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Carl Roberts, #N-23733 A/K/A Karl Roberts v. B. Neal

November 2, 2011


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


Plaintiff, an inmate in the Pinckneyville CorrectionalCenter, was at times relevant to this action also housed at the Big Muddy River 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 any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that some of the claims in this complaint are subject to dismissal. Facts:

The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 11). On March 31, 2009, while housed at the Big Muddy Correctional Center, Plaintiff injured his hand and face. Plaintiff was taken to the health care unit, where he was seen by Defendant Neal. Defendant Neal performed an assessment of the wounds, but did not require that Plaintiff be uncuffed during the examination. Defendant Neal issued anti-bacterial cream for a cut on Plaintiff's face, but did not provide Plaintiff with pain medication. Plaintiff was then returned to his cell.

Once in his segregation cell, Plaintiff's hand became swollen, and he notified Defendant Shelby of his need for care. Defendant Shelby told Plaintiff to stop whining, and then walked away without getting Plaintiff any medical attention. Plaintiff then informed Defendant Woodside that he needed care, but this Defendant also walked away without summoning help. Plaintiff's roommate began yelling for help, and Defendant Doty responded that the medical unit had been contacted. However, no one came to the cell during that shift.

Eventually Defendant Puckettt, a nurse making rounds, came by Plaintiff's cell. Defendant Puckett gave Plaintiff Ibuprofen pain reliever, though Plaintiff informed the nurse that he was told previously by a doctor not to take this medication. Defendant Puckett stated that she did not have an alternative to give Plaintiff, and left Plaintiff with the Ibuprofen.

Plaintiff filed an emergency sick-call request. Two days later he was called to the health care unit. The nurse who examined him (who is not a party to this action) ordered x-rays for Plaintiff's hand, and it was determined that there was a break. A doctor (also not a party), treated Plaintiff for the break.

Once he was returned to his cell, Plaintiff filed grievances with Defendant C. Miller and Defendant Schuler, claiming that the earlier-named Defendants had failed to insure that Plaintiff received the medical treatment that he needed. Defendant C. Miller failed to respond to the grievance, and Defendant Schuler responded that Plaintiff needed to raise the issue with the health care unit.

On April 7, 2009, Plaintiff was seen by an outside doctor for the injury to his hand. This doctor prescribed pain medication. The next day, when Plaintiff requested the medication, Defendant Issacs provided Plaintiff with Tylenol, instead of the pain medication that had been prescribed. The Tylenol did little to alleviate Plaintiff's pain. Plaintiff filed multiple requests to Defendant Issacs for the prescribed medication, but he consistently received only Tylenol. Plaintiff also requested clean dressing for the splint on his hand, but Defendant Issacs ignored this request. Plaintiff then filed a request for intervention with Defendant Evans, who ignored the request. Plaintiff filed many requests for status updates with Defendants C. Miller and Evans, but these requests went unanswered.

On April 30, 2009, Plaintiff returned to the outside doctor for a follow-up, where his bandage was removed and he received a brace. The doctor once again prescribed pain medication. On May 1, when Plaintiff went to retrieve this medication, Defendant Issacs once again provided Plaintiff with Tylenol, instead of the medication which was prescribed. Plaintiff then filed a complaint with Defendant J. Miller,*fn1 but received no reply.

On May 18, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred to Pinckneyville Correctional Center, where he informed Defendant Alvis that a doctor at Big Muddy River Correctional Center had authorized a low-bunk permit for Plaintiff's medical needs. Defendant Alvis denied Plaintiff's request for a similar permit for use at Pinckneyville. Plaintiff was later seen by Defendant Knope for medical screening, and Plaintiff informed this Defendant as well that he had a low-bunk permit while at Big Muddy, and that he had also received pain medication while there. Defendant Knope denied Plaintiff's request for a Pinckneyville low-bunk permit and pain medication, stating that no requirements for these therapies were listed in his medical files. Plaintiff learned later that Defendant Davis, the transfer nurse at Big Muddy, had failed to correctly note Plaintiff's needs in his medical files, which caused Defendant Knope to deny the requests.

On May 21, 2009, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Obadina for follow-up care. Plaintiff was provided pain medication on May 26, 2009. After further examination, Defendant Obadina filed a medical referral denial form on June 1, indicating that Plaintiff had denied referral care to an outside doctor, though Plaintiff had made no such request. Defendant Obadina thereafter cancelled Plaintiff's follow-up care with the outside doctor, and treated Plaintiff himself. The next day, Plaintiff was provided a low-bunk permit.

Plaintiff filed grievances concerning these acts with Defendant J. Miller, and later sent status requests after he received no response. On July 24, 2009, Defendant J. Miller denied one of Plaintiff's grievances. Plaintiff appealed this decision to Defendant Randle on September 8, 2009, but received no response.

In July 2009, Plaintiff was again seen by Defendant Obadina, who determined that Plaintiff's hand was healing, even though Plaintiff was experiencing difficulty with use. Defendant Obadina scheduled Plaintiff for physical therapy. After three sessions, Plaintiff's therapy ...

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