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Widmer v. Harrington

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 26, 2013

MICHAEL WIDMER, # B-30985, Plaintiff,
v.
RICK HARRINGTON, SGT. WALLS, SGT. RESTOFF, and A. WALTERS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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 a five-year sentence for intimidation, and four-year sentences for obstructing justice and fleeing a police officer. Plaintiff claims that the conditions in his cell caused him to become ill, but Defendants refused to summon medical attention for him or take any steps to remedy the conditions. Further, Defendant Qualls retaliated against Plaintiff for making complaints.

More specifically, Plaintiff claims that on November 15, 2013, he was moved to Cell 105 in the West Cell House at Menard. Over the next seven days, he was subjected to thick smoke and below-freezing temperatures (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff suffers from asthma.

By November 21, the smoke and cold had caused him to wheeze and spit up green mucous. Eventually, he began to vomit blood. Plaintiff told Defendant Qualls on the 21st that the conditions had made him ill, and asked to see a medical staff member. Defendant Qualls not only denied this request, he retaliated against Plaintiff for complaining by unplugging Plaintiff's TV cable and shutting off the water to his cell (Doc. 1, p. 6). Defendant Qualls told Plaintiff that he would leave the water off and the TV disconnected if he complained again. Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance to Defendant Harrington (the warden) describing these events in detail. He also submitted a request to the medical unit for treatment of his symptoms (Doc. 1, p. 7). The next day, Plaintiff was able to get a different officer to reconnect the water and TV cable.

On November 27, 2013, Plaintiff told Defendant Restoff that he was very ill and unable to eat, and asked him to summon medical staff. Defendant Restoff denied this request, and did so again on the following day.

On November 28, 2013, Plaintiff told Defendant Walters that he was very ill, had asthma, and was having difficulty breathing because of the cold and thick smoke. In response to Plaintiff's plea for medical assistance, Defendant Walters asked him, "[A]re you going to die?" and then did nothing to help him (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff filed another emergency grievance to Defendant Harrington, detailing his condition and these events.

Due to the Defendants' deliberate indifference, Plaintiff suffered extreme stomach, head, and throat pain, as well as nausea. He seeks damages and injunctive relief (Doc. 1, p. 8; Doc. 3).

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 all Defendants for deliberate indifference to medical needs (Count 1), and against Defendant Qualls for retaliation (Count 2). These claims shall be referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for further review.

Pending Motion

Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief (Doc. 3) shall also be referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for further consideration.

Disposition

The Clerk of Court shall prepare for Defendants HARRINGTON, QUALLS, RESTOFF, and WALTERS: (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 that ...


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