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Jason Satterfield, R69386 v. Alfonso David

October 6, 2011


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


Plaintiff Jason Satterfield, an inmate in Shawnee Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving an 18 year sentence for armed robbery. 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.

Summary of Facts

The following factual summary is taken from the complaint (Doc. 1) and from Plaintiff's detailed chronology of events in Exhibit 1 (Doc. 1-2). On January 4, 2009, Plaintiff sprained his right ankle during a handball game. He was seen the next day by a nurse in the Health Care Unit ("HCU"), where he was given crutches and Ibuprofen, and told to stay off his feet (Doc. 1, p. 4; Doc. 1-2, p. 2). Plaintiff's ankle was x-rayed on January 8. By that time, the foot was very swollen and painful, black in color, and cold to the touch (Doc. 1-2, p. 2).

Plaintiff first saw Defendant David, a medical doctor, on January 12 (Doc. 1-2, p. 3).

Defendant David refused to examine Plaintiff's foot or ankle despite Plaintiff's request, and refused to give Plaintiff any medication for the severe pain. Id. Finally, on January 20, after the x-rays came back, Defendant David examined Plaintiff's foot and gave him Ibuprofen.

The condition of Plaintiff's foot and leg continued to grow worse. His entire foot was black, cold to the touch, very painful, and the swelling increased. On February 5, Plaintiff put in a sick call request. He saw Defendant David on February 11, and asked for stronger pain medication because the Ibuprofen was not helping. Defendant David said he could not give Plaintiff anything stronger, and said he would schedule Plaintiff for an MRI. On February 16, Plaintiff again submitted a sick call request. By the time he was taken to the HCU on February 20, his foot was twice its normal size, very cold to the touch, and Plaintiff was unable to move his toes (Doc. 1-2, p. 4). He was told the MRI test was scheduled for February 26. On February 21, the swelling was moving up Plaintiff's leg to his knee. Several correctional officers to whom Plaintiff conveyed his request to see a nurse looked at the condition of Plaintiff's foot and offered their opinions that Plaintiff should be in the hospital.

On February 22, Plaintiff was in pain so severe that his entire body was shaking (Doc. 1-2, p. 5). He had been unable to walk since the injury, and the constant pain interfered with his sleep. He filed a grievance requesting the MRI immediately. He was taken to the HCU, where a nurse called Defendant David at home. Plaintiff overheard the nurse say that Plaintiff should be in the hospital, but she returned to tell Plaintiff that Defendant David said he could wait until the MRI on February 26. The nurse gave Plaintiff more Ibuprofen. Id.

Plaintiff continued to request immediate treatment, asking to talk to a major who refused to speak to him, writing a letter to the warden, and having his mother call the prison. The MRI was performed on February 26. On February 27, the HCU nurses examined Plaintiff, and he was sent to Heartland Hospital in Marion because of the serious condition of his foot. The Heartland emergency physician initially recommended Plaintiff be sent to a St. Louis hospital for the foot to be amputated (Doc. 1-2, p. 7). However, due to transportation problems, this trip was delayed and further tests were done indicating the foot could be saved. Plaintiff was diagnosed with severe nerve damage (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or "RSD"). Plaintiff alleges the RSD was caused by Defendant David's delay in treating the serious and prolonged swelling in Plaintiff's foot, which ...

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