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Michael Thomas v. Dr. Fuentes

March 31, 2011

MICHAEL THOMAS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. FUENTES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

#B-71744,

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Michael Thomas (Plaintiff), an inmate in the Hill Correctional Center, was at the times relevant to this claim housed in the Menard Correctional Center. He 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, in pertinent part:

(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.

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 that the claims in the complaint can not be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

Summary of Facts

The following version of the facts is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1). On February 10, 2009, Plaintiff was playing basketball during recreation time and fell sideways on his left ankle. The ankle became swollen and painful, causing Plaintiff to have difficulties walking and climbing the stairs to his floor of the prison. Plaintiff reported his injury and the next day received an X-ray and examination. Plaintiff was then sent back to his cell.

Plaintiff's ankle remained swollen, discolored, and painful for several weeks. Plaintiff reported his ailment to Defendants Feinerman, Fuentes, Platt, Plk [sic], Kohring, Medford, Todaro, and Flatt but received no further medical treatment, even though Plaintiff was having difficulties walking. These Defendants told Plaintiff that he did not need further treatment, that his complaints were "only mental," and that nothing was wrong with him. However, Plaintiff continued to experience pain.

Some time later in the year Plaintiff learned that his left ankle was broken, and there was significant ligament damage.*fn1 Plaintiff filed a grievance, which went unanswered. Plaintiff was later transferred to a different facility, where his injury was treated.

Discussion

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Feinerman, Fuentes, Platt, Plk, Kohring, Medford, Todaro, and Flatt showed deliberate indifference to his medical needs when they failed to treat his ankle injury after the initial X-ray. The Supreme Court has recognized that "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners" may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994). See also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). Deliberate indifference encompasses a broader range of conduct than intentional denial of necessary medical treatment, ...


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