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Coleman v. Stanford

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 28, 2019

DEVIN L. COLEMAN, Plaintiff,

          Devin L. Coleman, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.




         Plaintiff Devin L. Coleman ("Plaintiff'), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("JTVCC") in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 3) Plaintiff appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 5) He also seeks injunctive relief. (D.I. 7) The Court proceeds to review and screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a).


         Plaintiff has a painful light sensitivity eye condition that requires darkening glasses. Plaintiff alleges that on May 16, 2018, Connections, the medical service provider at the JTVCC, issued a medical memo prescribing Plaintiff's indoor use of sunglasses purchased from the prison commissary. (D.I. 3 at 5) The memo was issued April 16, 2018 and expired April 16, 2019. (Id.) The medical memo was forwarded to security staff and signed by the JTVCC deputy warden. (Id.)

         On September 12, 2018, Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary report for violation of the dress code. (Id.) A hearing was held and Plaintiff was found guilty. (Id.) Plaintiff appealed and the guilty finding was reversed on the basis that "inmate has medical memo for solar shields." (Id. at 5)

         On March 25, 2019, [2] Defendant Correctional Officer Kristene M. Brady-Downes ("Brady-Downes") issued Plaintiff a disciplinary report for lying and failing to obey an order for wearing commissary sunglasses indoors. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he explained that he had two medical memos; one issued October 19, 2018 for solar shields provided by Connections and one for wearing commissary sunglasses due to extreme light sensitivity. (Id.) Brady-Downes allegedly called Nurse Amy who told Brady-Downes there was no memo for Plaintiff to wear commissary sunglasses. (Id.) Plaintiff was found guilty and his sunglasses were seized. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he was in pain from the fluorescent lights located throughout the prison. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he was taken to an eye doctor in 2019 and doctors ordered the continuation of frequent eyedrops and wearing shades at all times. (Id.)

         On April 1, 2019, Plaintiff received a disciplinary write-up from Defendant Correctional Officer Michael Q. Stanford ("Stanford") for wearing sunglasses. (Id.) When Stanford asked Plaintiff to remove the sunglasses, Plaintiff explained they were prescribed by medical and Stanford again told Plaintiff to remove the glasses. (Id.) Another officer told Stanford that Plaintiff had a medical memo and Nurse Amy specifically told Stanford that Plaintiff had a medical memo for the wearing of commissary sunglasses that did not expire until April 16, 2019. (Id. at 6-7). Stanford ordered Plaintiff to remove the glasses and told Plaintiff he was writing him up. (Id. at 7).

         Plaintiff alleges that he has two medical memos for solar shields, but he uses the commissary shades because they make things darker than the solar shields provided by medical. (Id.) He alleges that both Defendants knew of the medical memos and both had access to medical staff and the shared medical drive. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he pleaded with both Defendants not to write him up due to the fact that he would no longer be able to wear glasses without continually receiving write-ups for violation of prison rules. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges Defendants wanted to cause him pain. (Id.)

         He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 8)


         A. Legal Standards

         A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) if "the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Ball v. Famiglio,726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (In forma pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). The Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to a pro se plaintiff. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny,515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his ...

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