United States District Court, D. Maine
KARLA K. WILSON, Plaintiff
DR. CLINTON, et. al, Defendants
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff Karla K. Wilson, an inmate in the custody
of the Maine Department of Corrections, alleges that
Defendants Dr. Clinton and Wendi Reibe have deprived
Plaintiff of medical care in violation of the Eighth
Amendment of the United States Constitution. (Complaint, ECF
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
4), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 5.) In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's complaint is
subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or
… as soon as practicable after docketing, ”
because she is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss Plaintiff's claim of negligence, and permit
Plaintiff to proceed on her constitutional claim.
federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is
designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts
for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an
action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis,
however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time
if the court determines, ” inter alia, that the action
is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under §
1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of
process, so as to spare prospective defendants the
inconvenience and expense of answering such
complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 324 (1989).
addition to the review contemplated by § 1915,
Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is
incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities and
officers. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c). The
§ 1915A screening requires courts to “identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not
required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim,
” Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st
Cir. 1980). To allege a civil action in federal court, it is
not enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a defendant
acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts
that identify the manner by which the defendant subjected the
plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a remedy.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
alleges that Defendants Dr. Clinton and Wendy Reibe have
subjected Plaintiff to cruel and unusual punishment and
“neglect.” (Complaint at 3.) According to
Plaintiff, she has Meniere's disease, a condition that
affects her inner ear and causes vertigo and hearing loss.
Plaintiff asserts that certain health care providers at the
Maine Correctional Center have supported Plaintiff's
request for an outside consultation with an ear, nose and
throat specialist, but Dr. Clinton has denied the referral
and instead adjusted Plaintiff's
medication. (Id. at 4 - 5.) Plaintiff alleges
she is losing peripheral vision in her right eye and has
experienced hearing loss. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff also
has a dental issue (need for a filling in one tooth and for
other teeth to be “fixed”) and has spoken to Dr.
Clinton and Wendy Reibe about both issues. (Id. at
5, 7.) Plaintiff maintains that her medications are not
addressing her conditions. (Id. at 4.)
form complaint filed by Plaintiff, Plaintiff references a
grievance process at the Maine Correctional Center that
covers some or all of her claims. (Id. at 6.)
Plaintiff further wrote that the “grievance process was
done [and] I didn't appeal because I spoke to Wendy Reibe
about my dental situation, ” and “I did not
appeal Dr. Clinton because I did get slight advocation [sic]
by the nurses but I should appeal [b]ut I get frustrating
non-answers.” (Id. at 8.)