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Melendez v. Loftin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 20, 2014

JAIME MELENDEZ, # N-50994, Plaintiff,


STANI M. YANDALE, District Judge.

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center ("Robinson"), where he is serving an 18-year sentence. He has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Loftin, a physician, was negligent and failed to give him proper medical attention for his serious heart condition.

This case was initially filed in the Northern District of Illinois on July 7, 2014, under Case No. 14-cv-5208. Defendant Godinez (the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections) was dismissed from the action on September 29, 2014 (Doc. 6), and the case was then transferred to this district.

Plaintiff is 62 years old. He was transferred to Robinson in March 2009, at which time he immediately informed Defendant Loftin that he was having chest pains (Doc. 1, p. 6). She prescribed aspirin, but Plaintiff continued to have chest pain that increased in intensity as time passed.[1] He claims that for the next 3-1/2 years, Defendant Loftin continued to ignore his complaints and did not prescribe any other medication, only aspirin.

On September 16, 2012, Plaintiff suffered a heart attack. He was taken to the Carle Hospital in Champaign, three hours from the prison, where he underwent triple-bypass surgery. Ten days later, he was discharged back to Robinson. Soon thereafter, on October 10, 2012, a "clog" developed in one of the bypasses, and Plaintiff suffered a second heart attack (Doc. 1, p. 7). He was returned to the same hospital and a stent was put into the blocked artery (Doc. 1, pp. 11, 22).

Plaintiff claims that since his surgeries, he has not been given proper medical attention or adequately nutritious meals to assist his recovery. He also blames his initial heart attack on the lack of appropriate medical attention during his incarceration (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Plaintiff included several documents with his complaint. In a grievance filed on January 28, 2013 (Doc. 1, pp. 12-15), he states that after he made numerous complaints of chest pain, Defendant Loftin "finally ran a K.C.B.[2] test" on him in May or June of 2012 (Doc. 1, p. 13). The test showed nothing was wrong with him, and she instructed him to continue taking his aspirin.

In the response denying that grievance, it is noted that Defendant Loftin prescribed Plaintiff blood pressure and cholesterol medication along with the low-dose aspirin (Doc. 1, p. 11). After his bypass surgery, he was given all medications that were prescribed by the cardiologist. On October 10, 2012, when he returned to the hospital, it was discovered that he had a blood clot in one of the bypass grafts. After that, he was prescribed Plavix. He was also given an order allowing him to go to the medical gym to walk. A letter from Defendant Loftin dated July 17, 2013, states that Plaintiff was started on Plavix after his stent operation (Doc. 1, p. 20).

Plaintiff also included a report from a physician at the Carle cardiology department, summarizing a November 20, 2012, follow-up visit to evaluate him after the second (stent) surgery (Doc. 1, pp. 21-22). This document lists seven prescription medications which Plaintiff was taking: Aspirin, Plavix, Vasotec, Hydrochlorothiazide, Metoprolol, Zantac, and Zocor. In addition, the doctor noted that his previous prescription of Enalapril for hypertension could be restarted.

As relief, Plaintiff seeks only monetary damages "due to negligence and not receiving the proper medical attention" (Doc. 1, p. 8). However, in the body of the complaint, Plaintiff says that he is requesting "the appropriate and necessary medical treatment that goes with [his] type of condition" (Doc. 1, p. 7).

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.

After fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that "no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit." Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross "the line between possibility and plausibility." Id. at 557. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts ...

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