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Philip Hastings, No. B-77440 v. Warden Lee Ryker

February 8, 2012


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


Plaintiff Hastings, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a 50 year sentence for murder. His sentence commenced on July 1, 2002. 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, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), 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; this action is subject to summary dismissal. The Complaint

In Plaintiff's pro se complaint in this case, he alleges that on November 4, 2009, while awakening and rising out of bed, he fell from his bunk, landing on his back and injuring his right hand ring finger. Immediately thereafter, a sick call nurse gave him Tylenol and told Plaintiff she would notify a physician. According to the pleadings, Plaintiff underwent X-rays on November 9, 2009. Plaintiff states that on November 10, 2009, the facility went on lockdown, the duration of which is not evident from the pleadings. During this time, a nurse splinted Plaintiff's finger. Plaintiff made multiple requests for medical treatment, including an emergency grievance. Upon initial review of the X-rays, Defendant Fenaglio prescribed ibuprofen, physical therapy and hot soaks. Subsequently, Plaintiff visited the health care facilities and requested the radiologist's opinion of the X-rays. According to Plaintiff, he was told the specialist stated that the finger bones were chipped, possibly in two places. At that point, Defendant Fenaglio prescribed pain killers and granted a low bunk permit to the Plaintiff.

On the same day, December 23, 2009, Plaintiff filed a grievance requesting an orthopedic surgeon. That request was denied, and subsequent grievances received a recommendation that the Plaintiff could discuss medication with medical staff whom he could request to see "for any issue at any time". Plaintiff's continuing requests for "an outside specialist" were denied.

Plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment claims against Defendant Fenaglio for deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant Ryker (Warden of Lawrence) prevented him from obtaining timely or adequate medical care when he denied his grievances. Finally, Plaintiff names Wexford Health Source ("Wexford") as a defendant, but does not assert any specific claim against it.


Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs

Generally, an inmate's dissatisfaction with the medical care he receives in prison does not state a constitutional claim for deliberate indifference to medical needs, even if the quality of care was substandard to the point of negligence or malpractice. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 734 (7th Cir. 2001); Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 591 (7th Cir. 1996). However, in certain instances, a ...

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