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Winfrey v. Walker

February 12, 2010


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


Plaintiff Cornelius Winfrey, an inmate in the Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before, the Court, first, is Winfrey's motion for leave to file an amended complaint (Doc. 7). In his motion, Winfrey seeks to add four new defendants to this action. However, he did not submit a copy of his proposed amended complaint with his motion as required in this District. Local Rule 15.1; see FED.R.CIV.P. 15. Accordingly, this motion is DENIED without prejudice.

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, 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.


Winfrey divides his complaint into four separate counts: (1) deliberate indifference/exhaustion of legal remedies; (2) physical injuries; (3) cruel and unusual punishment; and (4) evidence. However, each of these counts is based upon the same factual allegations, as described here.

In the late 1980s, Winfrey was in a motorcycle accident. Due to injuries received in that accident, he must wear a back brace, and he needs to walk with a cane. He arrived at Pinckneyville on December 24, 2007, and he did not receive an immediate medical evaluation. Therefore, for a period of one month (December 24, 2007, through January 29, 2008), he was required to walk from his cell to the shower and to the dining hall without either of these physical aids. At some point, he slipped and fell in the shower; another time, he fell during the walk to the dining hall.

At some point in February of 2008, Obadina did a medical evaluation. At that time, Winfrey received a cane and a back brace, but he was not listed as physically challenged. Thus, he was assigned to a standard cell, and he was not given access to the disabled-access shower. Winfrey complained in writing about his medical needs to Defendants Hill, Rogers, Lane and Barge, with little success. Winfrey then filed grievances over these issues, which were presented to Defendants Kisro, Benton, Merchant, Wilts, Fritts, Walker and Hartline.

Based upon these events, Winfrey alleges that all defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

A deliberate indifference claim requires both an objectively serious risk of harm and a subjectively culpable state of mind. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005). A deliberate indifference claim premised upon inadequate medical treatment requires, to satisfy the objective element, a medical condition "that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would perceive the need for a doctor's attention." Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653. The subjective component of a deliberate indifference claim requires that the prison official knew of "a substantial risk of harm to the inmate and disregarded the risk." Id.; Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Mere medical malpractice or a disagreement with a doctor's medical judgment is not deliberate indifference. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976); Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653; Estate of Cole by Pardue v. Fromm, 94 F.3d 254, 261 (7th Cir. 1996). Still, a plaintiff's receipt of some medical care does not automatically defeat a ...

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