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Dennis Sperow, # N-77538 v. Vipin Shah

September 12, 2012


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


Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated in Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants Shah and Paul, both physicians at Pinckneyville, were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical conditions. More specifically, Plaintiff claims that he suffers from both hepatitis C and an inguinal hernia. Defendants Shah and Paul have given Plaintiff no treatment for his hepatitis C despite his requests. Plaintiff believes the hernia was caused by general weakening of his body due to the untreated hepatitis C. Plaintiff's hernia has caused him to suffer intense pain on several occasions when the hernia became "trapped" or strangulated (Doc. 1, p. 6; Doc. 1-1, pp. 11-12). In addition, he experiences dizziness, headache, stomach pain, and difficulty walking on a daily basis because of the hernia. Due to his impaired ability to move about the prison, he has only been able to go to meals twice a day for the past two years. Defendant Shah has refused to provide treatment for the hernia. Plaintiff requests that he be given "adequate medical care and treatment" (Doc. 1, p. 7).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint. Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated a colorable federal cause of action against Defendants Shah and Paul for deliberate indifference to medical needs.

Plaintiff also names Louis Shicker (the Medical Director for the Illinois Department of Corrections) as a Defendant. Plaintiff fails to mention Defendant Shicker further in the body of his complaint, and does not describe any conduct on his part that might have violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. As a result, Plaintiff fails to state a deliberate indifference claim against Defendant Shicker. Nonetheless, because Plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief in the form of particular medical treatment, Defendant Shicker may be a necessary party, and he shall remain as a Defendant in the action at this time.

Plaintiff also does not include any allegations of misconduct in the body of the complaint against the Unknown Party Defendant. Accordingly, the claim against the Unknown Party Defendant is dismissed on initial review. See Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998).

Pending Motions

A. Motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 3)

There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointment of counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v. Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (7th Cir. 2010). Federal District Courts have discretion under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) to request counsel to assist pro se litigants. Id. When presented with a request to appoint counsel, the Court must consider: "(1) has the indigent plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to litigate it himself [.]" Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007). With regard to the first step of the inquiry, Plaintiff indicates that he has contacted one law firm in an effort to obtain counsel. This minimal effort does not demonstrate a reasonable attempt by Plaintiff to obtain counsel on his own, nor show that he has been effectively precluded from obtaining counsel. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 3) is DENIED without prejudice. Plaintiff may choose to re-file this motion at a later stage in the litigation.

B. Motion for service at government expense (Doc. 4)

It is not necessary for a litigant proceeding in forma pauperis to file a motion requesting service at the government's expense. Service is directed for any remaining Defendants when a complaint passes preliminary review. Accordingly, this motion is DENIED AS MOOT.

C. Motion for status (Doc. 9)

The motion for status is GRANTED in that the status of Plaintiff's case is reflected in this order.


Defendant UNKNOWN PARTY is DISMISSED from this action without prejudice. The Clerk of Court shall prepare for Defendants SHAH, PAUL and SHICKER: (1) Form 5 (Notice of a Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons), and (2) Form 6 (Waiver of Service of Summons). The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail these forms, a copy of the complaint, and this Memorandum and Order to each Defendant's place of employment as identified by Plaintiff. If a Defendant fails to sign and return the Waiver of Service of Summons (Form 6) to the Clerk within 30 days from the date the forms were sent, the Clerk shall take appropriate steps to effect formal service on ...

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