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Oliver E. Sheegog v. Bays

June 14, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm Sr. United States District Judge

Tuesday, 14 June, 2011 10:03:20 AM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


The plaintiff is Oliver E. Sheegog. He filed an amended complaint on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Mr. Sheegog is currently incarcerated at Illinois River Correctional Center (hereinafter IRCC) in Canton, Illinois. He has filed an amended complaint against Bays (correctional officer), Richard Birkey (warden at IRCC), Dr Castrovillo (at IRCC), Terry Edwards (nurse at IRCC), K. N. Kirkbride (grievance officer), Dr O'Basey (IRCC), Glenn M Putman (housing unit counselor), Martha S. Senkler (housing unit counselor), two unknown correctional officers (IRCC) and Gladyse C. Tayor (acting Director of Illinois Department of Corrections).


The court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to screen the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).*fn1

Pleading particular legal theories or particular facts is not required to state a claim. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (complaint need contain only a short, plain statement of the claim and the relief sought); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 612 (7th Cir. 2000), citing Nance v. Vieregge, 147 F.3d 589, 590 (7th Cir.). The complaint need only give "a short and plaint statement of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Leatherman v. Tarrant county Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993)(citations and internal quotation marks omitted)(cited by Dewalt, 224 F.3d at 612; Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

The merit review standard is the same as a motion to dismiss standard. It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), reh'g denied, 405 U.S. 948 (1972). See also Tarkowski v. Robert Bartlett Realty Company, 644 F.2d 1204 (7th Cir. 1980). They can be dismissed for failure to state a claim only if it appears "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Haines, 404 U.S. at 521; Gregory v. Nunn, 895 F.2d 413, 414 (7th Cir. 1990).

When considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court takes the allegations in the complaint as true, viewing all facts--as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom--in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bethlehem Steel Corp. v. Bush, 918 F.2d 1323, 1326 (7th Cir. 1990). Dismissal should be denied whenever it appears that a basis for federal jurisdiction in fact exists or may exist and can be stated by the plaintiff. Tarkowski, 644 F.2d at 1207, quoting Littleton v. Berbling, 468 F.2d 389 (7th Cir. 1972).

Allegations, Discussion and Conclusion

On December 18, 2009, while the plaintiff, Oliver Sheegog was playing basketball at the IRCC gym, he sustained an injury to the fifth finger of his right hand. He immediately felt a sharp pain in his right fifth finger. He reported the injury to two correctional officers assigned to the gym that same day. The correctional officers instructed the plaintiff to inform his housing unit officer of the injury. As the plaintiff has raised no constitutional claim against the two unknown correctional officers, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. Rule 12(b)(6), they are dismissed as defendants.

Officer Bays. Approximately fifteen minutes later, the same day, the plaintiff Sheegog reported the injury to the housing unit officer, defendant, Officer Bays who immediately wrote an injury report and sent the plaintiff to the Health Care Unit. The plaintiff arrived in the Health Care Unit two to three minutes later. As the plaintiff has raised no constitutional claim against Officer Bays, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. Rule 12(b)(6), Bays is dismissed as a defendant.

Terry Edwards. When the plaintiff arrived at the Health Care Unit, he was examined and treated by a registered nurse, Terry Edwards. During her evaluation of the plaintiff's injured finger, the plaintiff informed Edwards of the pain he felt when he injured his finger and the pain he was experiencing during the evaluation. Edwards determined that Sheegog had sustained a muscle/joint injury to his right fifth finger; she noted that he had limited mobility; he was unable to bend the finger; he had a slight edema around the knuckle; the finger was tender on examination; and he was unable to use the affected body part. Edwards provided the plaintiff with 18 - 200 mg Ibuprofen tablets for pain, one plastic bag for ice and two weeks gym and yard restriction. The medical records also indicate that Terry also advised the plaintiff to follow-up with a doctor if symptoms failed to resolve within five days or if symptoms worsen. The medical records show that Nurse Terry issued a pass for the plaintiff for Monday, December 21, 2009 and the records indicate that the plaintiff was seen on an 8:00 a.m. call pass on December 21 2009. Again Nurse Terry provided 18 more Ibuprofen 200 mg for pain, an ice pack and plastic bag, as well as gym and yard restriction for two weeks. Plaintiff alleges that during the four days he waited, the pain medication did not relieve the pain, but statements he made in his complaint belies this fact. In his complaint he admits that he told Dr. Castrovillo that the pain medication provided by Nurse Terry gave him relief for three to four hours for four tablets. Plaintiff claims Edwards knew plaintiff's finger needed to be splinted and that she also knew failing to splint his injury would result in an inappropriate response in relation to her own examination. When asked during the merit review conference, what basis does he have for saying Edwards knew his finger needed to be splinted. Plaintiff says that Dr. Castrovillo said the finger needed to be splinted and he ordered that it be splinted. However, the court notes that Castrovillo was not present for the December 18, 2009 examination and he did not order a splint until December 22, 2009 when he examined the plaintiff and determined that a splint was necessary. No trier of facts could find that Nurse Terry Edwards was deliberately indifferent to the plaintiff's serious medical needs. Therefore, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. Rule 12(b)(6), she is dismissed as a defendant.

