). As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, Cooper's complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, Cooper's complaint is also subject to screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         A complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at 327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it fails to plead “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); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).

         B. Cooper has not alleged deliberate indifference with respect to the delay in medical care.

         Pretrial detainees are protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Cupit v. Jones, 835 F.2d 82, 84-85 (5th Cir. 1987). To succeed in a § 1983 action based on “episodic acts or omissions” in violation of Fourteenth Amendment rights, a pretrial detainee must show subjective deliberate indifference by the defendants. Hare v. City of Corinth, 74 F.3d 633, 643 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc). That is, the plaintiff must show that the official knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious harm. See Domino v. Tex. Dep't of Criminal Justice, 239 F.3d 752, 755 (5th Cir. 2001). “Actions and decisions by officials that are merely inept, erroneous, ineffective, or negligent do not amount to deliberate indifference.” Alton v. Tex. A & M Univ., 168 F.3d 196, 201 (5th Cir. 1999). To reach the level of deliberate indifference, official conduct must be “wanton, ” which is defined to mean “reckless.” Johnson v. Treen, 759 F.2d 1236, 1238 (5th Cir. 1985).

         To establish liability based on a delay in medical treatment, a plaintiff must show deliberate indifference to serious medical needs that resulted in substantial harm. Easter v. Powell, 467 F.3d 459, 464 (5th Cir. 2006). Cooper alleges that, prior to his episode of fainting, he had a cold. When he was examined by the nurse, he was diagnosed with vertigo. (Doc. 1, p. 3). First, it is doubtful that vertigo and a cold amount to a serious medical need. Cf. Diaz v. Martel, 2:10-CV-1388, 2014 WL 3849932, at *14 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2014) (degenerative disc disease, shoulder tendinitis, and vertigo are serious medical needs); Lemaire v. Maass, 745 F.Supp. 623, 636 n. 8 (D. Ore. 1990), vacated on other grounds, 12 F.3d 1444 (9th Cir. 1993) (depression in ...


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