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Cogill v. Carabine

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

February 23, 2016

JESSE COGILL, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. CARABINE, MECHELLE CAPPS, and JOHN DOES, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the court on initial review of Jesse Cogill’s Complaint (Filing No. 1). For the reasons discussed below, the court finds that Cogill’s Complaint does not state any claims on which relief may be granted. On the court’s own motion, Cogill will be provided an opportunity to file an amended complaint.

I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Cogill brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Dr. Carabine, a prison doctor at the Tecumseh State Prison (“TSP”), and against Mechelle Capps, the deputy warden of the TSP. He alleges claims under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 10-14.)

Cogill alleges he has a long history of mental illness and prison misconduct reports. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5.) In 2012, Cogill began taking Wellbutrin, a “mental health medication.” Cogill alleged the Wellbutrin improved his coping skills and helped treat his bipolar disorder, depression, and racing thoughts. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 5-6.) On March 14, 2014, prison officials approved Cogill’s request to discontinue the Wellbutrin. Cogill claims he asked to discontinue this medication because he “was doing so well [he] wanted to see [if he] could [] cope without it.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 6.)

On May 6, 2015, Cogill asked Dr. Carabine to prescribe Wellbutrin. Cogill explained to Dr. Carabine that he had recently seen an outside medical provider who “ordered” Wellbutrin to treat “the mental problems [Cogill] was displaying.” However, Dr. Carabine refused to prescribe Wellbutrin, explaining inmates in prison use it “to get high.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 7.) Dr. Carabine also stated he was not taking anyone off Wellbutrin or putting anyone on Wellbutrin. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 8.) Cogill alleged the following exchange occurred between Cogill and Dr. Carabine during this same conversation:

35. I told Dr. Carabine that if he wasn’t going to treat my mental health illnesses serious than I had no reason to talk with him anymore.

36. Dr. Carabine then told me that’s fine I will just stop all your other mental medications to.

37. I told Dr. Carabine if he did that I would come find him when I got out of prison, and then left.

(Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 8.) Immediately following this exchange with Dr. Carabine, Cogill filed a grievance against Dr. Carabine. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 8.)

On June 1, 2015, Cogill’s mental health medications were discontinued. Cogill claims in this action that Dr. Carabine discontinued Cogill’s medications because Cogill filed a grievance against him. However, Cogill also alleged that Dr. Carabine reported he discontinued Cogill’s medications because Cogill refused “blood draws.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 9.) Cogill does not dispute that he refused these blood draws. In addition, the documents attached to Cogill’s Complaint reflect a prison official warned Cogill on May 23, 2015, that all of his medication would be discontinued if he continued to be noncompliant with the required blood draws. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 22.) Finally, Cogill alleged Defendant Capps advised him his medications were discontinued because he refused “draws to check levels.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 9.)

On July 14, 2015, Cogill met with a different prison doctor who prescribed the medications Dr. Carabine discontinued on June 1, 2015, and also ordered one additional medication. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 10.)

Cogill alleges Capps and Dr. Carabine acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. In addition, he alleges Dr. Carabine retaliated against him and violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

II. 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 ...


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