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Jerry B. Palmer v. Michael Randle

June 20, 2011


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



Plaintiff is an inmate currently in the Lawrence Correctional Center. At various times during the incidents discussed in this action, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Big Muddy River Correctional Center, Stateville Correctional Center, Western Illinois Correctional Center, and Hill Correctional Center. Plaintiff 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.

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 supporting exhibits, the Court finds that some of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this stage of the litigation. The Court need not address the statute of limitations, as the claims which would be subject to limitations are disposed of in this Order.


The following version of the facts of the case is gleaned from Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 16). On September 11, 2002, while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center and on work detail assignment, an object slipped from a truck and injured Plaintiff's left shoulder. Plaintiff was seen by Defendant John Doe 1(a doctor), who examined Plaintiff and informed him that he had a torn rotator cuff. Although at one point surgery was mentioned, John Doe 1 ultimately put Plaintiff on a regimen of frequent hydrocortisone shots. After a while, Plaintiff felt that the shots were not working and informed John Doe 1 that he wanted surgery. This request was denied. Plaintiff then went to John Doe 2 (Big Muddy River warden), John Doe 3 (Big Muddy River assistant warden of programs), and John Doe 4 (Big Muddy River assistant warden of operations) with this request, which was denied by all three.

On October 12, 2004, Plaintiff was transferred to Stateville Correctional Center. Upon arrival, Plaintiff requested medical attention, and was seen by John Doe 5 (a doctor). John Doe 5 denied Plaintiff's request for surgery, and instead prescribed pain medication. Plaintiff complained to John Doe 6 (Stateville warden), who did nothing to resolve the issue. After multiple requests for further medical attention, Plaintiff was seen by John Doe 7 (a doctor), who continued the prescription and told Plaintiff that he did not have the power to approve the surgery.

On February 1, 2006, Plaintiff was transferred to Western Correctional Center. Once there, Plaintiff was seen by medical staff; and John Doe 8 (a doctor) discontinued all of Plaintiff's previous medications. John Doe 8 prescribed Darvocet for pain relief. Plaintiff had an allergic reaction to Darvocet, causing him pain and what may have been a stroke. On August 22, 2008, Plaintiff was taken to an outside hospital and received treatment there for the allergic reaction, though not for the injury to his arm.

On February 4, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred to Hill Correctional Center. Once there, Plaintiff was seen by a specialist, who has not been named as a defendant in this action. The specialist told Plaintiff that his arm was "no good."

On March 5, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center. Plaintiff was then seen by Defendant Fenoglio, who examined Plaintiff's arm and ordered an MRI. Defendant Fenoglio determined that Plaintiff's arm was beyond repair, because Plaintiff had been denied the surgery for so long. As a result, Defendant Fenoglio declared Plaintiff handicapped, but did not order surgery. Plaintiff complained to Defendants Ryker, Campanella, and Henton that nothing was being done to treat his now chronic pain.

During Plaintiff's incarceration, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has undergone a number of personnel changes in the position of director. Defendant Walker was the director when Plaintiff began his incarceration. At some point thereafter, Defendant Randle became the director. And at still some later point, Defendant Godinez became the director of IDOC. Sandra Funk was and remains the IDOC transfer coordinator who was in charge of overseeing Plaintiff's numerous transfers. And, although the doctors discussed above were treating inmates at IDOC facilities, they were contract employees of Defendant Wexford Health Source, Inc.


To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of FED. R. CIV. P. 8(e) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint into numbered counts as set forth below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future ...

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