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Pirtle v. Ahmed

March 8, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, Chief District Judge


Plaintiff, an inmate in the Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered his initial partial filing fee as ordered.

To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(f) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint and other pleadings into numbered counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future filings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: Against Defendants Ahmed and unknown nurses for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.

COUNT 2: Against Defendants Goforth and Murry for retaliating against Plaintiff for filing grievances by denying or ignoring his grievances.

COUNT 3: Against unspecified Defendants for violations of due process in the denying of grievances.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). After evaluating Plaintiff's claims individually, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under Section 1915A to dismiss those claims that are frivolous before allowing Plaintiff to proceed with his remaining claims. See House v. Belford, 956 F.2d 711, 718-19 (7th Cir. 1992).


Plaintiff states that he suffers from sleep apnea and must use a breathing machine when he sleeps. When he arrived at Menard Correctional Center, Plaintiff requested a breathing, or CPAP, machine. He had been issued one at the St. Clair County Jail where he was housed prior to his transfer. Defendant Ahmed told Plaintiff that he did not believe that Plaintiff had the condition and that he was just trying to get the state to spend money. He told Plaintiff to lose some weight and sent him back to his cell. At Plaintiff's request, Plaintiff's family compiled his medical records documenting the condition and mailed them to the Illinois Department of Corrections in Springfield, but no action was taken. Plaintiff states that he attempted to give his medical records to Defendant Ahmed, but Ahmed refused to accept both the records and documentation of CPAP usage at the St. Clair County Jail. Plaintiff states that Defendant Ahmed was hateful, verbally combative, and abusive with Plaintiff about the CPAP machine. Plaintiff states that unknown Defendants, nurses in the Menard Health Care Unit, told Plaintiff they did not believe he needed a breathing machine and that the state would not issue one. Plaintiff states that without the CPAP machine his health problems have gotten worse. Plaintiff alleges that this treatment constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

The Supreme Court has recognized that "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners" may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994). This encompasses a broader range of conduct than intentional denial of necessary medical treatment, but it stops short of "negligen[ce] in diagnosing or treating a medical condition." Estelle, 429 U.S. ...

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