IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
April 19, 2006
STEPHEN OBIEKWE, #A026435165, PLAINTIFF,
GINO WONG, DALE VORBRICH, A. KINDER, UNION COUNTY HOSPITAL, AND UNKNOWN STAFF, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, Chief District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, formerly an inmate in the Tri-County Detention 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 was not required to pay an initial partial filing fee.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is legally frivolous and, thus, subject to summary dismissal.
Plaintiff seeks damages of $500,000 from each individual defendant and $1,000,000 in damages from the Union County Hospital for "negligence, medical malpractice and intentional infliction of emotional distress." He alleges that Defendants "failed to acquire a complete and thorough medical history, and failed to recognize signs and symptoms of [his] severe injuries," thus resulting in a delay in diagnosis. This is the sum and substance of the complaint; Plaintiff neither references any particular conditions or symptoms that afflicted him nor identifies what actions Defendants did or did not undertake as part of his medical care.
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. at 106. In fact, the Seventh Circuit has consistently noted that "medical malpractice in the form of an incorrect diagnosis or improper treatment does not state an Eighth Amendment claim." Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1374 (7th Cir. 1997). See also Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 590 (7th Cir. 1996) ("Mere negligence or even gross negligence does not constitute deliberate indifference."); Jones v. Simek, 193 F.3d 485, 489 (7th Cir. 1999); Steele v. Choi, 82 F.3d 175, 178 (7th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 897 (1996); Sellers v. Henman, 41 F.3d 1100, 1103 (7th Cir. 1994).
Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to find that any Defendant violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights with respect to his medical treatment. In summary, Plaintiff's complaint does not survive review under § 1915A, and this action is DISMISSED with prejudice. Plaintiff is advised that the dismissal of this action will count as one of his three allotted "strikes" under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
G. PATRICK MURPHY Chief United States District Judge
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