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Hollins v. Godinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 2, 2014

JIMMY HOLLINS, # M-26980, Plaintiff,
v.
S. A. GODINEZ, THOMAS A. SPILLER, VIPIN K. SHAH, and ANGEL RECTOR, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff Jimmy Hollins' first amended complaint.[1] In it, Plaintiff claims that he has been denied adequate medical care for partial paralysis in one leg and memory loss that resulted from two brain surgeries he underwent in 2012. Plaintiff transferred to Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville") in early 2013 and claims that Pinckneyville officials have responded to his requests for follow-up care with deliberate indifference. Plaintiff now sues four defendants, including S. A. Godinez (Illinois Department of Corrections' ("IDOC") director), Thomas Spiller (Pinckneyville's warden), Vipin Shah (Pinckneyville's medical director), and Angel Rector (Pinckneyville's nurse practitioner), for violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the first amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 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 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). After carefully considering the allegations in light of this standard, the Court finds that the first amended complaint survives preliminary review under Section 1915A.

First Amended Complaint

According to the first amended complaint, Plaintiff underwent brain surgery twice in 2012, while he was incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center ("Vandalia"). Following the two surgeries, he suffered from seizures, chronic pain, partial paralysis in one leg (resulting in a limp), and memory loss. At the time of his discharge from the hospital following his second brain surgery in September 2012, Plaintiff understood that he would receive extensive and ongoing therapy to address his limp and memory loss.

Plaintiff transferred to Pinckneyville in early 2013. Despite making several requests for follow-up care, Plaintiff claims that he has still not received medical care or therapy for either of these lingering conditions. The amended complaint alleges that Plaintiff "made several attempts and request[s] for physical therapy and other treatments [that] he understood were needed to assist with the memory loss and partial paralysis." However, Defendants Godinez, Spiller, Shah, and Rector allegedly responded to Plaintiff's requests for medical care with deliberate indifference.

Plaintiff still suffers from memory loss and has not yet regained the full range of motion in his leg. The first amended complaint does not address the current status of his seizures or his chronic pain. However, Plaintiff claims to now also suffer from depression.

Plaintiff sues Defendants Godinez, Spiller, Shah, and Rector for violating his right to receive medical care under the Eighth Amendment. He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief, including a medical evaluation and any other medical care that is necessary for a full recovery.

Discussion

Count 1 - Medical Needs Claim

Plaintiff shall be allowed to proceed with an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim (Count 1) against Defendants Spiller, Shah, and Rector at this time. "A claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need contains both an objective and a subjective component. To satisfy the objective component, a prisoner must demonstrate that his medical condition is objectively, sufficiently serious.'" See Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)). The subjective component requires a prisoner to demonstrate that prison officials acted with a "sufficiently culpable state of mind." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834; Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653. Specifically, the officials "must know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health." Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653.

The Court is persuaded that Plaintiff's partial leg paralysis and memory loss - not to mention his seizures and pain - are objectively serious medical conditions. Although less clear, the first amended complaint suggests that Pinckneyville officials, including Defendants Spiller, Shah, and Rector, responded to Plaintiff's numerous requests for follow-up medical care and therapy with deliberate indifference. After all, the first amended complaint alleges that Plaintiff was denied all access to physical therapy and follow-up care. While the Court takes no position ...


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