United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. HANKS JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Arnold Horton, a state inmate at the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice-Correctional Institutions Division
(“TDCJ”), filed a complaint (Dkt. 1) alleging
injuries from a botched medical operation at John Sealy
Hospital in Galveston. Because Horton is a prisoner
proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required
by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) to
scrutinize the pleadings. The Court must dismiss the case, in
whole or in part, if it determines that the action is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or “seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, § 1915(e)(2)(B). After reviewing
all of the pleadings and the applicable law, the Court
concludes that this case must be DISMISSED
for the reasons that follow.
brings this suit against two defendants: John Sealy Hospital
and Jeanette Liu, a doctor who performed surgery on him at
John Sealy Hospital. He alleges that, in 2003, Dr. Liu
diagnosed him with “left side torticollis and spinal
stenosis” and told him that surgery would be necessary
(Dkt. 1, at 2). He states that Dr. Liu performed surgery on
him in July 2004 that, after surgery, Plaintiff had stitches
on the right side of his neck, rather than the left
(id. at 2-3). He alleges Dr. Liu told him that she
had performed “exploratory surgery” on his right
side and would schedule him for “corrective
surgery” but that, when he returned for
“corrective surgery” in August or September 2004,
“some other procedure was performed dealing with his
spine” (id. at 3). He claims that at the
second surgery, a defective “adhesive patch” was
placed on his scalp, and that in October 2004
“emergency surgery had to be performed to remove the
defective patch as spinal fluid had started to leak from the
wound” (id. at 3-4). Finally, he alleges that
during a subsequent three-month hospitalization, he
contracted a staph infection (id. at 4).
identifies his injuries from the surgeries as
“permanently handicapped for life, ” limited neck
mobility, limited head mobility, and inability to raise his
right arm more than “halfway up” (id.).
He claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs and seeks $10, 000 in damages
(id. at 5).
1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, provides a vehicle for a claim
against a person “acting under color of state law,
” such as a state prison official, for a constitutional
violation. See Pratt v. Harris Cnty., Tex., 822 F.3d
174, 180 (5th Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted); Townsend v. Moya, 291 F.3d 859,
861 (5th Cir. 2002). Horton states that he was, at all
relevant times, a convicted felon in state prison (Dkt. 1, at
2). His claims regarding medical care therefore are governed
by the Eighth Amendment prohibition against “cruel and
unusual” conditions of confinement. Rhodes
v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346 (1981); see
Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 33 (1993) (the Eighth
Amendment “requires that inmates be furnished with the
basic human needs, one of which is ‘reasonable
rights claims under § 1983 are governed by the two-year
statute of limitations provided by Texas law. See Winfrey
v. Rogers, 882 F.3d 187, 196 (5th Cir. 2018); Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a). This means that
Horton had two years from the time that his claims accrued to
file a civil rights complaint concerning his allegations. The
two-year limitations period “begins to run when the
plaintiff ‘knows or has reason to know of the injury
which is the basis of the action.'” Heilman v.
City of Beaumont, 638 Fed.Appx. 363, 366 (5th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Burrell v. Newsome, 883 F.2d 416, 418 (5th
claims that he was injured by two medical operations in 2004
and a subsequent hospital stay, and that he was immediately
aware of the injuries about which he now complains (Dkt. 1,
at 3-4). His claims therefore accrued in 2004 or possibly,
depending on the timing of his three-month hospitalization,
in early 2005. The two-year statute of limitations expired,
at the latest, in 2007. See Tex. Civ. Prac. &
Rem. Code § 16.003(a). However, Horton did not file his
complaint in this suit until April 11, 2018. Because Horton
waited more than two years to file suit from the time his
claims accrued, his complaint is untimely and subject to
dismissal as legally frivolous. See Gartell v.
Gaylor, 981 F.2d 254, 256 (5th Cir. 1993). Accordingly,
this case will be dismissed as frivolous pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
on the foregoing, the Court ORDERS as
1. The complaint (Dkt. 1) is DISMISSED with
prejudice as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
2. The dismissal will count as a “strike” for
purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Clerk will provide a copy of this order to the parties and to
the Manager of the Three-Strikes List ...