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Jackson v. Lawrence Correctional Center Heatlh Care

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 12, 2015

HOWARD JACKSON, # R-18773, Plaintiff,
v.
LAWRENCE CORRECTIONAL CENTER HEATLH CARE and DR. J. COE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). He is serving a four year sentence for criminal sexual assault. Plaintiff now sues Lawrence Correctional Center Health Care[1] and one of its doctors, J. Coe, for allegedly denying his requests for an x-ray of his testicles.[2] Plaintiff seeks an "emergency" x-ray (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7).

Merits Review Pursuant to 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 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).

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). 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). 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). The complaint does not pass muster under this standard and shall be dismissed. However, Plaintiff will be given an opportunity to file an amended complaint.

The Complaint

Plaintiff's complaint offers scant information about his claim and is virtually incomprehensible. In the pleading, he names two defendants: (1) "Lawrence Health Care, " with the "position/title" described as "Privacy Balls X-ray;" and (2) Doctor Coe, J (Doc. 1, p. 1). The statement of claim consists of a single phrase: "Emergency x-ray Health care Problem" (Doc. 1, p. 6). In his list of previous lawsuits, Plaintiff offers some additional clues about the nature of his claim: "I have a emergency problem an I need help for a x-ray for my balls (sic)" (Doc. 1, p. 3). He adds the following in a separate section:

I have A Emergency Problem an I need help the Doctor, Coe J. He's not giveing me my Help that I need so I'm asking You for Emergency Help for A x-Ray I field something in my Balls an it gets Big's inside my Balls something in me moving an it don't field Right I'm crying for Help

(Doc. 1, p. 4).

Attached to the complaint are three additional documents that offer some insight into Plaintiff's claim. First, Plaintiff includes a grievance, dated June 12, 2013, in which he complains of on-going pain in his testicles and alludes to his many attempts to obtain an x-ray at Pontiac Correctional Center, Big Muddy River Correctional Center, and Lawrence Correctional Center (Doc. 1, pp. 8, 12). In addition, he includes a letter, dated January 9, 2012, from a Big Muddy official explaining why one request for an x-ray was denied (Doc. 1, p. 9). Finally, Plaintiff includes a page in which he states, "I have to send you the other Part of my 1983 Law Suit because it diding go in my Write out... the Law Library is not give out Legal Envelope no more...." (Doc. 1, p. 11).

Discussion

Plaintiff appears to be bringing a claim against Lawrence Correctional Center Health Care and Doctor Coe for the denial of medical care. This claim arises under the Eighth Amendment. Relevant to Plaintiff's claim, the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 439 (7th Cir. 2010). Prison officials 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). Plaintiff's claim fails in both form and substance.

With regard to form, the complaint does not satisfy the most rudimentary pleading standards. Rule 8(a)(2) requires a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Vicom, Inc. v. Harbridge Merch. Serv., Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775-76 (7th Cir. 1994) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2)). In other words, Plaintiff must include, in his statement of claim, "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).

Plaintiff includes no factual allegations in the statement of claim at all. The section entitled "Statement of Claim" sets forth Plaintiff's request for relief. The section entitled "Request for Relief" reiterates this request. The Court is left to sift through the pages of the complaint and the attached exhibits, in order to determine what, if any, basis exists for Plaintiff's claim against Defendants. The Court is not ...


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