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Randle v. Vitale

March 24, 2010

ANWAR RANDLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RON VITALE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Anwar Randle, formerly an inmate in the Centralia and Southwestern Illinois Correctional Centers, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court previously reviewed the complaint, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, dismissed one defendant, and found that three of the five claims should be severed into separate actions. Randle was given thirty days to voluntarily dismiss those claims, but he did not respond. Therefore, in a separate order entered today, three claims were severed into three new actions. The only claims remaining in this action are against Defendant Santos.

THE COMPLAINT

In May 2008, while at the Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center, Randle was allegedly subjected to physical torment by the tactical team. Specifically, Randle was required to site in a restrictive restraint position for several hours, which caused injuries to his neck and back. That incident is the subject of a prior lawsuit pending before this Court, and thus is not at issue in this action. See Randle v. Davison, Case No. 08-cv-856-DRH (S.D. Ill., filed Dec. 9, 2008). After that incident, while still at Southwestern, Randle received medical treatment as well as counseling for his injuries. In January 2009, Randle was transferred to Centralia. At Centralia he was assigned to bunks with spring supports, and he quickly began to experience back pain. He saw Defendant Santos, who prescribed pain medication but denied Randle's request for a flat bunk or a board to place under his mattress.

While still at Southwestern, Randle was exposed to multiple individuals who were infected with communicable diseases, such as scabies, hepatitis, and staph infections. In late 2008, shortly before his transfer to Centralia, Randle contracted some form of skin condition that manifested itself as painful, itching inflammation and rashes. Randle believes that officials at Southwestern did not take appropriate action to prevent the spread of these infectious conditions. He also alleges that at Centralia, Defendant Santos did not provide adequate medical treatment for this condition.*fn1

COUNT 1

Randle's first claim is that Defendant Santos acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs with respect to his injuries sustained in the May 13, 2008, incident.

The Supreme Court has recognized that "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners" may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994). This encompasses a broader range of conduct than intentional denial of necessary medical treatment, but it stops short of "negligen[ce] in diagnosing or treating a medical condition." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. See also Jones v. Simek, 193 F.3d 485, 489 (7th Cir. 1999); Steele v. Choi, 82 F.3d 175, 178 (7th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 897 (1996).

Applying the standards set forth above to those allegations, the Court is unable to dismiss this claim against Santos at this time.

COUNT 2

When Randle contracted an unspecified skin problem in late 2008, he states that he was provided with antibiotics at Southwestern to treat his condition. However, upon his transfer to Centralia, Randle alleges that Santos failed to perform any sort of diagnostic tests or treatment for his skin condition. Applying the standards set forth above in Count 1 to these allegations, the Court is unable to dismiss this claim against Santos at this time.

APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

Randle also seeks appointment of counsel in this action (Doc. 3). There is no absolute right to appointment of counsel in a civil case. Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779 (4th Cir. 1975); Peterson v. Nadler, 452 F.2d 754 (8th Cir. 1971). When presented with a request to appoint counsel, the Court must make the following inquiries: "(1) has the ... plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or effectively been precluded from doing so and (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to litigate it himself." Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d647, 854-55 (7th Cir. 2007). With regard to the first step of the inquiry, there is no indication at all whether ...


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