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Grier v. Medical Director

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 6, 2013

BOBBY GRIER, #M-27338, Plaintiff,


MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving two five-year sentences for aggravated domestic battery. Plaintiff claims that Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition by refusing to accommodate his need to be placed in a lower bunk, and for subjecting him to excessively cold conditions in his cell.

More specifically, Plaintiff claims that before he was transferred to Menard, he had been issued several medical special needs permits by doctors in his previous prisons within the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"). He attaches copies of these documents, which show that while at Logan Correctional Center, he was issued a one-year low bunk/low gallery permit in September 2012 and a one-year slow walk permit in December 2012 (Doc. 1, pp. 10, 14). On March 23, 2013, after Plaintiff was moved to Lincoln Correctional Center, he was issued a slow walk and bottom bunk permit marked "indefinite" (Doc. 1, p. 12). Soon thereafter, he was transferred to Big Muddy Correctional Center, where he was issued a permanent slow walk/low bunk permit for "chronic health issues, " on May 22, 2013 (Doc. 1, p. 13). He asserts that these permits are on file with his medical records, and are in the possession of the Defendant Medical Director, Defendant Placement Officer, and Defendant Ziegler (Doc. 1, p. 7). However, they have not been honored or re-issued by Menard officials.

Plaintiff was transferred to Menard on September 26, 2013, and was housed in a two-man cell where his cellmate already occupied the lower bunk (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff told Defendant Davis (the gallery officer) about his medical permits, and the fact that his medical condition makes him physically unable to climb into the top bunk. Defendant Davis ordered Plaintiff to sleep on the floor until he could get a permit from the doctor at Menard.

Plaintiff immediately submitted requests to the Defendant Medical Director and to Defendant Lang (medical staff), asking to be seen by a physician. Plaintiff repeated this request to Defendant Lang several times in person (Doc. 1, p. 4). He also requested Defendants Major Pelker, Sgt. Ziegler, and the Unknown Party Placement Officer to move him to a low bunk or a single cell. After three nights of sleeping on the floor, on September 30, 2013, Plaintiff filed two emergency grievances to Warden Harrington over his housing predicament and the "denial of medical treatment" (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Plaintiff told Defendant Davis several more times that he needed to see medical staff and be moved to a low bunk. Defendant Davis responded with verbal threats. As of the time he filed the complaint, Plaintiff had been sleeping/living on the floor for five weeks. He claims this has caused him to become sick and to suffer muscle cramps, headaches, and mental anguish. He has never been scheduled to be seen by medical staff throughout this time, and has not received any response to his grievances.

In addition, the windows are left open in his cell area, and an industrial fan is left on around the clock. As a result, the temperature in Plaintiff's cell drops to 35 degrees overnight. Plaintiff has asked Defendant Davis to close the windows and turn off the fan, because it was making him cold and sick. Defendant Davis responded, "Good, " and walked away (Doc. 1, p. 7).

Plaintiff has filed a separate motion for injunction (Doc. 2), requesting a hearing on his prayer for injunctive relief. He seeks an order providing him with a bed, unspecified medical treatment, and cleaning materials for his cell. He also requests compensatory and punitive damages (Doc. 1, p. 8).

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.

Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated a colorable federal cause of action against Defendants Davis, Lang, Pelker, Ziegler, and the Unknown Parties (Menard Medical Director and Placement Officer) for deliberate indifference to his medical need for placement in a lower bunk (Count 1). Further, his Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Davis for housing Plaintiff in excessively cold conditions (Count 2) shall receive further review.

However, to the extent that Plaintiff seeks to hold any Defendant(s) liable for denying him medical treatment for any complaints other than the request for renewal of his medical permits, the current pleading does not support such a claim. Plaintiff never explains the nature of his medical condition, other than the fact it prevents him from climbing, and he never says that he sought medical treatment for any problems or symptoms other than the renewal of his low bunk permit. Accordingly, his deliberate indifference claim in Count 1 is limited to the low bunk permit matter.

Pending Motions

Plaintiff's motion for injunction (Doc. 2) shall be referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for further consideration, with a hearing to ...

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