United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
B. Libby United States Magistrate Judge
Larry Earl Young is a Texas inmate appearing pro se
and in forma pauperis. In this prisoner
civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Plaintiff claims that Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs in connection with
the failure to replace his broken dentures. Pending before
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (D.E. 12).
For the reasons stated herein, it is respectfully recommended
that the Court GRANT Defendants' motion.
Court has federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. This case has been referred to the undersigned
magistrate judge for case management and making
recommendations on dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
is a prisoner in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Criminal Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID). The facts giving
rise to Plaintiff's claims in this case occurred in
connection with Plaintiff's current assignment to the
Garza East Unit (GEU) in Beeville, Texas.
named the following prison officials as defendants in his
original complaint: (1) Dr. Ronald Ferrell, a dentist; and
(2) Rudy A. Martisek, Practice Manager. Plaintiff claims that
Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs by failing either to investigate or properly
advise the Dental Utilization Quality Review Committee
(Committee) about the circumstances surrounding
Plaintiff's broken dentures. After a
Spears hearing was conducted on November 16,
2017, the undersigned ordered service of Plaintiff's
complaint on Dr. Ferrell and Mr. Martisek (collectively
referred to hereinafter as “Defendants”). (D.E.
following representations relevant to Plaintiff's
deliberate indifference claims were made either in
Plaintiff's original complaint (D.E. 1) or at the
Spears hearing: Plaintiff first came into TDCJ
custody in 1993 pursuant to a drug conviction where he was
sentenced to twenty-five years' imprisonment. Around 1994
or 1995, Plaintiff had nine or ten upper teeth pulled. He
then had his missing teeth replaced in 1995 with partial
dentures prepared by the TDCJ. Plaintiff also has two bottom
teeth missing but has not replaced them with any dentures.
Plaintiff testified that, while he has no other health
problems, he eats slowly and cannot chew on certain foods
like apples or corn on the cob.
was first released on parole sometime in 1998. Plaintiff
spent the next several years either on parole or in prison.
In September 2013, Plaintiff returned to TDCJ custody on a
parole violation and was sent to the Havens Unit in
Brownwood, Texas, to participate in a six-month drug program.
In March 2014, while Plaintiff was confined at the Havens
Unit, a prison official named Officer Sikes stepped on and
broke Plaintiff's dentures while performing night rounds.
Prison officials from the Havens Unit's medical/dental
unit, however, did not replace the dentures since Plaintiff
was two weeks from being released. Plaintiff was given the
broken pieces to take home.
returned into TDCJ custody on August 5, 2016 due to a parole
violation and is currently housed in the GEU. Plaintiff
proceeded to advise Dr. Ferrell what had happened with his
dentures. Dr. Ferrell did not indicate whether Plaintiff
needed dentures and referred Plaintiff's case to the
Dental Quality Review Committee (Committee). Dr. Ferrell,
however, failed to inform the Committee exactly how his
dentures were broken. Plaintiff could not remember if Dr.
Ferrell made any recommendations to the Committee about
whether Plaintiff needed dentures. Mr. Martisek advised
Plaintiff that he would look into Plaintiff's situation
and present all relevant documents to the Committee on
Plaintiff's behalf. Mr. Martisek, however, did not
fulfill his promise, and the Committee ultimately denied
Plaintiff's request for replacement dentures.
25, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Step 1 grievance seeking to
obtain replacement dentures. (D.E. 1-1, pp. 1-2). Mr.
Martisek rejected the grievance, finding that: (1) Dr.
Ferrell had assisted with Plaintiff's request for
replacement dentures; (2) the Committee had denied the
request and instead recommended a mechanically-blended diet;
(3) Plaintiff had refused the option for a
mechanically-blended diet; and (4) the Committee had
instructed Plaintiff to resubmit his request for denture
fabrication in six months. (D.E. 1-1, p. 2). Plaintiff
subsequently filed a Step 2 grievance on September 21, 2017,
which was denied for essentially the same reasons. (D.E. 1-1,
the Committee denied Plaintiff's request for replacement
dentures, Dr. Ferrell offered to help Plaintiff with his
mechanically-blended diet. Plaintiff acknowledged at the
Spears hearing, however, that he had refused to be
placed on such a diet. Plaintiff is currently on a regular
meal plan. He experiences difficulty eating his food in a
timely manner and cannot chew his meals properly. He further
states that his weight fluctuates up and down.
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Subsequent Telephone
January 5, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Federal Ruled of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and
12(b)(6). (D.E. 12). Plaintiff subsequently filed ...