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Christopher Pyles, # R-43795 v. Warden Gaetz

August 9, 2012


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


Plaintiff Christopher Pyles, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on incidents that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Menard. Plaintiff is serving a life sentence for murder. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 13) 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.

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 Plaintiff's amended complaint and any 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 facts below are taken from Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 13). Plaintiff, on June 21, 2009, sent a grievance to Defendant Gaetz describing a dangerous staircase, stating that a certain flight of stairs are "wet/slick . . . during the duration 'shower lines' are ran." Furthermore, Menard had an "unwritten policy/practice requiring inmates to only wear 'shower shoes'" while walking to and from the showers. On July 25, 2009, Plaintiff slipped while walking down this flight of stairs, sustaining injuries to his neck and spine. Officers transported Plaintiff to Chester Memorial Hospital (Chester), and from there airlifted him to St. Louis University Hospital where he remained until July 30, 2009. Chester performed a CAT scan and an M.R.I. upon Plaintiff.

On July 30, 2009, Chester released Plaintiff to Menard, where Defendant Fahim (Medical Director at Menard) treated his injuries. Defendant Fahim "[c]ontinually refused to allow the plaintiff to see a specialist or receive an M.R.I.," motivated by his desire to reduce costs. Plaintiff states that the injuries he sustained on July 25, 2009, have caused him severe and worsening pain within his lower spine, for over two years, and that Defendant Fahim's prescription of pain medication did not alleviate these symptoms. Defendant Fahim's treatment of Plaintiff is a result of Defendant Wexford's "written policy to save money". Defendant Fahim denies Plaintiff certain treatments because his employer, Defendant Wexford, provides monetary incentives to Defendant Fahim in exchange for cost savings.

Plaintiff requests an injunction to receive an M.R.I. and back exam by specialists. Further, Plaintiff requests compensatory and punitive damages totaling $1.5 million. Finally, Plaintiff requests a trial by jury and an injunction transferring Plaintiff to Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg, Illinois.


Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into four (4) counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The ...

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