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Postlewaite v. Cole

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 24, 2014

JARVIS LAMAR POSTLEWAITE, No. R25461, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. JOHN COLE, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jarvis Lamar Postlewaite, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on the medical care he has received for a severe ear infection ( see Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks only affirmative injunctive relief in the form of "proper" medical treatment, a consultation with a specialist, additional pain relief, and mental health treatment.

Given the nature of the allegations and out of an overabundance of caution, the Court construes the complaint as containing a motion for a temporary restraining order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(b), a motion for preliminary injunction pursuant to Rule 65(a), as well as the general prayer for injunctive relief. Consequently, the motions for temporary and preliminary injunctive relief will be considered in conjunction with the requisite preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.[1]

The Complaint

According to the complaint, Plaintiff Postlewaite has been diagnosed with a severe infection in his right ear, which causes him great pain. According to Plaintiff, "no real sound" is heard in his right ear. He is given "little pain medication, " and "no other real mental health treatment" (Doc. 1, p. 1). Plaintiff has been seeking treatment since November 6, 2013, when he arrived at Lawrence.

Suit is brought against Dr. John Cole, medical director at Lawrence Correctional Center. There are no allegations of personal involvement by Dr. Cole in Plaintiff's treatment and, as already noted, only injunctive relief is sought. Therefore, the complaint is construed as being against Dr. Cole in only his official capacity as the medical director at Lawrence.

Based on the allegations in the complaint, and keeping in mind that Plaintiff invokes 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Court finds it convenient to frame Plaintiff's claim as follows:

Count 1: Medical staff at Lawrence Correctional Center have been deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff Postlewaite's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Discussion

A civil action is commenced with the filing of a complaint. FED.R.CIV.P. 3. Without a viable complaint, the Court cannot ascertain the basis for jurisdiction. See Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 681-82 (1946); Greater Chicago Combine and Center, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 431 F.3d 1065, 1069-70 (7th Cir. 2005). Therefore, the Court will first assess the viability of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim before considering either a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction.

Preliminary Review

Relative to the preliminary review of the complaint, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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 ...

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