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Thomas v. Randle

August 31, 2010


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


Plaintiff Lamont Thomas, an inmate in 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). 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.


Thomas states that in early 2009, he was persistently ill with a rash, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, and insomnia. On the morning of April 7, 2009, during line movement returning from the chow hall, Thomas was suddenly stricken with a bout of diarrhea and gas. He tried to control it, but he was unsuccessful; his bowels gave way. Thomas waved at the officers escorting the line, Defendants Ray and Huston, hoping he could discreetly tell them of his predicament. Instead, due to his antics, Ray stopped the line movement, and Huston escorted him to the front of the line. Ray then ordered Thomas to give Ray his I.D. card, which was clipped to Thomas's collar. Thomas's hands were soiled from his diarrhea, so he told them that one of them could take it off his collar. Defendants construed his response as a refusal to obey a direct order and radioed for a lieutenant.

Defendant Shell responded to the call. Shell handcuffed Thomas, addressed him with a racial epithet, and took him to segregation. At the segregation unit, Shell handed Thomas over to Defendant Jennings, who then turned him over to Defendant Cooper. Thomas persistently requested medical attention, as well as access to a toilet and clean clothes, but his requests were denied as he was taken to segregation. Thomas was confined to a shower unit for about an hour before Cooper took him to his segregation cell. Cooper told him he would get him some segregation-allowed items, but failed to do so. Ray later wrote a disciplinary ticket charging Thomas with disobeying a direct order.

A week earlier, Thomas had a run-in with Shell at the medical unit. Thomas was trying to hand-deliver some of his medical records to the doctor, but the doctor, Defendant Fenoglio, said that Thomas could not bring documents to the medical unit. Shell happened to be present at the time, and Shell took sides with the doctor. Thomas later filed a grievance against Shell and Fenoglio over this matter. He now believes that Shell's actions were partly motivated by retaliation.

Thomas states that he was not provided with bedding, toiletries, or clean clothing until the evening of April 9. During that time, he had only a thin jump suit to wear. He continued to experience diarrhea and cramps, making it difficult to sleep or eat, yet he was not provided with any medical treatment. On the evening of April 9, Thomas was taken to the medical unit for his weekly visit for his Hepatitis-C treatment. That same evening, he finally received bedding, linens, and toiletries.

Also on April 9, Defendants Goins and Neilsen presided over the disciplinary hearing on the ticket written on April 7. The ticket charged Thomas with disobeying a direct order, due to his refusal to hand his I.D. card to Ray or Huston. Thomas explained that in addition to his other health issues, he is also infected with Hepatitis-C. His justification for not handing them his I.D. card is that his hands were soiled with feces and blood, and he did not want to risk spreading his disease to them by touching his I.D. card. Despite his explanation, he was found guilty and punished with 14 days in segregation and 30 days at C-grade. On April 10, Defendant Ray escorted Thomas to the medical unit for an appointment, where a nurse provided him with medication to treat his diarrhea and gas. Ray told Thomas that he would try to get his punishment reduced, but apparently that did not happen.

Thomas filed grievances over these events, which were denied by Defendants Vaughn, Moran and Ryker.


Thomas's primary claim is that in failing to take him for medical treatment after he soiled himself, and in leaving him in segregation for more than two days without medical treatment, Defendants Ray, Huston, Shell, Jennings and Cooper were deliberately indifferent to his ...

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