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Jacques Charreire Baker v. Debra Fuqua and

September 11, 2012

JACQUES CHARREIRE BAKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEBRA FUQUA AND
JANE DOES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and incarcerated in Western Illinois Correctional Center, pursues claims arising from Defendants' failure to administer medicine prescribed for his severe sinus headaches. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Court is required by § 1915A to review a Complaint filed by a prisoner against a governmental entity or officer and, through such process, to identify cognizable claims, dismissing any claim that is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." A hearing is held if necessary to assist the Court in this review, but, in this case, the Court concludes that no hearing is necessary. The Complaint and its attachments are clear enough on their own for this Court to perform its merit review of Plaintiff's Complaint.

The review standard under § 1915A is the same as the notice pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). To state a claim, the allegations 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 must give enough detail to 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 (7th Cir. 2007)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted)). 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, 550 U.S. at 555). "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 . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56). However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).

ALLEGATIONS

The events occurred in October, 2010, in Western Illinois Correctional Center, where Plaintiff remains incarcerated.

On October 6, 2010, Plaintiff received a prescription to treat severe sinus headaches. He was to take one pill at night, for ten days. However, when he arrived at the med-line that evening, an unidentified nurse told him that his medicine was not on the cart. She promised to put his medicine on the cart when she returned to healthcare and that Plaintiff would receive the medicine in the morning. Plaintiff endured excruciating pain during the night, only to find in the morning that the medicine was still not on the cart. Another unidentified nurse told him that she would make sure the medicine was on the cart for that evening, but again Plaintiff did not receive his medicine that evening. This continued despite Plaintiff's complaints of excruciating pain and pleas for his medicine. On October 17, 2010, Plaintiff tried again and was told that his prescription had expired. Plaintiff informed the nurse that he had never actually received the medicine. The nurse promised to look into the matter, and the next night, on October 18, 2010, Plaintiff finally received his medicine.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff's claim falls under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. In the context of medical care for prisoners, cruel and unusual punishment occurs when a Defendant is deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need of a prisoner:

A prisoner's claim for deliberate indifference must establish "(1) an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) an official's deliberate indifference to that condition." Arnett , 658 F.3d at 750. Deliberate indifference is proven by demonstrating that a prison official knows of a substantial risk of harm to an inmate and "either acts or fails to act in disregard of that risk." Id. at 751.

Gomez v. Randle, 680 F.3d 859, 865 (7th Cir. 2012). A condition can be considered serious if, without treatment, the plaintiff suffered "'further significant injury or unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.'" Id. "Even a few days' delay in addressing a severely painful but readily treatable condition suffices to state a claim of deliberate indifference." Smith v. Knox County Jail, 666 F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir.2012).

Plaintiff states an arguable claim for deliberate indifference to his need for his sinus medicine. While negligent acts do not arise to deliberate indifference, Plaintiff repeatedly sought his medication over the course of ten days, each time being assured that the medicine would be provided. A plausible inference of deliberate indifference arises ...


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