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Brown v. Wexford Health Sources

September 1, 2009


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


Plaintiff, an inmate at the Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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). 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, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, No. 08-4286, 2009 WL 2535731, at *5 (7th Cir. Aug. 20, 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Service, No. 06-4260, 2009 WL 2498580, at *2 (7th Cir. Aug. 18, 2009).


On March 25, 2007, Plaintiff filed an "Emergency Sick Call Request" to the medical unit at Lawrence Correctional Center because back pain made it difficult for him to walk. In his request, Plaintiff stated that he had tried taking ibuprofen and other non-aspirin pain relief medications, but that they were ineffective. Plaintiff requested to be examined by a medical doctor.

On March 28, 2007, a nurse came to Plaintiff's cell and gave Plaintiff some ibuprofen and a tube of analgesic cream.

On March 29, 2007, Plaintiff "declared a medical emergency" to Corrections Officer Dodd (not a defendant in this action) because his condition had worsened. Dodd reported this to his sergeant (also not a defendant) who, in turn, informed the medical unit. The sergeant informed Plaintiff that he had spoken to the medical unit and that a nurse was coming over to the housing unit with a wheel chair. Later, however, the medical unit informed the correctional officers that no one was coming over, but that Plaintiff had been issued a "medical lay-in."

On March 30, 2007, Plaintiff again declared another "medical emergency" due to his back pain. Dodd reported this to the medical unit who responded that Plaintiff was already on "medical lay-in."

On March 31, 2007, his condition becoming "critical," Plaintiff declared yet another "medical emergency." Observing Plaintiff's condition, Dodd called over to the medical unit and informed them of the situation. After talking with the medical unit, Dodd returned to Plaintiff's cell and informed Plaintiff that he had spoken to Defendant Darnold who had stated to him that Plaintiff would "just sit over in the infirmary for 23 hours because [Plaintiff] wouldn't be receiving. [anymore] medications for pain." Dodd then asked Plaintiff if he still wanted to go to the medical unit and Plaintiff responded affirmatively.

Defendant Darnold then arrived at Plaintiff's housing unit with a wheelchair. Plaintiff left his cell and "limped. haltingly" down a set of stairs. Upon witnessing Plaintiff walking, Defendant Darnold stated that "you['re] walking; you're not getting no x-ray and no muscle relaxant." Although Plaintiff was experiencing "contractions" and "spasms" in his back, Darnold pushed Plaintiff's wheelchair "recklessly" to the medical unit "like she was trying to cause [Plaintiff] more pain." Once at the infirmary, Plaintiff was instructed by Defendant Clevy to lay down in room A, bed 8. But he had to walk back to the room and make the bed there himself without any assistance from Clevy. Plaintiff did receive assistance from another inmate/patient. Defendant Clevy gave Plaintiff ibuprofen but did not give Plaintiff the muscle ...

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