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FORD v. PAGE

April 27, 2001

BOBBY FORD, PLAINTIFF,
V.
WARDEN JAMES H. PAGE, ASST. WARDEN MONTGOMERY, SUPT. JOHN THOMAS, INVESTIGATOR STEWART, LT. MCBRIDE, GEORGIA SCHONAUER/GRIEVANCE OFFICER, COUNSELOR D. LUCE, A. JOHNSON, C/O KING, M. THOMPSON, LT. JACKSON, LEORA HARRY, C/O SELMON, JIM SIMMONS, SGT. HOLLINGSWORTH, DIRECTOR SNYDER, C/O D. VOIGHTS, MED-TECH ADAMS, C/O SPENCER, C/O AUTUMN, C/O'S UNKNOWN AND ALL OTHER KNOWN AND UNKNOWN OFFICIALS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge United States District Court.

  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Bobby Ford, currently an inmate at the Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On October 2, 2000, the court dismissed Ford's claims in regard to a disciplinary hearing and in regard to defendants allegedly denying Ford's grievances. Defendants Georgia Schonauer, D. Luce, M. Thompson, A. Johnson, Leora Harry, Director Snyder, and Jim Simmons were accordingly dismissed from this action. The court allowed Ford to proceed in forma pauperis on his remaining claims against the remaining defendants.

Defendants James Page, Jesse Montgomery, John Thomas, Rodney Stewart, Leonta Jackson, Anthony Selmon, Vincent Hollingsworth, Daniel Voights, John Adams, Raphael Spencer, and Bukari Autman*fn1 have filed a motion to dismiss, to which Ford has responded.

I. Standard of Review

The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits. Gibson v. Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). Federal notice pleading requires only that the plaintiff "set out in her complaint a short and plain statement of the claim that will provide the defendant with fair notice of the claim." Scott v. City of Chicago, 195 F.3d 950, 951 (7th Cir. 1999). When ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court assumes that well-pleaded allegations are true and draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 845 (7th Cir. 1999), cert denied, 530 U.S. 1234 (2000). This rule has particular force when considering the allegations of a pro se complaint, which are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Accordingly, pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Wilson v. Civil Town of Clayton, Ind., 839 F.2d 375, 378 (7th Cir. 1988). However, while it is often said that a claim may be dismissed only if, as a matter of law, "it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations," Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)), the Seventh Circuit has observed that this maxim "has never been taken literally." Kyle v. Morten High School, 144 F.3d 448, 455 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting Sutliff, Inc. v. Donovan Companies, Inc., 727 F.2d 648, 654 (7th Cir. 1984)). All plaintiffs — whether pro se or represented — must include in the complaint allegations concerning all material elements necessary for recovery under the relevant legal theory. Chowla v. Klapper, 743 F. Supp. 1284, 1285 (N.D. Ill. 1990).

II. Facts

The following facts are taken from Ford's complaint. The court has not included facts concerning the claims and defendants that have already been dismissed.

Ford was assigned to the I-House Segregation Unit at Stateville Correctional Center on December 3, 1999. At about l0:00 p.m., defendant D. Voights intentionally smashed Ford's left arm and hand in the solid steel door, causing a four-inch cut on his elbow and fracturing his left ring finger, which swelled permanently. Ford claims that Voights did this because Ford was taking too long to empty his garbage through the food slot.

Ford demanded immediate medical attention but Voights walked away, smiling, after seeing the blood. About 20 minutes later, defendant Lt. Jackson came but he refused to get medical attention for Ford. Rather, his main concern was to close the chuck hole. Ford refused to remove his arm because defendants have a policy of ignoring inmates once the food hatch is closed. Lt. Jackson left, denying Ford medical attention, but then returned some time later with defendant Med-tech Adams who cleaned the wound but failed to treat or document the finger injuries or place Ford on sick call for x-rays. Adams provided inadequate treatment, and later that night Ford's elbow swelled to the size of a soft ball and his finger swelled to the size of a golf ball. Although he was in great pain, he was not given any pain pills.

Voights wrote a false disciplinary report, charging Ford with assault in order to conceal Voights's assault on Ford.

On May 1, 2000, Ford called defendant Lt. McBride to his cell, complaining that the gallery officer had refused to return his laundry. McBride came to Ford's cell because Ford refused to take his arm out of the food slot. McBride left to check on the laundry. When he*fn2 returned about 45 minutes later, he told Ford that he could not find it. Ford refused to move his arm, and McBride began twisting, jerking and slamming Ford's arm into the steel doors. Several unknown correctional officers aided McBride. After they forced Ford's arm into the cell, they left and refused to get medical attention for him, although he was in great pain and requested it.

*fn2 Ford refers to McBride as "he"; however, a "Sally McBride" signed the summons. The court accordingly is unsure of the gender of defendant McBride.

Defendant C/O Spencer refused to get medical attention for Ford later that day at the 11:00 p.m. count. When Spencer was serving breakfast on the morning of May 2, Ford put his arm out the chuck hole, demanding medical attention. Spencer refused to feed Ford, call for a med-tech, or get a sergeant. After Spencer left, the other inmates began banging on their doors. Defendants Sgt. Hollingsworth, C/O Selmon, and C/O Spencer came to the gallery and Ford told Hollingsworth that he needed medical attention. Hollingsworth refused to call for medical attention and to feed Ford.

At 7:30 am., med-tech Dave told Ford to get dressed for the hospital emergency room. At the hospital, Ford was x-rayed but not given any pain pills.

On May 15, 2000, defendant McBride, aided by defendants C/O King and C/O Autman, struck Ford with his fist, cutting Ford over the left eye. They left without getting any medical attention for Ford.

At the shift change, Ford reported the assault to C/O Odate and Lt. L.C. Johnson (not defendants), who immediately had Ford taken to the hospital. Med-tech Adams wrote an incident report and called defendant Stewart of Internal Affairs, but did not treat Ford.

Ford has sprinkled numerous allegations about his conditions of confinement throughout his complaint and in a separate section, including claims that the cells are filthy and he is not given adequate cleaning supplies; soiled mattress; ventilation system that blows out contaminants; inadequate laundry service; no educational or job programs for segregation inmates; no restroom facilities on the yard; no running water in the yard during the summer; no provisions for winter clothing in the yard during the winter; broken basketball rims; half-cooked, cold, and nutritionally deficient food; mentally-ill inmates housed with other inmates. Ford avers that he suffers from a fungus, low self-esteem, psychological pain, and perception and sleep disorders as a result of these conditions.

Based on these facts, Ford has divided his complaint into eight counts: Count 1. The assault on December 3, 1999. Count 2. Deprivation of adequate medical care. Count 3. Due process violations in regard to the Adjustment Committee hearing of December 10, 1999. Count 4. The assault on May 1, 2000. Count 5. Refusal to call for immediate medical care on May 1, 2000. Count 6. Inhumane conditions of confinement. Count 7. Supervisory officials condoned, approved, sanctioned, or ignored the unconstitutional actions of their ...


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