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Rame Gara v. Randy Davis

June 16, 2011


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



Plaintiff Rame Gara, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a six-year sentence for aggravated battery with a firearm, and two years for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. 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). Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

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.

The Complaint

Plaintiff claims that various prison officials (and a non-prison doctor) were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs, by failing to treat his injured knee. As a result of the alleged lack of treatment, Plaintiff has suffered ongoing pain for over eighteen months. Plaintiff seriously hurt his knee in early May, 2009, while playing soccer in the prison yard. He was carried back into the building by two other inmates, in pain and unable to walk on his own. He requested Defendant Kelly (a correctional officer) to allow him to go to the Health Care Unit, but Defendant Kelly instead sent Plaintiff back to his cell. Plaintiff put in a sick call request, and was seen three days later by Defendant Peek, an LPN. Plaintiff told her he was in extreme pain, and showed her his badly swollen knee. Defendant Peek gave Plaintiff a bag to use for an ice pack, but did nothing else.

Three weeks later, Plaintiff saw Defendant Dr. Obadina, who examined him, ordered an xray, gave him pain pills, and issued him a low bunk/low gallery permit. Defendant Obadina took Plaintiff's crutches away after getting the x-ray results; he also refused to order an MRI.

Almost a year after the injury, in April, 2010, Plaintiff underwent an MRI test. The results showed osteoarthritis, fluid, and swelling of the kneecap; a small tear of the medial meniscus; and a probable tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. Defendant Dr. Wahl put Plaintiff into physical therapy. Defendant Dr. Gary, an employee of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, recommended a knee immobilizing device, but unnamed security staff (who are not listed as defendants) turned down that request.

Plaintiff also claims that Defendant Wexford Health Sources, the contracted provider of medical care for the prison and the employer of Defendants Peek, Obadina and Wahl, maintains a custom, policy and practice of failing to provide necessary treatment to inmates, fails to train its agents, and fails to implement appropriate treatment protocols.

Finally, Plaintiff complains that Defendant Davis, the Pinckneyville warden, caused him to be denied medical care by denying Plaintiff's emergency grievances filed in April and May, 2010.

Plaintiff seeks an injunction ordering the defendants to provide medical treatment, compensatory damages, and a transfer ...

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