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Michael M. Jones, #N-11754 v. Dr. Shah

July 12, 2012


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


Plaintiff Michael Jones, an inmate at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center ("SWICC"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on incidents that occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at SWICC and Vandalia Correctional Center ("Vandalia"). Plaintiff is serving a nine year sentence for 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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 supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

Plaintiff's complaint names Dr. Shah (Medical Director - SWICC), Dr. Rayford (Medical Director - Vandalia), Dr. Shicker (Medical Director - Illinois Dept. Of Corrections ("IDOC")), Nona Hohnsbehn (Health Care Administrator - SWICC), Dr. Elyea (Medical Director - Health Professional Ltd.), Nurse Harris (SWICC), Assistant Warden Vitale (SWICC), and Assistant Warden Camron (Vandalia), who Plaintiff claims each violated his constitutional rights.

On August 27, 2010, Plaintiff was transferred to IDOC custody from the Cook County Dept. Of Corrections ("CCDOC"). During receiving, Plaintiff told an unnamed doctor that he had a hernia in his groin and nerve damage in his ears and knees. Plaintiff also informed this individual that he had been scheduled to have surgery on his hernia while at CCDOC after obtaining several court orders. Plaintiff was given medication, given a low bunk and low gallery permit, and advised to tell his next institution about his medical problems. However, instead of being assigned a low bunk, Plaintiff claims that he was housed on the third floor in a top bunk, which aggravated his hernia.

Plaintiff was subsequently transferred to Vandalia, where he "constantly went to the med unit" and after two weeks had not yet seen a doctor (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff was told that if he did not stop harassing the health care staff he would be placed in segregated housing. Eventually, Plaintiff met with Defendant Rayford, who gave him pain medication and a harness for his hernia, but told him that surgery was not necessary or within Vandalia's budget. Plaintiff wrote Defendant Camron to inform her of his medical problems, but she referred his complaints back to Defendant Rayford.

Around December 25, 2010, Plaintiff met with Defendant Shah, who told Plaintiff that there was nothing wrong with him and to drink more water. On March 3, 2011, Plaintiff was transferred to SWICC, where he was taken off all of his medications and placed on a top bunk. As a result, Plaintiff had no relief for the pain caused by his hernia, which was aggravated by having to climb up and down from the high bunk. Plaintiff went to the health care unit and told Defendant Harris about his medical problems. Defendant Harris responded that she already knew about Plaintiff's situation and that he would have to "deal with it" until he saw a doctor (Doc. 1, p. 7). Two weeks later, Plaintiff met with Defendant Shah again and asked to be put back on his pain medication. However, as of April 7, 2011, he still had not received any medication for pain, nor had he been given antacids to help with the bloating caused by his digestive problems (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff has since notified Defendants Vitale, Shicker, and Hohnsbehn about not receiving medication or surgery, to no avail.

Plaintiff claims that his hernia has infected his left testicle, and he worries that this will prevent him from having more children. He further asserts that the pain from his hernia can be so intense at times that it causes dizziness. Plaintiff also notes that since being transferred to SWICC, the ...

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