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Caskey v. South Dakota State Penitentiary

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

November 9, 2017

CODY RAY CASKEY, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE PENITENTIARY; WARDEN DOOLEY, in his individual and official capacity; DR. ADAMS, in his individual and official capacity; DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; and JANE and JOHN DOE. Defendants.

          ORDER DIRECTING SERVICE IN PART AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART

          KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Cody Ray Caskey, is an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary (SDSP) in Sioux Falls. He filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1. The court screened Caskey's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and granted him leave to amend his complaint. Docket 8. Caskey now moves to amend his Complaint and add additional defendants. The court has now screened Caskey's proposed amended complaint (Docket 10) under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The court dismisses his complaint in part and directs service in part.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Caskey alleges that he has “taken Testosterone Blockers (spironolactone 25 mg) and estrogen pills (Prem[a]rin 1.25)” since he was fourteen years old. Docket 10 at 1. Caskey alleges he began by taking his mother's estrogen pills. Id. And when he was old enough, he began ordering medications online under either his female alias, Kasey Rene, or his biological name, Cody Caskey. Caskey alleges that he medicated himself for years. Id. This protocol helped him feel comfortable in his body. Id.

         Caskey alleges that he has now been off hormones for five years, and that he suffers severe suicidal tendencies and severe headaches. Id. Caskey repeatedly reported these symptoms to Medical. Id.

         Caskey alleges that his gender dysphoria is well documented. Id. at 2. But it was only recently acknowledged and has not yet been treated. Id. Caskey alleges that the SDSP makes no attempt to treat his gender dysphoria and that this lack of treatment causes his suicidal tendencies, including his suicide attempts. Id.

         Caskey claims that Dr. Adams initially denied Caskey “continuation of hormonal therapy because I was unable to provide medical records[.]” Id. at 3. Caskey alleges that Dr. Adams is aware of the gender dysphoria and symptoms, but Dr. Adams does nothing. Id. After this lawsuit was filed, Dr. Adams recommended that Caskey see an endocrinologist. Id. The Department of Health denied the request. Id. at 1. And now the request is being reviewed by the Medical Director. Id. Caskey alleges that this is only an attempt by defendants to buy time. Id.

         Caskey alleges that the Department of Health “is responsible for the actions of all their staff, including Dr. Adams and … the medical director[.]” Id. at 3. Additionally the Department of Health denied Caskey an appointment with an endocrinologist for his gender dysphoria. Id.

         Caskey alleges that “Warden Dooley has retaliated against him because of [Warden Dooley's] relationship with Dennis Lauseng, a former captain for SDSP, ” who Caskey previously sued. Id. at 2. And Caskey alleges that Warden Dooley is “responsible for his staff and their actions against [Caskey].” Id. at 3. Caskey alleges that Warden Dooley denied Caskey's grievances regarding his hormone therapy and denied Caskey an appointment with an endocrinologist. Id.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The court must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Schriener v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 774 F.3d 442, 444 (8th Cir. 2014). Civil rights and pro se complaints must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted); Bediako v. Stein Mart, Inc., 354 F.3d 835, 839 (8th Cir. 2004). Even with this construction, “a pro se complaint must contain specific facts supporting its conclusions.” Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 518 F. App'x 502, 504 (8th Cir. 2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory. Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993); Parker v. Porter, 221 F. App'x 481, 482 (8th Cir. 2007).

         A complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations . . . [but] requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “If a plaintiff cannot make the requisite showing, dismissal is appropriate.” Abdullah v. Minnesota, 261 F. App'x 926, 927 (8th Cir. 2008); Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must screen prisoner complaints and dismiss them if they are “(1) frivolous, malicious, or fail[] ...


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