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Carter v. Williams

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 18, 2014

KRISTEN CARTER, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER DARREN WILLIAMS, OFFICER ROBERT KIDWELL, and WARDEN MARC HODGES, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kristen Carter brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on an incident while he was an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center. Carter has since been paroled. More specifically, he takes issue with the condition of the gym floor upon which he tripped and broke his arm, and the failure of correctional officers to timely secure medical care.

The original complaint was dismissed, but counsel was appointed to represent Plaintiff for the limited purpose of conducting discovery to discern the identity of a defendant and filing an amended complaint. Counsel now filed an amended complaint on Plaintiff's behalf (Doc. 18). Consistent with the terms of appointment, Plaintiff's counsel, Yvonne M. O'Connor, now moves to be relieved as counsel of record for Plaintiff (Doc. 20).

Before addressing attorney O'Connor's motion, the amended complaint must undergo preliminary review 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.

The Amended Complaint

According to the amended complaint, on January 23, 2013, Plaintiff was playing basketball and tripped over loose carpeting on the gym floor, breaking his fall with his out-stretched arms. When he hit the floor, Plaintiff experienced extreme pain and reported the fall and his need for medical care to the commanding officer in the gym, who was either Officer Williams or Officer Kidwell-both were present. The officer told Plaintiff to wait until he returned to his housing unity from the gym to report his injury, leaving Plaintiff in pain. X-rays subsequently revealed that Plaintiff had fractured his arm.

It is alleged that Williams and/or Kidwell exhibited deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Both correctional officers are sued in their individual and official capacities for compensatory and punitive damages.

It is further alleged that Warden Hodges, who is charged with the safety of all inmates, allowed the dangerous condition of the gym flooring to exist, even though "it was well-known" that the carpet was loose, coming up and causing people to trip. Also, as the supervisor of all prison personnel, Warden Hodges was responsible for ensuring that all correctional officers report injuries in a prompt fashion so medical care can be administered. Plaintiff asserts that the incidents at issue in this case can be attributed to a lack of supervision and the absence of proper policies. Warden Hodge is sued in his official capacity for compensatory and punitive damages.

Based on the allegations in the amended complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into two counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

Count 1: Officer Darren Williams and/or Officer Robert Kidwell were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs when he did not get Plaintiff medical attention at the time of the injury on ...

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