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Adrian Morrison v. Brett Utz

January 31, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sara Darrow United States District Judge


Tuesday, 31 January, 2012 12:24:42 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


Plaintiff, currently detained in the Rock Island County Jail, has filed an amended complaint as directed by this Court. The amended complaint is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.*fn1

Section 1915A requires the Court to identify cognizable claims and dismiss claims that are "frivolous, malicious, or fail[] to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." A merit review hearing was scheduled to aid the court in this review, but will be cancelled as unnecessary.

The merit review standard is the same as the motion to dismiss standard. To state a claim under federal notice pleading standards, the Complaint must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations are accepted as true and need only give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776-77 (7th Cir. 2007), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007)(other citation omitted). However, the factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id., quoting Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 1973 n. 14. "A claim has facial plausibility 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, 1949-50 (2009), citing Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955. The Court keeps in mind, however, that pro se pleadings are liberally construed. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).


Plaintiff is incarcerated in the Rock Island County Jail. He has been diagnosed with manic depression, bipolar disorder, and a sleeping disorder. He takes one pill in the morning.

On the morning of November 24, 2011, Plaintiff was given medication. He did not realize until after he swallowed the medicine that he had taken two pills, not his usual one pill. After some investigation, Plaintiff realized that he had been given another inmate's medicine in addition to Plaintiff's own medicine. This other inmate's medicine was for treating high blood pressure or HIV. Defendant Utz, the correctional officer on duty, was notified and responded that he would try to find the other inmate's medicine, but Utz never returned with the other inmate's medicine.

After taking the incorrect medicine, Plaintiff experienced heart fluttering, lower intestinal problems, and a headache. Plaintiff put in to see a doctor, and the doctor examined him and concluded that Plaintiff "seemed to be okay." (Complaint, p. 6). The doctor gave Plaintiff two pills, but the pills did not relieve Plaintiff's symptoms.

Plaintiff alleges that "the correctional officers aren't qualified to pass out meds at all to any inmate." (Complaint, p. 6). He seeks "resolution" and money damages.


In order to state a constitutional claim, Plaintiff's allegations must allow a plausible inference that a defendant was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to him. Chapman v. Keltner, 241 F.3d 842, 845 (7th Cir. 2001). Administering the wrong medication may well pose a substantial risk of harm depending on the circumstances. However, the temporary symptoms experienced by Plaintiff-intestinal problems, a headache, and heart fluttering-do not plausibly suggest that the mistaken medicine placed Plaintiff at a substantial risk of serious harm. Additionally, one isolated mistake does not allow a plausible inference of deliberate indifference. See, e.g., Ehrenberg v. Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections, 2010 WL 5089484 (unpublished)(E.D. Wis. 2010)(prisoner stated no constitutional claim based on allegations that he was given the wrong dosage of medicine); Davis v. Baker, 2010 WL 779502 (unpublished)(S.D. Ind. 2010)(granting summary judgment to defendant on claim that defendant handed inmate wrong medication one time); Kirkwood v. Sirin, 2006 WL 587698 *3 (E.D. Wis. 2006)(prisoner failed to state constitutional claim for being given wrong medication on one day). To state a claim for deliberate indifference, the allegations must plausibly suggest that the ...

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