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Gilbert v. Pearl

January 7, 2009

ROBERT GILBERT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RUSSEL K. PEARL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court for review of Plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Also before the Court are Defendant Beck's motion to vacate default judgment (Doc. 57), and Plaintiff's motions for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 83), and for appointment of counsel (Doc. 84).

I. BACKGROUND

On May 10, 2007, Plaintiff, who was then confined at the Cook County Jail, filed a handwritten, pro se civil complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In his pro se complaint, Plaintiff sought monetary relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 from Dr. Russel K. Pearl, M.D., and Dr. Minh Luu, M.D., for alleged violations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. The Honorable Joan H. Lefkow, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Judge Lefkow also conducted a threshold review of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A and found that Plaintiff's complaint "articulated a colorable federal cause of action" that Defendants Pearl and Luu had violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs when Plaintiff sought treatment for an anal fistula at Stroger Hospital.

Judge Lefkow appointed counsel to represent Plaintiff and, on January 22, 2008, Plaintiff's appointed counsel filed Plaintiff's first amended complaint. The first amended complaint did not seek relief against either Defendant Pearl or Defendant Luu. In fact, Defendants Pearl and Luu are not even named as defendants in the caption of the first amended complaint. Accordingly, Defendants Pearl and Luu are no longer defendants in this action.

Instead, the first amended complaint asserted two new counts. Count 1 of the first amended complaint sought injunctive relief against Defendants Roger E. Walker, Jr., Daniel L. Austin, and Olukenye Obadina for allegedly denying Plaintiff adequate medical care for his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment while he was confined at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. Count 2 of the first amended complaint sought monetary damages against Defendants Adrian D. Feinerman, Mary Loftin, and M. Hytham I. Beck for allegedly denying Plaintiff adequate medical care for his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment while he was confined at Menard Correctional Center and Lawrence Correctional Center.

Shortly after filing it, however, Plaintiff dismissed Count 1 of the first amended complaint. Accordingly, Defendants Walker, Austin, and Obadina were dismissed from this action. As a result, only Count 2 of the first amended complaint remains and only against Defendants Feinerman, Loftin, and Beck.

On April 16, 2008, Plaintiff moved for a default judgment against Defendant Beck. The docket sheet indicates that on April 22, 2008, after a hearing, Judge Lefkow granted Plaintiff's motion for a default judgment against Defendant Beck.

On July 16, 2008, Defendant Beck moved to vacate the default judgment.

On July 17, 2008, Judge Lefkow granted the motions of Defendants Feinerman and Loftin to transfer the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Judge Lefkow, however, stayed the transfer for 14 days to allow Plaintiff's appointed counsel time to consult with his client and to inform the court whether appointed counsel would seek leave to withdraw.

On July 24, 2008, Judge Lefkow granted Defendant Beck's motion to vacate the default judgment.

On July 31, 2008, however, Judge Lefkow vacated her order vacating the default judgment. While Judge Lefkow reinstated the default judgment, Judge Lefkow did not deny Defendant Beck's motion to vacate the default judgment. Instead, Judge Lefkow simply reinstated Defendant Beck's motion. At the same time, Judge Lefkow granted the motion of Plaintiff's appointed counsel to withdraw from this case and stayed transfer of this case to this Court until August 15, 2008.

On August 28, 2008, the case was finally transferred to this Court. At the time it was transferred, Defendant Beck's motion to vacate the default judgment was still pending. After the case was transferred to this Court, Plaintiff filed motions to proceed ...


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