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Tomplait v. Jones

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

July 3, 2019

GREGORY TOMPLAIT
v.
SHERIFF RICKY JONES, ET AL.

         SECTION P

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Karen L. Hayes United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Gregory Tomplait, a prisoner at Madison Parish Correctional Center (“MPCC”) proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant proceeding on December 27, 20');">20');">20');">201');">18, under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. He names Sheriff Ricky Jones and Warden Pat Smith as defendants.[1');">1" name= "FN1');">1" id="FN1');">1">1');">1]For reasons that follow, the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's claims against Sheriff Ricky Jones and Plaintiff's ostensible conditions-of-confinement claim. The Court should retain Plaintiff's denial-of-medical-care claim against Warden Pat Smith.[2]

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that he was exposed to airborne pesticide on June 22, 20');">20');">20');">201');">18, at the Tensas Parish Detention Center (“TPDC”) and that, subsequently, Defendants exhibited a “total lack of attention to [his] required medical care . . . .” [doc. # 1');">1, p. 4]. The aircraft that released the pesticide flew twenty-five feet above Plaintiff's head, spraying a white substance for forty-five minutes. [doc. # 20');">20');">20');">20, pp. 3-4]. The pesticide exposure caused him to cough “real bad, ” caused his eyes to burn, and caused severe headaches, blurred vision, and sinusitis. [doc. #s 1');">1, pp. 4-5; 20');">20');">20');">20, p. 5');">p. 5].

         Plaintiff submitted seven requests for care, but he received no response. [doc. # 20');">20');">20');">20, pp. 6-7]. He filed a grievance, directed to Warden Pat Smith, on June 29, 20');">20');">20');">201');">18, but he did not receive a response. Id. at 6. After filing his eighth request for care on August 9, 20');">20');">20');">201');">18, a nurse checked his blood pressure and informed him that he “would be placed on a list to see a doctor.” Id. On August 25, 20');">20');">20');">201');">18, before a physician could evaluate him, he submitted a second grievance directed to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Id. He did not receive a response. Id.

         Plaintiff was transferred to MPCC on February 22, 20');">20');">20');">201');">19. [doc. # 1');">15]. On March 1');">10, 20');">20');">20');">201');">19, a physician at MPCC diagnosed him with “really high” blood pressure. [doc. # 20');">20');">20');">20, p. 7]. Plaintiff claims that he never had blood pressure problems before, and he suggests that, because of the delay in treatment, his eyesight “is bad and getting worse, ” he cannot focus on objects near or far, and he endures severe headaches, chest pains, and a persistent cough. Id. at 7-8.

         In April 20');">20');">20');">201');">19, a nurse practitioner prescribed medication for Plaintiff's blood pressure, but Plaintiff maintains that the new medication is ineffective. [doc. # 22, p. 1');">1]. To date, Plaintiff endures headaches and suffers from impaired vision. Id.

         Plaintiff seeks $250, 000.00 in punitive damages, $500, 000.00 for the costs of future medical care, and “immediate medical attention at a D.O.C. facility, ” including a “comprehensive examination to determine what medical issues” he may experience in the future. [doc. # 1');">1, p. 5].

         Law and Analysis

         1');">1. Preliminary Screening

         Plaintiff is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, his complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1');">191');">15A.[3] See Martin v. Scott, 1');">156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1');">1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his Complaint is also subject to screening under § 1');">191');">15(e)(2). Both § 1');">191');">15(e)(2)(B) and § 1');">191');">15A(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 on 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,1');">19');">490 U.S. 31');">19, 325 (1');">1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is “based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at 327. Courts are also afforded the unusual power to pierce the veil ...


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