United States District Court, D. Delaware
Garden Price, Sr., James T. Vaughn Correctional Center,
Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Lou Garden Price, Sr. ("Plaintiff), an inmate at the
James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("JTVCC") in
Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (D.I. 3). He also raises a supplemental
state claim. Plaintiff appears pro se and has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I.
5). He recently filed a motion for representation by an
attorney licensed in California. (D.I. 6). The court proceeds
to review and screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a).
the exception of Defendant Dr. DuShuttle ("Dr.
DuShutfie"), all Defendants are sued in their individual
and official capacities. (D.I. 3 at 27). Plaintiff suffered
an injury on April 23, 2016, while playing basketball in the
prison gym. (Id. at 8). Correctional officers saw he
was injured, called a "Code 4," and medical
personnel arrived with a wheelchair. (Id. at 8).
Defendants Nurse Eric ("Eric") and Nurse Joy Truitt
("Truitt") lifted Plaintiff onto the wheelchair
without first immobilizing his leg and "something else
tore/'popped' in [his] right knee" causing
Plaintiff to scream. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that
Eric further injured him when he pushed the wheelchair and
caused Plaintiffs injured leg to catch and get caught beneath
it. (Id.) A lieutenant told the nurses to retrieve a
gurney, Plaintiff was secured to the gurney, and taken to the
telephoned Defendant Nurse Practitioner Ihoma Chucks
("Chucks") who was on-call. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that Chucks failed to have Truitt call 911.
(Id.) Plaintiff was told that 911 was not called
because it was the weekend and no JTVCC cars were available.
(Id. at 9). Chucks ordered a leg immobilizer,
crutches, a wheelchair, "Norco" for pain, and no
weight bearing. (Id. at 9). Although Plaintiff could
not walk, he was sent back to the W-Building housing unit.
following week, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Nurse
Practitioner Carla Cooper Miller ("Miller").
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Miller did not call
911, but ordered x-rays given Plaintiffs "extremely
swollen/deformed and mangled right knee and right ring
finger." (Id.) Plaintiff alleges the
"x-rays were positive for damages, but could not clearly
see the true extent." (Id.)
Plaintiffs family complained, Plaintiff was transferred to
the infirmary and seen by Defendant Dr. Ellis ("Dr.
Ellis"). (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Ellis
also failed to call 911 "which would have avoided JTVCC
red tape" as "there was no reason not to call 911
for emergency treatment." (Id.) Dr. Ellis
discharged Plaintiff back to W-Building. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that, because of his condition, he could
not walk up stairs and could not access the showers.
(Id.) He alleges that Defendants Deputy Warden James
Scarborough ("Scarborough") and Jeffrey Carrothers
("Carrothers"), Major of Security, had a duty to
approve him for a bottom bunk, wheelchair and crutches memo
so "building security can know of them."
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Scarborough and
Carrothers were aware of his serious medical issues,
deliberately indifferent, and it was cruel and unusual to
leave him in a position of "torture and torment"
where he could be further hurt. (Id. at 9-10)
alleges that former JTVCC Warden David Pierce
("Pierce") was made aware of his situation at
weekly senior staff meetings. (Id. at 10). He
alleges the senior administration officials, including
Connections' Health Services Administrator ("Health
Services Administrator") were aware Plaintiff needed
emergency medical care because Plaintiff had been moved to
the infirmary "where Dr. Ellis signed off on an
"emergency outside ortho consult." (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges the warden, deputy warden, and security
chief must have known about the consult because security
transportation must be arranged. (Id.) At the time,
Plaintiff was classified as minimum security so only two
officers were needed for his transport. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges the "red tape" was uncalled for,
and "it was outright cruel/unusual because 911 was
available." (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that
"from Defendant #1 on down everyone ignored that simple
1, 2016, approximately six weeks after his April 23, 2016
injury, Dr. DuShuttle performed surgery on Plaintiff.
(Id.) Following the surgery, Plaintiff was sent to
outside physical rehabilitation where it was determined that
Dr. DuShuttle had removed the pin too late and this left
Plaintiffs finger deformed. (Id. at 11). Plaintiff
also received physical therapy on his right knee and it
seemed to be going well, but the physical therapist noticed
the kneecap was in a "superior alta" to its proper
position. (Id.) During this time Plaintiff was on
pain medication. (Id.)
the February 2017 uprising at the JTVCC, when Plaintiff was
"kept from physical therapy," he noticed his
kneecap "was seriously high up on the femur."
(Id. at 12). In March 2017, Plaintiff was seen by
Nurse Practitioner Kathy Gustafson ("Gustafson").
(Id.) Gustafson summoned Dr. Jackson, the infirmary
physician who provided treatment, and an "emergency
consult" was placed for Plaintiff to see Dr. DuShuttle.
alleges that Dr. DuShuttle told him the kneecap was
"where it should be" and ordered an MRI, but he
refused to operate. (Id.) In May 2017, Plaintiff was
examined by another orthopedic surgeon who indicated that
"revisions were needed." (Id. at 12-13). A
CT Scan and MRI revealed a new patellar tendon tear.
(Id. at 13). Plaintiff alleges he suffered several
falls, two severe, and documented when he was housed in
unsafe showers/conditions between 2016 and 2017.
(Id.) Plaintiff underwent a second surgery on
December 6, 2017, "[fallowing months of more red
tape." (Id.) Plaintiff was placed in "safe
handicap friendly T-Building" until declared
healthy" where he remains today. (Id. at
was placed on Oxycodone following the December 2017 surgery
and later placed on Tramadol. (Id. at 14). Plaintiff
made it known to Miller that his knee is "on so tight
that it is grinding into the bone," and other nurses
have heard the grinding sound. (Id. at 14-15).
Plaintiff alleges that he cannot bear the extreme pain, and
the pain has increased the quantity and frequency of migraine
March 4, 2018, Miller reduced Plaintiffs Tramadol dose which
resulted in severe withdrawals. (Id. at 15-16).
Plaintiff was seen by Miller on March 29, 2018, in the
chronic care clinic and related his "unbearable pain
from the knee grinding issue" and decrease in Tramadol
and told Miller he intended to sue her for sending him to Dr.
DuShuttle for surgeries. (Id. at 17). Plaintiff
alleges that Miller retaliated by terminating the
doctor's appointment. (Id. at 17). She also
"abruptly discontinued" the Tramadol.
(Id.) The next day, when a staff lieutenant learned
at a disciplinary hearing that Miller had ended Plaintiffs
medication cold turkey, he contacted mental health for a
suicide/risk assessment. (Id. at 18). Plaintiff
alleges that Miller "hurriedly" restarted the
Tramadol, but it did nothing to abate his pain.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Miller asked a
lieutenant to have Plaintiff moved to the D-West Building
which has slippery shower floors and is not handicap
friendly. (Id. at 19).
states that all issues are exhausted with the exception of
the retaliation claim against Miller that has been filed but
is not exhausted. (Id. at 20). Plaintiff seeks
injunctive and declaratory ...