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Sykes v. Obadina

June 2, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge


REAGAN, District Judge

Plaintiff Eddie J. Sykes, an inmate in the Pinckneyville 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, 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.

Sykes's primary theme in this action is the denial of adequate medical care for his many ailments. He also complains about conditions in his cell, use of force by officers, interference with his access to the courts, unsatisfactory responses to his grievances, threat of injury by his cellmate, and unfair disciplinary proceedings. The 46-page handwritten complaint is not separated into specific counts; instead, Sykes presents a detailed chronology of events beginning October 30, 2008, and running through October 30, 2009, the day he signed his complaint form. Below the Court will discuss the nature of each claim and examine the allegations made against each defendant associated with that claim.


Sykes's leading medical problem is an enlarged prostate gland. He explains his symptoms in the complaint, as he did to many people at Pinckneyville,*fn1 as such: difficulty starting urination, poor flow of urine and increased frequency of urination, eventually the flow of urine may cease completely either because the urethra is completely blocked or because the cancer has spread to the bladder and ureters, in advanced cases pain my be caused by involvement of nerves within the pelvis or by spread of cancer to bones anywhere in the body. I'm throwing up my food and my bowel movement move 4 or 5 times when I eat my food. I have pain in my upper hip and thigh and the lower part of my back.

Sykes also suffers from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, for which he takes medication. He alleges that when his medication ran out, it was not refilled, leading to dizziness, headache, and pain in the left side of his chest and his arm.*fn2

Two other medical ailments are raised in the complaint. First, Sykes incurred an injury to his wrist due to alleged rough treatment by an officer, for which he claims he got minimal medical attention.*fn3 Second, Sykes claims that when he went to the barber, he contracted some sort of rash; he believes an inmate ahead of him at the barber left a residue of his infection in the chair, which then passed to Sykes when he sat in the chair.

Nurse Sarah Ferris*fn4

Sykes went to nurse sick call on November 12, 2008, and spoke with Ferris about his enlarged prostate. She told him that she would put him down to see the doctor on Friday.

On November 19, 2008, Sykes returned to the medical unit for lab work. When Ferris learned that he had eaten earlier that morning, she told him she would have to reschedule his appointment, as the tests could not be done if he had eaten or drank anything after midnight.

Sykes went to nurse sick call on December 14, 2008, and spoke with Sarah. He complained to her about his prostate problem, but she told him that he had not been called to the nurse appointment for that problem. Sykes persisted in his complaints, but Sarah told him that she would do nothing for him with respect to that problem, as it was already being addressed by the doctor.

Sykes saw Sarah again on April 1, 2009, and then on April 7, 2009, regarding his prostate.

She told him that she and everyone else at health care was tired of him and his complaints about his enlarged prostate.

Sykes saw Sarah in the segregation unit on October 27, 2009, regarding his prostate problem. Pain medication was ordered, but the order did not get put in his file. Thus, on October 30, 2009, Sarah did not have pain medication for him on the med line. Sykes asserts that Sarah refused to give him pain medication out of retaliation.

Dr. Obadina

Sykes first saw Obadina on November 18, 2008. He explained to Obadina his problems regarding his enlarged prostate, something he had suffered from since 2003. Obadina told him that he would have Sykes come to the medical unit for a more thorough examination.

Sykes had an appointment with Obadina on December 8, 2008, to discuss his prostate issues. Sykes explained in depth his symptoms and his concerns; he makes no allegations about what Obadina said or did as a result of this appointment.

On December 23, 2008, Sykes met with Obadina to discuss the lab results related to his prostate problem. Obadina told him that the tests did not show that anything was wrong, but Obadina would schedule Sykes for a consultation with a urologist.

Due to an incident on January 15, 2009, Sykes saw Obadina on February 2, 2009, regarding an injury to his left wrist and hand. Obadina saw that the hand was swollen and felt the knot on his wrist. Sykes stated that he was in pain, and Obadina told him that he would order pain medication for him. Obadina also scheduled an x-ray for his hand.

Sykes saw Obadina on July 10, 2009, regarding his prostate. Certain lab tests were pending, so Obadina postponed his examination until after the lab results were returned.

On August 6, 2009, Sykes had an appointment with Obadina. Sykes began to complain about his prostate, but Obadina told him the purpose of that visit was to check his blood pressure and cholesterol.

Sykes saw Obadina on October 27, 2009, in the segregation unit and complained about his prostate. He told Obadina that his medication had run out, and that it was not working. Obadina told him that he would have Sykes come to the medical unit for another examination. Obadina also told him that he would order pain medication for him, but that order did not get entered into his file.

Nurse Lane

On November 21, 2008, Sykes gave Lane the stickers from his medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol in order to get refills of his prescriptions. Almost two weeks went by, and Sykes did not receive his medication. He spoke with officers on the wing and other nurses (none mentioned by name) about getting his medication, and also about his dizziness and chest pain. He was told by many that they would check on his medication, but no further action was taken at that time.

Nurse Little

On December 3, 2008, Sykes spoke with Little about his dizziness and chest pain. Little did not take his blood pressure at that time, nor did she have him transferred to the medical unit; she told him she would check on his medication.

On June 24, 2009, Sykes tried to speak with Little about his prostate as she was dispensing ...

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