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Joseph Conley, #B-17249 v. Michael Randle

September 13, 2011

JOSEPH CONLEY, #B-17249, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL RANDLE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER REAGAN, District Judge:

INTRODUCTION

Joseph Conley ("Plaintiff"), an inmate in Sheridan Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on events that occurred while he was housed at Vienna Correctional Center. Plaintiff is serving a six year sentence for burglary. This case comes 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.

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).

In making this assessment, the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, but 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. However, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint must be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

In the case at bar, upon careful review of the complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A. Portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

THE ALLEGATIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Liberally construed, the complaint alleges the following. On December 22, 2009, Plaintiff was assaulted by another inmate, who swung a bag containing a metal combination lock toward Plaintiff's head. Plaintiff's right hand was struck by the lock as he blocked the blow. The impact broke Plaintiff's hand. Plaintiff's ensuing attempts to obtain medical care form the basis for his complaint.

In the caption of Plaintiff's complaint, he names only the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"), former IDOC Director Michael Randle, and Vienna Correctional Center Warden John Cox as Defendants. However, Plaintiff identifies several other Defendants in the body of his complaint, and it appears he intended to sue those individuals as well. In keeping with the duty to liberally construe the pro se complaint, the Court will analyze the claims against all the Defendants named by Plaintiff.

Plaintiff was housed in segregation during the events giving rise to his claims. After the December 22, 2009, assault by the other inmate, Plaintiff asked John Doe #1, a correctional officer, to allow him to go to the Health Care Unit for medical attention. This request was denied. At the 8:00pm medication line on the same day, Plaintiff showed his injured hand to J. Daymon (a nurse) and asked for pain medication and to see a doctor, telling the nurse he thought the hand was broken. Nurse Daymon told Plaintiff to sign up for sick call. She did not allow Plaintiff to see a doctor or give him any pain medication.

The next morning, December 23, 2009, Plaintiff saw Nurse Stanford on the 8:00am medication line. Plaintiff again requested to see a doctor and told Stanford he was in excruciating pain due to the hand probably being broken. Stanford told Plaintiff she would call him back down after the medication line was over, but she never called Plaintiff down nor gave him any pain medication. That evening, Plaintiff renewed his request to see a doctor and get pain medication to Nurse Stauless during the medication line. Stauless said she would call Plaintiff back down after she finished passing out medication but never did so.

By the following morning, December 24, 2009, Plaintiff's hand was swollen "like a boxing glove" and all his fingers were discolored (Doc. 1, p. 5). Nurse Stanford was back on the medication line, and Plaintiff asked her to get him to the doctor and give him pain medication.

Defendant Stanford told Plaintiff to sign up for sick call, to which Plaintiff responded that he could not use his hand (apparently meaning he was unable to write a sick call request). Stanford told Plaintiff he would be called back down, but again, he was not called. That evening, Plaintiff repeated his request for medication and a doctor visit to Nurse Jane/John Doe #2. Again, Plaintiff was told he would be called back down, but nothing was done and he continued to suffer without any pain medication.

Later in the evening of December 24, at 8:45pm, Plaintiff notified a Lieutenant*fn1 that he needed medical attention, and this Lieutenant finally took Plaintiff to the Health Care Unit. Nurse Tracy Potts examined Plaintiff and telephoned Dr. Kim Birch to report the suspected fracture. Dr. Birch did not order an x-ray or any pain medication. Nurse Potts then reported to Plaintiff that all he could ...


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