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Kimmel v. Frailey

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 14, 2015

ZACHARIAH A. KIMMEL, # B-80612, Plaintiff,


STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Zachariah Kimmel, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Vienna Correctional Center ("Vienna"), brings this action pro se for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). In the complaint, Plaintiff claims that he was denied medical care for a shattered right heal following his fall in Vienna's prison yard on August 23, 2014 (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). He now sues ten Vienna officials for depriving him of adequate medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. These officials include five registered nurses (Defendants Frailey, Winters, Franklin, Schuth, and Kluge), three physicians (Defendants Santos, Larson, and Powers), a health care administrator (Defendant George), and the medical director (Defendant Shicker). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages (Doc. 1, p. 11).

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 Section 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must 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). When applying this standard to the allegations, the Court finds that the complaint survives preliminary review under Section 1915A.

The Complaint

According to the complaint, Vienna officials deprived Plaintiff of adequate medical care for a shattered right heel over the course of more than three months (Doc. 1, p. 9). On August 23, 2014, [1] Plaintiff fell in Vienna's prison yard and injured his right foot. Vienna has no infirmary, so Plaintiff was transported in a state vehicle to one of Vienna's observation units. There, he was seen by a number of medical professionals, all of whom allegedly delayed proper diagnostic tests, denied adequate treatment, and prescribed ineffective pain relievers.

On August 23rd, Defendants Frailey and Winters examined Plaintiff. They observed swelling in his right foot, his inability to walk, and his obvious pain. Still, neither one referred him to a nearby clinic or in-house physician. Neither medical professional ordered an x-ray or prescribed effective pain relievers. Defendant Winters diagnosed Plaintiff with a sprain.

On August 24th and 27th, Defendants Santos and Kluge examined Plaintiff. They made the same observations as Defendants Frailey and Winters. Defendant Santos also diagnosed Plaintiff with a sprain. On August 25th, Defendant Franklin examined Plaintiff. During the examination, Plaintiff was ordered to stand on a scale, despite his inability to walk. None of these defendants recommended treatment at a hospital.

Plaintiff's foot was not x-rayed for the first time until August 29th, when he was taken to Shawnee Correctional Center for an examination. Only then did Defendant Powers take an x-ray that revealed Plaintiff's shattered right heel. Defendant Larson applied a splint and returned Plaintiff to Vienna. Defendants Powers, Larson, and Santos failed to refer Plaintiff to a specialist at that time.

On September 4th, Plaintiff fell a second time in a puddle of water in Vienna's observation unit. In the process, he further injured his right foot. Defendant Schuth responded, but did little for him. Defendant Larson also responded, but merely completed paperwork.

Someone contacted "Springfield" about Plaintiff's need for medical care the same day. In response, Warden Hilliard spoke directly with Plaintiff before instructing Vienna's medical staff to make sure that Plaintiff did not leave Vienna as "a cripple" (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff also spoke directly with Defendant George about his lack of medical care.

On September 8th, Plaintiff was finally referred to an outside specialist. The specialist indicated that surgery, though optimal, was no longer possible, given the delay in treatment. Instead, Plaintiff was provided with an air cast and a prescription for pain relievers. When Plaintiff returned to Vienna, Defendants Powers and Santos refused to fill the prescription. Defendant George told Plaintiff that he would just "have to bear the pain" (Doc. 1, p. 10). As of December 9th, Plaintiff was transferred into Vienna's general population without further treatment. Plaintiff now suffers from a permanent foot injury and untreated pain.

Plaintiff now sues Defendants for violating his Eighth Amendment rights (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). He seeks ...

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