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Ramirez v. Watts

August 23, 2006

JOSE RAMIREZ, INMATE #61217-079, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARRELL WATTS, G.L. HERSHBERGER, E.A. STEPP, TERRY S. BAKKE, J. KRUGER, AUGUSTINE F. LI, J.F. CASTILLO, M. CROSS, R. DAVIS, H. LAPPIN, H. LYLE, KATHLEEN HAWK SAWYER, AND C. WELCH, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Plaintiff previously was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered his initial partial filing fee as ordered.

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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that none of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff states that from the beginning of his stay at USP-Marion in November 2000, he has suffered from osteoarthritis, degnerative tears of the meniscus in both knees, and damage to the anticular curciate ligament of the right knee. These conditions cause unbearable and extreme pain and instability to the point of causing Plaintiff to fall. He is restricted from the normal activities of sports, running, climbing, but he is also unable to walk without pain or fear of falling. Plaintiff states that all defendants were responsible for denying Plaintiff medical treatment for his knees, causing further deterioration, discomfort, and progressive swelling, pain and inflexibility.

Beginning in 2001, Plaintiff wrote letters to Defendant Hawk-Sawyer, Director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, requesting medical treatment from Defendants Bakke and Li. He received no response. Defendants Bakke and Li denied Plaintiff medical treatment for his knee problems between February 2001 and March 2002 and denied any medication for pain. Defendant Stepp denied Plaintiff proper medical treatment between February 2001 and March 2002 and refused to provide him with proper housing for his disabilities. Defendant Castillo "observed" Plaintiff's right knee and denied Plaintiff's requests to see an orthopaedic specialist. The conduct of Defendants Bakke, Stepp, Li, and Castillo to delay treatment caused further deterioration to his knees.

On November 13, 2001, Plaintiff requested treatment for his knees. Defendant Li informed Plaintiff that he would be placed on a list to see a specialist. Plaintiff's grievances requesting treatment were denied. Plaintiff states that his knees finally "gave out on him," the right one on April 15, 2002, and the left on May 4, 2002, both before he received any treatment. Plaintiff claims that the delay in treatment contributed to the deterioration of his knees.

Plaintiff saw Dr. Morgan (not a defendant) on February 8, 2002. He recommended surgery. Between that date and a July 2002 appointment with Dr. Morgan, an MRI of Plaintiff's left knee showed a "tear involving the posterior aspect of the left medial meniscus" and an MRI of the right knee showed "edema changes and a partial tear of the anterior curciate ligament" and a "tear involving the posterior aspect of the right medial meniscus."

In October 2002, Plaintiff was transferred to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. On January 3, 2003, Dr. Marion L. Wolf (not a defendant) performed surgery on the right knee and on ...


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