J. PHIL GILBERT,
Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
("Menard"), has brought this pro se action to seek redress for violations
of his constitutional rights ( see 42 U.S.C. § 1983) as well as his rights
under state law. He is serving sentences of 26, 20, and five years on three drug
convictions. This case was originally filed by Plaintiff in the Circuit Court of
the Twentieth Judicial District of Illinois, Randolph County, Case No. 13-MR-81,
on August 9, 2013 (Doc. 11-2, pp. 1, 20). Defendant Coe removed the case to this
Court on October 25, 2013, after he was served with summons (Doc. 11).
Defendant Coe has paid the filing fee for this matter (Doc. 2).
Because Plaintiff is a prisoner and is seeking relief from several
state officials, the Court is required to conduct a preliminary review of his
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.
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
(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).
Plaintiff's complaint describes events and claims beginning with his
incarceration in Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence") in January 2013, and
continuing through his subsequent transfers to Illinois River Correctional
Center ("Illinois River"), back to Lawrence, and then to Menard. At some time
prior to January 2013, Plaintiff suffered a knee injury and had been given
medical permits to be housed on a low gallery in a low bunk, as well as to have
a knee brace and Ace wrap. However, when he was transferred to Lawrence on
January 9, his medical permits were not re-issued and his medical devices were
taken away (Doc. 11-2, p. 2). The complaint does not disclose the names of any
medical staff members who were involved in Plaintiff's treatment, or lack
thereof. He spoke to a mental health counselor (Sandy Buck Taylor), who
documented his concerns but could not help him obtain his medical permits or
supplies. Plaintiff went on a hunger strike to protest the lack of attention to
his medical needs.
Plaintiff was transferred to Illinois River on January 23, 2013 (Doc.
11-2, p. 3). Again, he had no medical permits nor support devices for the
injured right knee. He sought help from medical staff (again unnamed) without
success. On January 28, 2013, his knee gave out and he fell, dislocating his
right shoulder. Correctional Officer Dorthy (who is not a named Defendant)
refused to summon emergency medical treatment for Plaintiff. Id. His
other requests for help were denied.
On February 13, 2013, Plaintiff was transferred back to Lawrence (Doc.
11-2, p. 3). He begged for medical attention without success. On February 24,
2013, Lieutenant Thomas Stuck told Plaintiff he would be moved from segregation
back into general population. Plaintiff refused to go based on his medical
concerns, and was issued a disciplinary ticket. This kept him in segregation for
30 more days (Doc. 11-2, p. 4). Plaintiff then began another hunger strike in an
attempt to obtain medical treatment for his injuries, which were causing him
great pain. He refused food for 30 days, and wrote to "everyone" seeking help.
Eventually, he was taken to an outside hospital for an ultrasound test, 
and on May 10, 2013, he was prescribed pain medication (which was "useless") and
Plaintiff wrote numerous grievances between January and June 2013 to
complain about the lack of medical treatment at Lawrence (Doc. 11-2, p. 5). He
claims that Lawrence employees wrote him many disciplinary tickets in
retaliation for his grievance activity. Ultimately, he was transferred from
Lawrence, a medium security facility, to Menard, which is a maximum security
prison. He alleges that this June ...