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Mijangos v. Cross

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 10, 2014

LUIS MIJANGOS, # XXXXX-XXX, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES CROSS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Luis Mijangos, who is currently incarcerated at Greenville Federal Correctional Institution ("Greenville"), brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims that Defendant James Cross (Warden at Greenville) has violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by denying him adequate medical treatment.

Plaintiff commenced this action by filing an emergency motion requesting injunctive relief. Id. Plaintiff did not file a separate civil complaint with his motion. However, the Court, in its discretion, will liberally construe the emergency motion as a complaint seeking injunctive relief and will refer to it as the complaint throughout this order. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(e).

Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the 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). The request for emergency injunctive relief will be considered in conjunction with the requisite preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

The Complaint

The facts relevant to the Court's threshold review are as follows: Plaintiff has been a T5 complete paraplegic from his chest down to his feet since 1997 when he sustained a gunshot wound, which severed his spine. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Since then, Plaintiff has had no voluntary urinary function and he has been unable to maintain bowel functions without the use of laxative suppositories. Id. Plaintiff claims that over time he discovered that only one type of laxative, "Magic Bullet, " in its non-generic form was effective at maintaining his bowel functions without adverse side effects. Id. at 3.

Prior to his transfer to Greenville, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Big Springs Correctional Center ("Big Springs") in Big Springs, Texas. Id. at 1. While at Big Springs, Plaintiff initially encountered some difficulty obtaining a prescription for Magic Bullet, but eventually a doctor at Big Springs approved his request and Plaintiff was prescribed the non-generic form of Magic Bullet. See id. at 17-27.

Following Plaintiff's transfer from Big Springs to Greenville on February 11, 2014, Plaintiff had a meeting with the Greenville medical staff regarding his medical condition and current medications. Following this meeting, Greenville medical staff refused to provide the brand name version of Magic Bullet and instead Plaintiff was prescribed Bisacodyl, a generic version of the medication. Id. at 3. Plaintiff asserts that he tried Bisacodyl, but not only did it fail to stimulate his bowels, it also resulted in severe abdominal pain and urinary tract infections. Id. at 3. Plaintiff maintains that he has reported these problems to the medical staff and requested a change in his medication, but that the medical staff has refused to switch Plaintiff back to the Magic Bullet. Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff is requesting immediate injunctive relief in the form of an order from the Court directing Defendant to provide Plaintiff with his proper medications. In the alternative, Plaintiff requests that the Court appoint him counsel and hold an evidentiary hearing on this matter.

Discussion

Count 1: Eighth Amendment Claim

To establish an Eighth Amendment medical needs claim, Plaintiff must show that: (1) the medical condition was objectively serious; and (2) the state officials acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. See Sherrod v. Lingle, 223 F.3d 605, 619 (7th Cir. 2000). The complaint satisfies the objective prong of this test. The Seventh Circuit has held that a medical need is objectively "serious" where it has either "been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment" or where the need is "so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention." Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997).

Plaintiff has been diagnosed with bowel dystonia; as such, he is unable to maintain proper bowel function without the use of a laxative suppository. Currently, Plaintiff alleges that the medication he is being given does not regulate his bowels and, in fact, causes him extreme abdominal pain. These allegations meet the threshold requirement for a "serious" medical need. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant was made aware of Plaintiff's medical condition, but refused to provide Plaintiff with the medication he needed to effectively treat his condition. In a claim for injunctive relief, the government official who is responsible for carrying out the requested relief would be named as a defendant in his or her official capacity. See Gonzalez v. Feinerman, 663 F.3d 311, 315 (7th Cir. 2011). In the context of prison litigation, the official ...


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