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Stamper v. Correct Care Solutions

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 15, 2015

MELVIN STAMPER
v.
CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, (Health Care Provider for Tecumseh Correctional Facility), BRYAN WEST MEDICAL FACILITY, and NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

LAURIE SMITH CAMP, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Melvin Stamper filed his Complaint (Filing No. 1) in this matter on December 22, 2014. This court has given Stamper leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No. 6.) The court now conducts an initial review of Stamper's Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Stamper is currently incarcerated at the Sterling Correctional Center in Sterling, Colorado. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 2.) His claims are based on incidents that occurred while he was incarcerated at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution ("TSCI") in Tecumseh, Nebraska. Liberally construed, he asserts state-law medial negligence claims and also Eighth Amendment claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He sued Correct Care Solutions, the entity that provides healthcare services within the TSCI. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 1.) He also sued the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services ("NDCS") and Bryan West Medical Facility ("Bryan West"). (Id. )

Stamper alleged he was housed in the segregation unit at the TSCI. He began to feel sick in December of 2013 after contracting the H1N1 flu virus. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 3.) Initially, he informed guards and nurses that he was "feeling unwell and needed some medical attention." (Id. ) They told him to lie down and drink plenty of fluids. Later, he informed "whoever would listen to [him]" that he was really sick and getting worse. (Id. ) He was, again, instructed to "drink plenty of fluids, and to get plenty of rest." (Id. )

On January 12, 2014, Stamper momentarily passed out and was "rushed to the infirmary." (Id. ) The nurse called the on-call doctor who informed the nurse to "immediately put [Stamper] on oxygen and to call the ambulance to transport [him] to the nearest hospital." (Id. ) Prison officials transported Stamper to a hospital in Tecumseh, Nebraska, where the doctor diagnosed him with the flu and possibly pneumonia. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 9.) The doctor recommended that prison officials transport Stamper to Bryan West in Lincoln, Nebraska, which they did. (Id. )

At Bryan West, Stamper was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia. Stamper underwent a tracheotomy operation during which his lungs collapsed, he temporarily died, and had to be revived. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 9.) Stamper then went into a coma for 40 days, but states he does not "know if it was medically induced or not." (Id. ) Stamper complains that his family was not informed that he was in the hospital until, at some point, hospital staff called Stamper's father to ask "what to do with [Stamper's] body in the event [Stamper] die[d]." (Id. )

Stamper awoke from his coma in March of 2014 and remained in the hospital for an additional four months. At some point thereafter, Stamper entered the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections. While in the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections, Stamper received a CT scan and was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. (Id. )

Stamper's primary complaints appear to be that prison officials failed to give him a flu shot and, once he contracted the flu, they did not give proper him medical attention. The lack of medical attention "caused Plaintiff's flu to turn into bi-lateral pneumonia, and eventually turn into interstitial lung disease." (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 4.) Stamper also complains that staff at Bryan West failed to diagnose his interstitial lung disease. (Id. )

For relief in this matter, Stamper seeks damages in the amount of $2 million, as well as payment of all future medical costs and any legal costs associated with this action. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 8.)

II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW

The court is required to review prisoner and in forma pauperis complaints seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A. The court must dismiss a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

Pro se plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to "nudge[] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, " or "their complaint must be dismissed." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) ("A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.").

"The essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a general indication of the type of litigation involved.'" Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir. 1999)). However, "[a] pro se complaint must be liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a ...


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