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Requena-Villarreal v. Almeida

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Brownsville Division

March 7, 2019

ALMEIDA et al., Defendants.


          Ignacio Torteya, III United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Hector Javier Requena-Villarreal filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was denied adequate medical care while he was incarcerated. Requena-Villarreal first filed his “Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint” (hereinafter, the “Initial Complaint”) in July of 2017. Dkt. No. 1. Since then, the Court has provided Requena-Villareal multiple opportunities to clearly present his claims and provide factual support for them. See Dkt. Nos. 10, 39, 44, 48. Thus, in addition to his Initial Complaint, the Court considers the myriad letters that Requena-Villareal has submitted in an attempt to more accurately state his claims. Dkt. Nos. 1, 9, 13, 24, 37, 42, 47, 51. For the reasons provided below, it is recommended that all of Requena-Villarreal's claims be DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), and the Clerk of Court be ordered to close this case.

         I. Factual Background

         In his Initial Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) and subsequent filings, Requena-Villarreal refers to injuries sustained during his arrest and while incarcerated at two different detention facilities. After review, the Court understands Requena-Villarreal to allege the following narrative.[1]

         On June 11, 2015, Requena-Villarreal knee was injured while he was being arrested. Dkt. No. 13 at 1-2; Dkt. No. 51 at 1. Requena-Villarreal requested an ambulance, but the officers repeatedly told him that he would need to wait to receive medical attention. Dkt. No. 51 at 1. Requena-Villarreal believed he needed an ambulance to take him to a hospital because the injury “was very painful and bleeding profusely.” Id. He adds that his “left knee became swollen because [he] did not receive medical attention.” Id. He further claims that the injury became infected based on his own observation that the wound “was oozing blood and puss.” Id.

         Then, on June 15, 2015, while in custody at Detention Center Number One (“D.C. 1”) in Brownsville, Texas, Requena-Villarreal “slipped in the showers due to the injury to [his] left knee.” Dkt. No. 51 at 3. As a result of the fall, Requena-Villarreal felt “intense pain to [his] left side, hip, groin, and spinal column.” Dkt. No. 51 at 3. Requena-Villarreal “notified the officers” at D.C. 1 “as soon as the accident occurred, but they told [him] [he] had to make a written request in order for the doctor to attend” to him. Id. Three days after the fall, Requena-Villarreal was taken to a physician who provided him with 500 mg Tylenol pills and a pain-relieving cream. Id.; Dkt. No. 1 at 5. Believing that the Tylenol and pain-relieving cream were inadequate, Requena-Villarreal continued submitting requests for medical treatment.

         Requena-Villarreal complains that the prison medical staff “took their time in giving [him] . . . treatment” following his shower fall. Dkt. No. 51 at 5. He asserts that he was “damaged mentally and psychologically” because prison officials did not give him “treatment until they were told to and [Requena-Villarreal] was still suffering from swelling and intense pain.” Dkt. No. 51 at 5.

         Requena-Villarreal was then transferred to Reeves III Correctional Institution (hereinafter, “Reeves III”). In December 2015, while at Reeves III, he developed a pain in his left ear. Dkt. No. 1 at 8; Dkt. No. 51 at 10. He was sent to see Donald Hubbard[2]the morning after notifying the guards of his pain. Id. Hubbard told Requena-Villarreal that the cause of the pain “was a garbage/object inside [his] ear.” Dkt. No. 13 at 7 (errors in original). Hubbard provided Requena-Villarreal with ear drops, and instructed Requena-Villarreal to come back in a few days “so that a nurse could wash out [his] ear.” Dkt. No. 1 at 8; Dkt. No. 51 at 10.

         During his follow up visit with Hubbard, Requena-Villareal was told that medical staff “would pull out the debris [he] had in [his] left ear.” Dkt. No. 51 at 10. Hubbard then used a medical instrument to remove something from Requena-Villarreal's ear. Id. Requena-Villarreal states that he “felt intense pain and heard a loud buzzing to the point that [his] eyes sight blacked out” when the debris was removed. Id. (errors in original). When he told Hubbard that he “couldn't stand the pain and the loud buzzing” and asked for medication, Hubbard responded “that for the moment he was not going to give [Requena-Villarreal] anything” and that “he would call [Requena-Villarreal] later . . . to set up another appointment.” Id. at 11.

         Requena-Villarreal made multiple requests to see a doctor following this incident. He was provided “pain medication, a Tylenol Pill #3, drops for the infection and an anti-inflammatory.” Dkt. No. 51 at 12. Requena-Villarreal also made requests to see an ear, nose, and throat (“ENT”) specialist because “the problem with [his] ear worsened every passing day.” Dkt. No. 51 at 14. In response to his requests, Requena-Villarreal was told he had to wait until the requests for off-site treatment had been authorized. Dkt. No. 1 at 28, 31.

         On December 20, 2016, Requena-Villarreal was taken to see an ENT specialist. Dkt. No. 51 at 15; see also Dkt. No. 1 at 36. During that appointment, an audiologist determined that Requena-Villarreal had “hearing loss on [his] left ear.” Dkt. No. 1 at 36. As a result, “[a]n outside consult for a hearing aid [was] submitted pending approval.” Id. That request was approved on February 8, 2017. Dkt. No. 1 at 40. Requena-Villarreal was told that he would be “on call out to receive” the hearing aid once it was purchased. Id. It is unclear from the record whether Requena-Villarreal received the hearing aid before his release from federal custody.

         II. Procedural History

         On July 17, 2017, while still incarcerated, Requena-Villarreal filed his Initial Complaint against the United States.[3] Dkt. No. 1. Then, pursuant to a Court Order (Dkt. No. 6), Requena-Villarreal filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Dkt. No. 9). The Court granted Requena-Villarreal's Application, and in the same Order, instructed him “to re-plead his claims to state definite causes of action against specific individuals or entities.” Dkt. No. 10 at 1. Requena-Villarreal filed a response (hereinafter, Requena-Villarreal's “First Clarification”). Dkt. No. 13. In his First Clarification, Requena-Villarreal listed additional parties against whom he intended to bring suit. Id. The Court ordered then issued summons to each of the named defendants. See Dkt. No. 14 at 1.

         Lieutenant Flores, one of the defendants named in the First Clarification, filed a Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. No. 19. Lt. Flores' primary contentions are that Requena-Villarreal “has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” and that he has “failed to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act.” Id. at 5.

         Hubbard was also named as a defendant in Requena-Villarreal's First Clarification. Dkt. No. 13. However, Hubbard has not been able to receive authorization from Requena-Villarreal to access his medical information, [4] and consequently, has not filed a responsive pleading. No. other defendants have filed an answer or otherwise responded to this lawsuit.

         Since his First Clarification, Requena-Villarreal has attempted to clarify the scope of his lawsuit, the nature of his claims, and the underlying factual basis for his claims many times.[5] After receiving each of these distinct, sometimes convoluted narratives from Requena-Villarreal, the Court issued an Order for More Definite Statement (hereinafter, the Court's “Questionnaire”). Dkt. No. 48. In order to “properly evaluate the merits of this action and determine the scope of his lawsuit, ” the Court ordered Requena-Villarreal “to submit ...

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