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Coe v. Schwartz

November 15, 2010


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


Plaintiff Andrew Coe, formerly 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, 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.


Coe states that he is physically challenged, due to a prior gunshot wound that injured his spinal cord. As a result of that injury, Coe is unable to move his ankle or toes, and his feet are numb.

On August 30, 2009, Coe was moved to a new housing unit, and he discovered that his new cell was a "non physically challenged cell." Coe advised the wing officer, Defendant Homoya, that he had a medical permit for a lower deck housing assignment with a low bunk as a physically challenged inmate who was to be "medically unassigned." Homoya told Coe there was nothing he could do about the housing assignment, and that Coe should either accept the housing assignment or go to segregation for refusing that assignment. Coe chose to avoid segregation and moved into the new cell.

A few hours later, Coe tripped over the bed rail and hit his head on the door, causing injuries to his neck and back. Coe was taken by stretcher to the medical unit, where he stayed overnight and then was x-rayed the next morning. Coe was given a soft neck brace and pain medication, and Defendant Obadina ordered that Coe be placed in a cell for physically challenged inmates. Despite the medical orders, the placement officer, Defendant Sloan, assigned Coe to the same cell where he had sustained his injuries the prior day. Coe alleges that Sloan also lied to a nurse by stating that all cells on that wing were physically challenged cells.

That same day, August 31, 2009, Coe filed an emergency grievance regarding Sloan's refusal to follow the medical orders. The warden, Defendant Schwartz, returned the grievance to Coe on September 4, having deemed his grievance to be a non-emergency. Coe then submitted the grievance to his counselor, Defendant Hartman, who responded that housing assignments for medical reasons were done at the discretion of medical and administrative personnel. Dissatisfied, Coe forwarded his grievance to the Grievance Officer, Defendant Deen. Deen denied the grievance on November 19, stating that housing assignments were an administrative decision. Coe then appealed that decision to the Administrative Review Board. Defendant Miller recommended that the grievance be denied, and the Director, Defendant Randle, concurred.

On September 1, 2009, Coe asked Homoya to provide him with "lay in" trays due to his injuries. Homoya denied that request, advising Coe that he should do his best to get to the dining hall for meals. On September 2, Coe sent a sick call slip to health care stating that his injuries affected his daily activities, and that he had been denied lay-in trays; he received no response to that request. From September 4 through October 14, 2009, Coe persisted in sending sick call slips, complaining about denial of meals and showers, about neck pain, about bumping his head on the ...

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