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James C. Harris, # M-17545 v. S.A. Godinez

November 15, 2012


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


Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Pickneyville Correctional Center, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for actions taking place at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"). Plaintiff claims that Defendant Fuente, a physician at Menard's Health Care Center, violated Plaintiff's right to adequate medical care. Plaintiff complains that during a course of treatment prescribed by Defendant Fuente for plaintiff's headaches, the medication Naproxen had a negative interaction with plaintiff's other medications, specifically, Plavix and aspirin, causing him to be hospitalized. Plaintiff states that on December 14, 2011, Defendant Dean, a correctional officer at Menard, initially responded to his request for assistance but then took 1 hour and 45 minutes to remove Plaintiff to the Health Care Unit. Plaintiff, who continued to weaken throughout his wait, was ultimately rushed to Chester Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed with an ulcer and a ruptured artery. Physicians determined that the prescription Naproxen along with Plaintiff's other medications caused the ulcer, ultimately resulting in Plaintiff receiving a ten unit blood transfusion.

As to the remaining defendants, Plaintiff does not state in what manner each of these defendants is personally responsible for violating his constitutional rights. Plaintiff states that Defendant Fuentes was negligent in prescribing Naproxen to Plaintiff.

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.

Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated a colorable federal cause of action against Defendant Dean for deliberate indifference to medical needs. Defendant Fuentes, who attempted to treat Plaintiff's severe headache with Naproxen, but who was not presented with the symptoms that later manifested themselves, shall be dismissed. The Seventh Circuit has frequently noted that "medical malpractice in the form of an incorrect diagnosis or improper treatment does not state an Eighth Amendment claim." Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1374 (7th Cir. 1997). See also Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 590 (7th Cir. 1996) ("Mere negligence or even gross negligence does not constitute deliberate indifference.").

As to the remaining defendants, who are not mentioned in connection with any claim, Plaintiff has not adequately stated a serious medical condition nor pleaded facts indicating that any defendant violated his Eighth Amendment protections. Accordingly, these claims against Defendants Godinez, Atchinson, Price and Grubber-Harrington shall be dismissed without prejudice.

Pending Motions

Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit stating that he has no employment, has received no income for the last twelve months, and has no assets or cash on hand. However, he has not tendered a certified copy of his inmate trust fund account statement. The Court has requested a trust fund statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of this case from both the Pinckneyville and Menard Correctional Center, but to date has not received information sufficient to determine the amount of Plaintiff's initial partial payment. Based on Plaintiff's affidavit of indigence, the Court concludes that he is unable to pay in full the $350.00 filing fee in this case at this time, and therefore it is appropriate to permit him to proceed IFP in this case without full prepayment of the fee. At such time as the Court receives from the institution's Trust Fund Officer the certified copy of Plaintiff's trust fund account statement as requested, the Court will enter an order authorizing the Trust Fund Officer to deduct from Plaintiff's trust fund account the initial partial filing fee, and to forward the initial partial filing fee to the Clerk of Court. The order shall also direct subsequent payments to be made pursuant to § 1915 until the filing fee is paid in full. To conclude, Plaintiff's motion to proceed IFP in this case (Doc. 2) is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is directed to send a copy of this Order to Plaintiff and to the Trust Fund Officer at Pinckneyville.

Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 3) shall be referred to United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams for further consideration.

ORDER DENYING, without prejudice, Plaintiff's motion for service of process at government expense (Doc. 4). Plaintiff is ADVISED that it is not necessary for a litigant proceeding in forma pauperis to file a motion requesting service at the government's expense. The Clerk will direct service for any defendants in a complaint that passes preliminary review. Disposition

Plaintiff's claims against Defendants GODINEZ, ATCHINSON, FUENTE, PRICE and GRUBER-HARRINGTON for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and will be DISMISSED from this action ...

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