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Louis Henderson, No. R00823 v. Waxford Medical Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 14, 2015

LOUIS HENDERSON, No. R00823, Plaintiff,
v.
WAXFORD MEDICAL COMPANY, BETH TREDWAY, and DR. COE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Louis Henderson, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on the denial of a splint for an injured finger.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal.- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

The Complaint

According to the complaint, Plaintiff Henderson was involved in an altercation with another inmate. Plaintiff was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. A hospital physician recommended that Plaintiff's finger be splinted, but Assistant Warden Beth Tredway, who is in charge of prison health care, called the hospital and instructed that a splint not be issued, and further directed that Plaintiff be seen by a prison doctor upon his return to the prison. Dr. Coe subsequently examined Plaintiff's finger and agreed that a splint was warranted. Nevertheless, neither Dr. Coe nor nursing staff at the prison ever gave Plaintiff a splint. Unsplinted, Plaintiff's finger has remained vulnerable, extremely painful, and Plaintiff can no longer straighten the digit. Plaintiff's numerous requests to Dr. Coe, Assistant Warden Tredway and nursing staff have been to no avail.

Plaintiff seeks a preliminary injunction, declaratory judgment, affirmative injunctive relief in the form of proper treatment, and compensatory and punitive damages.

The complaint is construed as asserting a single, overarching Eighth Amendment claim against the named defendants, Dr. Coe, Assistant Warden Beth Tredway and the contract health care provider for the prison, "Waxford Medical Company."[1]

Discussion

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects prisoners from being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. U.S.CONST., amend. VIII. See also Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 439 (7th Cir. 2010). Eighth Amendment protection extends to conditions of confinement that pose a substantial risk of serious harm, including health and safety. See Estate of Miller, ex rel. Bertram v. Tobiasz, 680 F.3d 984 (7th Cir. 2012). Prison officials can violate the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment when their conduct demonstrates "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). A medical condition need not be life-threatening to be serious; ...


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