United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Amarillo Division
JONAS COTHRON, TDCJ-CID No. 920440, Plaintiff,
JUDITH THOMAS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION DISMISSING CIVIL RIGHTS
MATTHEW J. KACSMARYK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
JONAS COTHRON, acting pro se and while a prisoner
incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Institutional Division, has filed suit pursuant to Title 42,
United States Code, Section 1983 complaining against the
above-referenced defendants and has been granted permission
to proceed in forma pauperis. For the following reasons,
plaintiffs civil rights complaint is DISMISSED.
prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional
facility brings an action with respect to prison conditions
under any federal law, the Court may evaluate the complaint
and dismiss it without service of process, AH v.
Higgs, 892 F.2d 438, 440 (5th Cir. 1990), if it is
frivolous,  malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A; 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The same standards will
support dismissal of a suit brought under any federal law by
a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other
correctional facility, where such suit concerns prison
conditions. 42 U.S.C. 1997e(c)(1). A Spears hearing
need not be conducted for every pro se complaint. Wilson
v. Barrientos, 926 F.2d 480, 483 n.4 (5th Cir. 1991).
time of the complaint, plaintiff was a prisoner incarcerated
at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Clements
Unit in Amarillo, Texas, who also received treatment at the
Montford Medical Unit in the Lubbock Division of the Northern
District of Texas. (ECF No. 3). Plaintiff alleges he has
experienced "cysts" in his head since 2002.
Plaintiff claims that he was denied medical treatment to
"successfully removal all cysts on [his] head,"
over several years.
March 11, 2016, plaintiff had a biopsy and "learned the
severity" of his condition concerning his cysts.
Plaintiff asserts that the defendants-all medical personnel
responsible for his care at various stages of his
treatment-are responsible for failing to properly diagnose
and treat this condition over the years, because they had
access to his medical records, and he was unaware that his
condition was serious until after the biopsy. Plaintiff seeks
damages for defendants' "medically incompetent
decisions," which led to his undue pain and suffering.
also filed grievance forms (ECF No. 11) indicating he is
being denied treatment for a sexually transmitted disease and
bowel issues. The grievance response indicates testing was
performed and plaintiff does not have a sexually transmitted
disease and he had a colonoscopy performed on June 6, 2016,
which showed no signs of bowel cancer or polyps.
indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners
constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain' . . . proscribed by the Eighth Amendment."
Such indifference may be "manifested by prison doctors
in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison
guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical
care or intentionally interfering with the treatment once
prescribed." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
104 (1976). Deliberate indifference is defined as a failure
to act where prison officials have knowledge of a substantial
risk of serious harm to inmate health or safety. Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994). However, not every
claim of inadequate or improper medical treatment is a
violation of the Constitution, Estelle, 429 U.S. at
105. Nor does a disagreement with a doctor over the method
and result of medical treatment require a finding of
deliberate indifference. Spears v. McCotter, 766
F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985). Merely alleging that a prison
doctor should have undertaken additional diagnostic measures
or utilized an alternative method of treatment does not
elevate a claim to constitutional dimension. Varnado v.
Collins, 920 F.2d 320, 321 (5th Cir. 1991).
"[N]egligent medical care does not constitute a valid
section 1983 claim." Mendoza v. Lynaugh, 989
F.2d 191, 195 (5th Cir. 1993). Further, medical records
showing sick calls, examinations, diagnoses, and medications
may rebut an inmate's allegations of deliberate
indifference. Banuelos v. McFarland, 41 F.3d 232,
235 (5th Cir. 1995).
facts presented by plaintiff in his complaint do not show
defendants had knowledge of a substantial risk of serious
harm to plaintiffs health or safety and ignored such risk.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 825. Instead, plaintiffs allegations only
show plaintiff believes they were incompetent in failing to
perform certain tests sooner. Plaintiffs disagreement with
the defendants' course of treatment does not elevate his
claim to constitutional dimension. Varnado, 920 F.2d
at 321. At most, plaintiff has alleged medical negligence by
these defendants, if even that. Negligent or erroneous
medical treatment or judgment does not provide a basis for a
section 1983 claim. Graves v. Hampton, 1 F.3d 315,
319 (5th Cir.1993). As long as medical personnel exercise
professional medical judgment, their behavior will not
violate a prisoner's constitutional rights. See
Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 322-23 (1982). A
disagreement over the appropriate medical treatment
constitutes, at most, a possible claim of medical malpractice
appropriately addressed under state law. Estelle,
429 U.S. 97, 107-08; Varnado, 920 F.2d at 321.
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim of deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs.
reasons set forth above and pursuant to Title 28, United
States Code, sections 1915A and 1915(e)(2), as well as Title
42, United States Code, section 1997e(a), it is ORDERED that
the Civil Rights Complaint by plaintiff filed pursuant to
Title 42, United States ...