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Zoph v. Atchison

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 2, 2014

JEFFREY W. ZOPH, Plaintiff,
WARDEN MICHAEL P. ATCHISON, et al., Defendants.



Plaintiff, Jeffrey W. Zoph, currently incarcerated at Lawrenceville Correctional Center, brings this pro se action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act during the time that he was confined at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"). Plaintiff wears glasses, is confined to a wheelchair, and needs insulin and a proper diet to manage his diabetes. He was housed at Menard from August 7-31, 2012. According to Plaintiff, when he arrived at Menard, prison officials confiscated his wheelchair and glasses, and he was without them for the entire duration of his time there. Without his wheelchair, he was unable to move around his cell. Transferring from his bed to the toilet was extremely difficult and painful. He could not reach the chuckhole to get his food tray or to put his laundry out for collection. He was unable to get to the showers; in fact, he took only one shower the entire time he was at Menard. As a result, Plaintiff suffered from headaches and back pain, and he contracted ringworm.

Plaintiff originally named 24 unknown correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and nurses as John and Jane Doe Defendants (Doc. 1). Through various motions, orders, and discovery ( see Docs. 43, 47, 49, 50, 53, 60, 65, 69, 72, 75, and 76), Plaintiff was provided with sufficient information to discern the identity of the relevant individuals. Over a year and a half after the original complaint was filed, Plaintiff finally submitted an amended complaint in which the John and Jane Doe Defendants are replaced with named individuals (Doc. 72, 76).

The amended complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review of pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the amended complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).


In his amended complaint, Plaintiff names 14 individuals, all employees at Menard, as Defendants: (1) Sergeant James A. Kloth; (2) Correctional Officer Scott W. Carter; (3) Correctional Officer Scott; (4) Sergeant Dale Yates; (5) Correctional Officer Daniel G. Klein; (6) Correctional Officer Cole Young; (7) Sergeant Bryant P. Davis; (8) Officer Bernard R. Yokom[1]; (9) Lieutenant Tommy J. Lawless; (10) Lieutenant Ray J. Rieckenberg; (11) Correctional Officer Heather Hood; (12) Sergeant Amy Jetton; (13) Nurse M. Child; and (14) Nurse Chadderton.

Plaintiff alleges that Sergeant Kloth ordered Officer Carter to confiscate Plaintiff's glasses and wheelchair upon his arrival at Menard on August 7, 2012. On August 8, 2012, Officer Scott transported Plaintiff in a wheelchair to an "ADA cell, " but left him in the cell without the wheelchair. Sergeant Yates was at the door when Officer Scott left Plaintiff in the cell, and he later commented that he was unsure why Plaintiff was not allowed his wheelchair.

From August 8 to August 31, Officer Klein and Sergeant Jetton, either personally or through inmate "porters, " failed to provide Plaintiff with access to food. They would place the food trays, or order them to be placed, in the chuckhole that was inaccessible to Plaintiff instead of taking the tray into the cell itself. On one of these dates, Plaintiff's blood sugar level dropped because of the lack of food, and the inmate porter threw packages of peanut butter to him. Another time, his food sat in the chuckhole for two hours until the Sergeant Jetton finally allowed a porter to take the tray into the cell.

Officer Klein and Officer Hood were responsible for collecting the inmates' laundry each week. Since Plaintiff could not reach the chuckhole, he was unable to put his laundry out. Plaintiff would call out for help when they were near his cell, but they slammed the chuckhole shut and walked away.

Officer Young was in charge of shower days. He told Plaintiff that there was no way to get him to the showers without his wheelchair. On one occasion, an inmate worker brought a shower chair to Plaintiff's cell and pushed him to the shower and back. That was the only shower Plaintiff took during the 25 days he was confined at Menard.

Plaintiff further alleges that Sergeant Davis, Officer Yokom, Lieutenant Lawless, and Lieutenant Rieckenberg came to his cell at various times to unlock the cell door so a nurse could administer Plaintiff's insulin. Each Defendant commented on the bad smell in Plaintiff's cell, and Plaintiff explained that he was not getting showers and his laundry was not being done. Plaintiff also requested grievance forms from each Defendant. However, no one did anything about Plaintiff's complaints; they simply told him that he would have to talk to someone on the "day shift."

When Lieutenant Rieckenberg and Nurse Chadderton came to Plaintiff's cell to administer his insulin, he complained that he was suffering from headaches without his glasses and back pain without his wheelchair due to the physical strain of trying to access the toilet. Nurse Chadderton gave him nothing for the pain and told him "to see someone on the day shift." Similarly, when Lieutenant Lawless and Nurse Child came to Plaintiff's cell and he complained about his headaches, Nurse Child told him she "would leave a note for day shift and that it wasn't her problem."

As a result of these conditions, Plaintiff states that he suffered back pain, aggravation of previous injuries, headaches, and a ringworm infection. Plaintiff ...

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