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Lester Dobbey (#R-16237 v. Michael Randle

August 16, 2012

LESTER DOBBEY (#R-16237), PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL RANDLE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Robert M. Dow, Jr.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an Illinois state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants Zhang and Williams, health care providers at the Stateville Correctional Center, have violated his constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that these Defendants denied him adequate care and treatment for a stomach ailment. This matter is before the Court for ruling on Defendants Williams and Zhang's motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim and Plaintiff's motions to strike Defendants' reply [99] and for appointment of counsel [108]. For the reasons stated below, all three motions [91, 99, 108] are denied.

I. STANDARD ON A MOTION TO DISMISS

It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681, 687 (7th Cir. 2006). Pro se submissions are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," in order to "'give the defendant fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); Windy City Metal Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs., Inc., 536 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2008).

In addition, when considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court assumes all factual allegations in the complaint to be true, viewing all facts--as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom--in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2010); Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 563 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002)). A well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears "that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 556.

Nevertheless, the factual allegations in the complaint must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. While a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than mere labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The Court "need not accept as true legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). "The complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bonte v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d 461, 463 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)).

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lester Dobbey is an Illinois state prisoner, confined at the Stateville Correctional Center at all times relevant to this action. Defendant Liping Zhang was a staff physician at Stateville during the time of the alleged violations. Defendant LaTonya Williams is a physician's assistant at the prison.

Plaintiff alleges the following facts, which are assumed to be true for purposes of the motion to dismiss: On September 30, 2008, Plaintiff was sent to the emergency room at the Health Care Unit at Stateville Correctional Center (hereinafter, "Stateville") because he was suffering from abdominal pain and blood in his stool. When he arrived, Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Williams. She found no sign of blood in his stool and provided no treatment for Plaintiff's pain.

On October 7, 2008, Plaintiff returned to the Health Care Unit at Stateville, again complaining of abdominal pain and other medical issues, and was seen by Defendant Zhang. Defendant Zhang's proposed treatment for Plaintiff's abdominal pain was for Plaintiff to rub his stomach 100 times per day. Defendant Zhang provided Plaintiff with no further treatment on October 7, 2008.

On October 12, 2008, Plaintiff filed a grievance with prison officials regarding his abdominal issues and seeking further medical treatment, either at the prison or at an outside hospital.

On March 21, 2009, Plaintiff suffered an injury while out in the yard and was taken to the Health Care Unit at Stateville. While being examined by Dr. Zhang, Plaintiff again complained about his ongoing abdominal pain and seeing blood in his stool. Plaintiff informed Defendant Zhang that he had previously been treated for his abdominal issues, but that the treatment had been ineffective. During the exam, Defendant Zhang asked Plaintiff if he was engaging in anal sex, and Plaintiff took offense, which led to an argument. Defendant Zhang did not examine Plaintiff further to determine the underlying cause of his abdominal issues.

On April 1, 2009, Plaintiff went to the Health Care Unit at Stateville for his annual physical. He again complained to Defendant Zhang of abdominal pain and blood in his stool, but Defendant Zhang again provided him with no treatment for his medical issues. After his unsatisfactory medical visit, Plaintiff filed another grievance complaining of ongoing and untreated or under-treated abdominal issues.

On June 10, 2009, Plaintiff saw Defendant Williams and again complained of abdominal pain and blood in his stool. Defendant Williams scheduled Plaintiff for a diagnostic procedure requiring him to provide a stool sample. On July 27, Plaintiff provided the stool sample to the medical laboratory. Defendant Williams reviewed and signed the results of the fecal test, which indicated that Plaintiff was suffering from an ...


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