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Cooper v. Deville

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

February 15, 2018

MICHAEL COOPER #325027, Plaintiff

          DEE D. DRELL, JUDGE.


          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 Michael Cooper (#391434) (“Cooper”). Cooper was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 20). Cooper is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (“DOC”), incarcerated at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (“EHCC”) in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. Cooper complains that his constitutional rights were violated when he was incarcerated at Winn Correctional Center (“WCC”). Cooper names as defendants Secretary James LeBlanc and numerous WCC officials. Cooper seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         I. Background

         Cooper alleges he made a sick call in June 2016, due to dental pain. (Doc. 12-1, p. 6). Cooper made another sick call in September 2016, also due to dental pain, and he was placed on a list to see the dentist. (Doc. 12-2, p. 5). Cooper sought medical care again for dental pain in October 2016, and also complained that he was unable to use his CPAP machine because the cold air caused tooth pain. (Doc. 12-2, p. 6). Cooper was prescribed an antibiotic and analgesic. (Doc. 12-2, p. 6). Thereafter, Cooper was treated by a dentist, who extracted a tooth. However, in December 2016, Cooper complained of pain in the area where the tooth was pulled. (Doc. 12-2 p. 8). Cooper was prescribed an analgesic and advised to comply with his HIV medications. (Doc. 12-2, p. 8).

         Cooper alleges he filed administrative grievances related to his dental issues, but Defendant Heyse failed to properly process his grievances. Cooper also received a disciplinary conviction for malingering due to submitting “back to back sick calls.” (Doc. 12-2, p. 27).

         Next, Cooper complains that he was administered incorrect medication by a correctional officer in October 2016. The medication Cooper received was for an inmate named Michael Cormier. (Doc. 12-2, p. 20). Cooper's administrative grievance was rejected as untimely filed. (Doc. 12-2, p. 21).

         Cooper complains that he was denied the use of his CPAP machine for 10 days while he was in disciplinary segregation at WCC. According to the response to Cooper's grievance, an extension cord was needed, and “all attempts were made” to secure Cooper's CPAP while he was in segregation. (Doc. 12-2, p. 18).

         Cooper complains that he was not transferred from WCC to a facility that offers “good time programs, ” such as EHCC. (Doc. 12-1, p. 9). Cooper also complains that he was transferred from WCC to Jackson Parish Correctional Center (“JPCC”) on October 5, 2017, allegedly in retaliation for filing sick calls and grievances against the WCC medical department. (Doc. 12-1, p. 9). Cooper alleges JPCC also lacked the “good time programs.” (Doc. 12-2, p. 9). Cooper complains that he would be entitled to an earlier release from custody had he been at EHCC. (Doc. 12-2, p. 9).

         II. Law and Analysis

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

         Cooper is a prisoner who has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915A provides for the preliminary screening of lawsuits filed by prisoners seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam); Rosborough v. Mgmt. and Training Corp., 350 F.3d 459, 461 (5th Cir. 2003) (holding that private prison-management corporations and their employees are state actors under § 1983). Because Cooper is proceeding in forma pauperis, his 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.

         B. Cooper cannot show that he was denied adequate medical care.

         Cooper complains that he was denied dental care. Prison officials violate the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment when they act with “deliberate indifference” to the serious medical needs of prisoners. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, (1994); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976). Deliberate indifference “is an extremely high standard to meet.” Gobert v. Caldwell, 463 F.3d 339, 346 (5th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). An inmate must show that prison personnel ‚Äúrefused to treat him, ignored his complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged in any similar conduct that would clearly evidence a ...

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