United States District Court, D. Delaware
Arthur Biggins, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
NOREIKA, U.S. District Judge
James Arthur Biggins (“Plaintiff), an inmate at the
James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (“JTVCC”) in
Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et
seq. and the Rehabilitation Act (“Rehab
Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 101. (D.I. 3). He appears
pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (D.I. 5). The Court proceeds to screen
the Complaint (D.I. 3) and its amendment (D.I. 7), construed
as the operative pleading, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a).
Complaint contains two counts and names thirty defendants.
Count I alleges cruel and unusual punishment in violation of
the Eighth Amendment and Count II alleges unequal treatment
in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
complains of the medication dispensing policy at the JTVCC
and alleges that on four or five occasions he did not receive
his prescribed morning medications. Plaintiff alleges the
first incident occurred on May 25, 2019, when he awoke and
prepared himself for the morning medical call “that is
usual between 2:45 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.” (D.I. 3 ¶
31). Plaintiff waited until after 4:00 a.m. and asked
Defendant Sergeant Maeshack (“Maeshack”) if
“they called medication yet.” (Id.).
Maeshack told Plaintiff that meds had been called over an
hour ago and Plaintiff replied that medication could not have
been called because Plaintiff is housed in the first cell and
he would have heard the call. (Id.). Plaintiff asked
about getting his medication, but no one called the infirmary
for him. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Nurse Amanda (“Amanda”) is the individual who
failed to give him his morning medications. (Id.
alleges that on or about May 28, 2019,  he awoke and
waited for the medication call, and he did not receive his
medications. (Id. ¶ 32). At breakfast,
Plaintiff spoke to Defendant C/O Alexander
(“Alexander”) and asked her, “had they
called meds yet?” (Id.). Alexander first
answered yes, and then told Plaintiff to ask Maeshack who
“handles all that stuff.” (Id.).
Plaintiff alleges Alexander indicated she would call the
infirmary after breakfast so that Plaintiff could receive his
medication, and that he “never was called.”
alleges that on June 2, 2019, he awoke and prepared himself
for the medication call at 2:45 a.m. or 3:00 a.m.
(Id. ¶ 33). Plaintiff saw Defendant C/O. Gomez
(“Gomez”) and assumed medication had been called
and returned to his cell to wait for the medication.
(Id.). When Plaintiff had not received his
medication, he asked Gomez about it and Gomez told Plaintiff
he had “called meds about an hour ago.”
(Id.). Plaintiff responded that he had been up quite
early and had not heard anyone call medication.
(Id.). Gomez then told Alexander and Defendants C/O
Holcombe (“Holcombe”), C/O Ingram
(“Ingram”), C/O Taylor (“Taylor”),
and C/O Kobus (“Kobus”) that “he had an
inmate . . . [who] was arguing with him about not getting his
meds.” (Id. ¶ 35).
had breakfast and sometime after 6:00 a.m. Gomez, Alexander
and Defendant C/O Cumington “(Cumington”) came to
Plaintiff and asked him if he wanted them to see if he could
still get his morning medication. (Id. ¶¶
36-39). Plaintiff replied “no, ” that it was too
late now. (Id. ¶ 40). Plaintiff explained that
he should have been sent to the infirmary early, that three
hours had now passed, and knowing he had not received his
morning medication correctional officers are supposed to
automatically call the infirmary. (Id.). Plaintiff
complained to Cumington that the procedures and policies to
make sure an inmate receive his medication were not being
followed. (Id. ¶ 45).
that morning, Plaintiff spoke to Defendant Squeaz
(“Squeaz”) about the morning's events and
asked Squeaz to call the infirmary so that Plaintiff could
receiving his morning medication with his mid-day medication,
and Squeaz said he would. (Id. ¶ 46). Later
Squeaz told Plaintiff he had made the call and spoke to
Amanda who told Squeaz, “no.” (Id.
¶ 47). Plaintiff alleges that Squeaz did nothing to see
that Plaintiff received his medication. (Id.).
Plaintiff alleges that policy and procedures required Squeaz
to contact the shift commander and inform him of the refusal
to dispense Plaintiff's medication. (Id. ¶
48). In turn, the shift commander is supposed to contact the
medical provider regional medical director. (Id.).
Plaintiff alleges that Squeaz retaliated against him
“for protecting the First Amendment rights.”
evening, Plaintiff received his night medication from Amanda.
(Id. ¶ 49). Plaintiff asked her why he could
not receive his morning medication when she came to dispense
the midday medication and Amanda explained that if an inmate
does not receive his morning medication by 7:00 a.m., medical
is prohibited by policy from distributing that medication.
(Id. ¶ 50). Plaintiff does not believe this is
the actual policy because not many nurses follow it.
(Id.). Plaintiff alleges that JTVCC and Delaware
Department of Correction (“DOC”) policies mandate
that correctional officers assigned to their buildings waste
no time in calling the infirmary for inmates to get their
medications. (D.I. 3 at 4, n.1).
alleges that on June 12, 2019, he left the chow hall around
6:00 p.m. and noticed that the night nurse was also leaving
but no one had called medication for the upstairs half of the
building. (D.I. 7 ¶ 51). Plaintiff caught up with the
nurse and she told Plaintiff that she was done dispensing the
medication. (Id.). Plaintiff told the nurse that he
had been eating and no one had notified him of the medication
call. (Id. ¶ 52). The nurse dispensed
Plaintiff's medication before she left. (Id.
alleges that on June 25, 2019, he awoke at 2:10 a.m. to
prepare himself to get his morning medication. (Id.
¶ 58). Plaintiff alleges that a little after 4:00 a.m.,
he asked Ingram if he had called medication yet and Ingram
indicated that he had. (Id. ¶ 58). Plaintiff
explained that he had not heard anything. (Id.).
Ingram replied, “well somebody else came off” and
continued what he was doing. (Id.). Plaintiff later
spoke to another inmate about the medication call and was
told that it is hard to hear Ingram because “he never
calls loud.” (Id. ¶ 59).
alleges that the policy illustrates a complete denial to
administer medication, results in Plaintiff having
unnecessary pain and suffering, and does not serve a
justifiable penological purpose. (D.I. 3 ¶ 50).
Plaintiff alleges that the parties involved demonstrated that
they are willfully acting with a sufficiently culpable state
of mind in risking his daily health and safety and placing
Plaintiff under imminent danger. (Id. ¶ 51).
submitted two grievances on May 30, 2019. The first, sought
an investigation of staff regarding the failure to distribute
Plaintiff's medications. (D.I. 3-1 at 2-3). The grievance
was returned as unprocessed by Defendant Informal Grievance
Chair Matthew Dutton (“Dutton”). (Id. at
2). The returned grievance advised Plaintiff to write to his
Unit Commander with his request for an investigation of the
actions of staff personnel. (Id. at 5).
second, a medical grievance, complained that Plaintiff was
not receiving his prescribed medication, inquired why
Plaintiff was not called for morning medications, and
complained that the policy as designed is useless. (D.I. 3-2
at 2, 3). The medical grievance was received by the medical
unit on June 5, 2019. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff alleges
that Amanda was aware of the grievance filed against her.
(D.I. 3 at 7, n.4).
seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as
compensatory and punitive damages. (D.I. 3 ...