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R-25461 v. Lawrence

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 28, 2014



MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"), and brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for several alleged constitutional violations. He claims that he has been denied personal hygiene items, and consequently has developed a serious infection that the prison medical department staff has refused to treat. Along with the complaint, Plaintiff has filed an "Order to Show Cause for a Preliminary Injunction" (Doc. 4), which the Court construes as a motion for preliminary injunction.

The Complaint

Plaintiff begins his narrative by noting he was found guilty of a minor disciplinary infraction on May 31, 2014, and was punished with one month of commissary restriction (Doc. 1, p. 2; Doc. 1-1). He asserts that inmates on such restriction are still permitted to buy $15.00 of hygiene products once per month. However, an unidentified official did not allow Plaintiff to go to commissary on June 7 when other inmates on his unit were called out to shop.

On June 13, 2014, Plaintiff wrote an emergency grievance to Defendant Warden Duncan, complaining that he had no soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, or razors and had been without those items for 13 days (Doc. 1, p. 2-3; Doc. 1-2). Defendant Duncan deemed the grievance non-emergency and Plaintiff was told to submit it through regular channels. Plaintiff did so, but as of the date his complaint was placed in the mail (July 18), he had still not been allowed to purchase any hygiene items, nor was he provided any. He claims he now has been without these items "for months" (Doc. 1, p. 3).

On June 27, 2014, Plaintiff wrote another emergency grievance to Defendant Duncan (Doc. 1-3), stating that because of the lack of soap and inability to clean himself, he had developed a painful infection and boil on his genitals. He did not complain that he had been denied medical care, but stated "I've got to go see Medical Health Care Unit" about his condition (Doc. 1-3, p. 2). Defendant Duncan found this grievance to also be non-emergency.

Plaintiff turned next to Defendant Tredway (an assistant warden who oversees health care). His letter informed her that he had been writing to the health care unit since June 27, 2014, seeking medical care for the open wound that was bleeding, discharging pus, and refusing to heal. However, he had not been given any treatment for the infection (Doc. 1-4, p. 1). Plaintiff does not indicate the date of his letter to Defendant Tredway.

Plaintiff includes a detailed log of his attempts to seek medical care from the Lawrence Medical Department and several individual health care staff (Doc. 1-4, pp. 3-7). Beginning on June 27, 2014, Plaintiff turned in written requests for treatment every day, and made frequent verbal requests for help to the nurses who brought him his twice-daily medication for a mental health condition. However, as of the date of his complaint (three weeks after his initial request), Plaintiff had still never been examined or treated for the infection on his penis.

According to Plaintiff's log, he wrote a request for treatment to Medical Director John Coe on June 28. During a hearing before this Court on June 30, 2014, on another case, [1] Dr. Coe stated that Plaintiff had a medical appointment set for July 3 (Doc. 1-4, p. 4). However, Plaintiff was not seen on that date. He continued to submit request slips while the infection worsened and became more painful. On July 8, Nurse Baker told Plaintiff his July 3 appointment would be rescheduled. On July 9, Plaintiff saw Dr. Coe for treatment of the ear infection which was the subject of his earlier lawsuit, at which time Plaintiff again requested treatment for the infection on his private part. Dr. Coe stated he was only there for the ear infection and Plaintiff would have to fill out a request slip for any other problem (Doc. 1-4, p. 5).

By July 12, Plaintiff was in so much pain that he could barely walk from his bed to the cell door to get his breakfast tray. He was running a fever, feeling dizzy, and vomited twice. On July 13 (a Sunday), Nurse Reed came to Plaintiff's cell and asked him about his infection. He explained his symptoms, and she gave him Motrin and told him he would be seen on Tuesday. The next day (July 14), Plaintiff received a slip from the Health Care Unit for a (Tuesday) July 15 appointment, which he signed and returned (Doc. 1-4, p. 6). However, on July 15, his pass was canceled because health care could not work him in. Plaintiff sent another request, and asked for a crisis team in an effort to get treatment, but still got no medical attention for the increasingly painful genital infection.

Plaintiff asserts a Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claim against Defendants Duncan and Tredway for failing to remedy his complaints through the grievance procedure (Doc. 1, p. 4). He also raises an Eighth Amendment claim against them for deliberate indifference to his needs for medical care and personal hygiene/sanitation. Finally, he asserts that the Lawrence Medical Staff have collectively been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction requiring Defendants to provide him with proper medical treatment, as well as declaratory relief and damages (Doc. 1, p. 5).

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 the following colorable federal causes of ...

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