Dr. Castrovillo. First, as already stated the medical records show and the plaintiff admitted during the merit review conference of his complaint that Edwards provided medical care for the plaintiff the day of his injury, December 18, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., and again on December 21, 2009, 8:00 a.m. Dr. Castrovillo first examined the plaintiff on December 22, 2009. Plaintiff told him that he was experiencing sharp splitting pain and wanted a stronger medication. Dr. Castrovillo did not provide a stronger pain medication. Perhaps, Dr. Castrovillo decided the plaintiff did not need a stronger medication because plaintiff told him that the 200 mg. Ibuprofen provided by Nurse Edwards gave him relief for three to four hours at a time. Disagreement with a doctor's treatment decisions cannot be the basis for an Eighth Amendment challenge. Steele v. Choi, 82 F.3d 175, 178-79 (7th Cir. 1996); Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 1996). In his complaint, the plaintiff only claimed that Dr. Castrovillo denied his request for a stronger pain medication, but during the conference, the plaintiff claims Dr. Castrovillo did not prescribe any pain medication. The court notes that the medication provided to the plaintiff by the nurse did not require a prescription. Plaintiff never states that he asked Dr. Castrovillo for additional Ibuprofen 200 mg and his request was denied. Further, the plaintiff had two options to obtain additional pain medication. He could have signed up for nurse sick call and request additional pain medication. Second, based on the court's experience of presiding over prisoner cases, it takes judicial notice that Tylenol 500 mg and a generic pain medication 500 mg are available through commissary. Further, the plaintiff's trust ledgers for the period November 2009 through February 2009 [16] show that he had funds available to purchase Tylenol 500 mg, a stronger pain medication, from commissary. Further, the ledgers show commissary charges on December 24, 2009 (two days after his visit with Dr. Castrovillo) and again on January 25, 2010. Although the plaintiff is an inmate, he is also an adult and must take some responsibility for himself - such as signing up for nurse sick call, asking the nurse for more Ibuprofen or buying Tylenol at commissary. As all of these options were available to the plaintiff, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. Rule 12(B)(6), he may not proceed on his claim that Dr. Castrovillo did not prescribe a pain medication for him on December 22, 2009.

On December 22, 2009, Dr. Castrovillo noted that he wanted to see the plaintiff again on the next sick call. That same day, Dr. Castrovillo ordered a splint for the plaintiff's finger and x-rays for the plaintiff and a follow-up visit in 10-14 days. The medical records show that the xray was completed on December 22, 2009. Three weeks later, the results of the x-rays revealed a fracture around or at the joint of the right hand fifth digit. A nurse splinted the plaintiff's finger on December 22. 2009. At the time, she told plaintiff she didn't know how this was going to work because inmates can't possess medical tape, per institutional policy. The plaintiff claims the medical tape fell off within three or four days. Plaintiff claims that the institution policy would not allow him to have medical tape to retape his splint when it would fall off and Dr. Castrovillo should have been aware of this. However, during the merit review conference, Plaintiff admitted that the nurses/medical technicians came to his unit for sick call line and he was able to sign up for nurse sick call line. Plaintiff admitted he could submit a call pass to see a nurse and no one stopped him from doing so. He chose not to do so. Plaintiff says he decided to wait for the follow-up visit to have his splint retaped. So if the tape fell off on day four, the plaintiff knew he might have to wait another 10 days before the expected follow-up visit. Even after not being called for his 10-14 day follow-up, the plaintiff did nothing about getting his finger retaped. He certainly could have signed up for the daily nurse's sick call line and he could ...

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