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Sulton v. Ravanam

April 10, 2008


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


Plaintiff, an inmate in the Menard Correctional Center (MCC), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.


Plaintiff alleges that on May 20, 2005, he awoke with a sharp burning pain in his stomach. After he awoke, Plaintiff had a bowel movement that was "black-green" and runny. Plaintiff was taken to the health care unit (HCU) at MCC where he was examined by Nurse Griffin, who began taking Plaintiff's blood pressure, placed Plaintiff on an EKG, and administered a blood sugar test. During this examination, Defendant Ravanam entered the HCU and asked what was going on. Dr. Ravanam asked Plaintiff whether he had taken all of his medication for the day. Plaintiff responded that he had not taken all of his prescribed medication because it was not yet time for him to take some of the medication, but that he had taken what he was supposed to have taken. Plaintiff went on to assert that it was the medication that was making him sick and that he had been complaining about pain in his stomach for eight or nine months. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Ravanam became upset and said "This is what's wrong now around here, these inmates telling the doctors and nurses whats [sic] wrong, and the things that we should doing [sic]." Plaintiff contends that Dr. Ravanam told the nurses to get Plaintiff out of the HCU, to have him take his prescribed medication, and to get him locked back in his cell.

Plaintiff alleges that shortly after being escorted back to his cell, he fainted and fell to the floor. Plaintiff was taken back to the HCU and examined by Dr. Ravanam. Plaintiff was then transferred to Memorial Hospital in Chester, Illinois, where he was treated for a bleeding ulcer. Plaintiff remained hospitalized for three days and contends that he suffers from long-term health consequences caused by the bleeding ulcer. Liberally construing the complaint, Plaintiff contends that he was denied adequate medical care in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.


Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915A 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. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) contains similar screening criteria for complaints filed in forma pauperis. 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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

Upon review, Plaintiff may, for the time being, proceed against Defendant Ravanam for denying him adequate medical care on May 20, 2005, in violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights (this is barely plausible as alleged). Defendants Feinerman, Wexford Health Care Source (Wexford), Ahmed, Pratte, Illinois Department of Health (IDOH), Walker, Hohring, and Uchtman, however, should be dismissed from this action. "The doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to § 1983 actions; thus to be held individually liable, a defendant must be 'personally responsible for the deprivation of a constitutional right.'" Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001), quoting Chavez v. Ill. State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001); see also Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Eades v. Thompson, 823 F.2d 1055, 1063 (7th Cir. 1987); Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir. 1983); Duncan v. Duckworth, 644 F.2d 653, 655-56 (7th Cir. 1981)Here, Plaintiff is attempting to hold Defendants Feinerman, Wexford, Ahmed, Pratte, IDOH, Walker, Hohring, and Uchtman liable only because they were in a supervisory relationship with Defendant Ravanam. There is no indication that these Defendants knew about or condoned Dr. Ravanam's alleged actions on May 25, 2005. Furthermore, Plaintiff's claim against the IDOH is barred because "neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities are 'persons' under § 1983." Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); see also Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2001) (Eleventh Amendment bars suits against states in federal court for money damages); Billman v. ...

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