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Stephen Wiemann, #N-21274 v. Michael P. Randle

November 8, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge


GILBERT, District Judge:

Plaintiff Stephen Wiemann, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on an incident that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Robinson Correctional Center. Plaintiff is serving a five-year sentence for attempted burglary, and six years for residential burglary. 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 supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

The following summary of facts is taken from Plaintiff's first amended complaint (Doc. 15), filed April 4, 2011. On June 4, 2009, while Plaintiff was playing softball, he heard and felt a loud snap in his right foot. He was taken to the medical department in excruciating pain, where Defendant M. Wait, a nurse, examined him. She concluded that nothing was wrong and sent Plaintiff back to his housing unit. She denied his request for a low bunk permit. When Plaintiff climbed into his top bunk, he heard and felt another snap in the same foot.

Plaintiff was seen the next day, June 5, 2009, by Defendant Mary Lofton, a doctor. By that time his foot was swollen, and black and blue. She told Plaintiff she did not believe anything was seriously wrong, but would know more after x-rays were taken (Doc. 15, p. 5). She told Plaintiff that the x-ray machine was broken (Doc. 15-1, p. 3). She authorized Plaintiff to have a bottom bunk, and gave him crutches and pain medication (Motrin) (Doc. 15-1, p. 3). Four days later, on June 9, x-rays were taken, and Plaintiff was given more Motrin. The results came back on June 12, and Plaintiff was called to see Defendant Lofton. She informed Plaintiff that his ankle was broken, gave him a wheelchair, and told Plaintiff he should not put any weight on his foot. She also ordered him an air cast (Doc. 15, p. 5; Doc. 15-1, p. 3). Plaintiff complains that prior to this diagnosis, he had been forced for nine days to walk a quarter-mile three times each day for meals, as well as for commissary and other passes, while he was in severe pain.

On June 17, 2009, Plaintiff was sent to an outside doctor for a consultation, where he was told he had two breaks, one on each side of his foot. His leg was put in the air cast, and he was told to keep using the wheelchair until August 3, 2009, when he could go back to using crutches. However, around July 27, 2009, Plaintiff was placed in segregation (he does not explain why). He was not allowed to use the crutches while in segregation, and Defendant Lieutenant John Doe took them away. Plaintiff had to walk to the shower without crutches or a cast. The complaint implies he was also not able to use the wheelchair during this time, but does not state this explicitly.

Plaintiff also notes that before his injury, he had been on two medications for several months for a condition he does not describe. He claims that these medications, "pegasus and ririverin," caused his bones to become brittle and elevated his risk of fracture, and the Defendants knew or should have known of this risk (Doc. 15, p. 6).

Plaintiff seeks to bring a state law claim for medical malpractice along with his claim for deliberate ...

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