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Day v. Arbuckyle

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 2, 2014

WYNSTON DAY, # R-57236, Plaintiff,
v.
NURSE ARBUCKYLE, T. OCHS, C/O BRUNNER, and C/O VAUGHN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center ("Western"), where he is serving a 60-month sentence for aggravated battery. He brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, over events that occurred while he was confined at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). He raises claims of deliberate indifference to his serious mental health and medical needs, and excessive force.

More specifically, Plaintiff claims that in February and March 2014, Defendant Nurse Arbuckyle failed to adequately monitor him while he was on suicide watch (Doc. 5, pp. 4-5). As a result, on three different occasions he was able to accumulate a large number of pills, which he swallowed in repeated suicide attempts.

On February 27, 2014, Plaintiff told Defendant Vaughn that he had taken a lot of pills, but this correctional officer failed to call for medical attention. Plaintiff was only provided with some medical help after a different officer observed him taking more pills (Doc. 5, p. 5).

Two weeks later, Plaintiff attempted suicide again after another period of time when Defendant Arbuckyle failed to make sure he took the pills when they were handed out to him. Along with the pills he saved up, Plaintiff found eleven more pills in his mattress and took them too. When Plaintiff was taken to the Health Care Unit, he complained of stomach pain, but medical staff did not pump his stomach or give him any treatment for relief of his pain.

On March 17, 2014, Plaintiff again took an overdose of pills. He told Defendant Brunner that he had taken them, and showed Defendant Brunner the remaining half of the pills he still possessed. Defendant Brunner ignored Plaintiff and did nothing. About an hour later, Plaintiff complained to another officer, who witnessed him swallowing the rest of the pills. That officer apparently summoned help.

Also on March 17, 2014, Defendant Ochs came to Plaintiff's suicide watch cell and taunted him and another inmate, saying, "You're not man enough to kill yourself" (Doc. 5, p. 6). Defendant Ochs then told Plaintiff to cuff up. Thinking he was being taken to the medical department, Plaintiff put his arm through the cell's chuckhole. Defendant Ochs slammed the chuckhole door down onto Plaintiff's arm. Plaintiff tried to pull his arm free, but Defendant Ochs slammed the door again, this time onto Plaintiff's hand. Defendant Ochs then placed "the full weight of his body" onto the door's lever, grinding the metal door into Plaintiff's hand. Id. After releasing Plaintiff's hand, Defendant Ochs said, "That'll teach your soft ass" (Doc. 5, p. 7).

Plaintiff was taken to health care, where he was seen by Defendant Arbuckyle. Plaintiff reported the assault by Defendant Ochs and showed her his injured hand, but she ignored the "noticeable swelling" and purple section of skin on Plaintiff's palm (Doc. 5, p. 6). Neither she nor other unnamed medical staff gave Plaintiff anything for his pain or swelling, and they would not allow him to sign up for sick call to seek treatment, because he was on suicide watch.

Plaintiff seeks punitive and compensatory damages, and 180 days good time credit (Doc. 5, p. 9).

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 action, which shall receive further review:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Arbuckyle for deliberate indifference to mental health needs, for failing to monitor Plaintiff during his suicide watch thus enabling him to attempt suicide with his accumulated prescription pills;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Vaughn and Brunner for deliberate indifference to mental health and medical needs, for failing to summon medical assistance for Plaintiff ...

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