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Thornton v. Shepard

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 13, 2015

ALTAI THORNTON, No. K80123, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN SHEPARD, SALVIDOR GODINEZ, SGT. LUERS, C/O MULHOLLAND, MICHAEL P. ATCHISON, DR. JOHNSON, and C/O JOHN DOE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff John Shepard, an inmate currently housed at Hill Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on injuries he sustained when he was attacked by an inmate at Menard Correctional Center, and the subsequent denial and/or delay in providing appropriate medical care.

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 Amended Complaint

According to the amended complaint (Doc. 9), on March 19, 2012, in the West House dining hall at Menard Correctional Center, an inmate stabbed Plaintiff in the eye, head and shoulder. Defendants Sgt. Luers, C/O Mullholland and C/O "John Doe" were in the dining room when Plaintiff was attacked ( see Doc. 9, p. 6). Documentation attached to the grievance indicates that the attacker was subdued and Plaintiff was taken to the health care unit (see Doc. 9, p. 10).

One day after the attack, Plaintiff was transported to an outside eye center. The treating physician inquired and learned that no CT scan had been performed at the prison, so Plaintiff was then taken to the hospital for a scan, which confirmed that emergency surgery was required. Surgery was performed, but a follow-up exam revealed additional concerns related to the loss of movement and vision in Plaintiff's right eye. The outside eye surgeon, Dr. Umana, ordered an MRI be performed as soon as possible.

Although the amended complaint does not fully explain the approval process for medical testing at Menard, Plaintiff indicates that the following Defendants must approve testing: Salvidor Godinez, Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections; Deputy Director Michael P. Atchison; and Dr. John Shepard, Medical Director at Menard ( see Doc. 9, p. 7). An MRI was not authorized for at least three weeks, all the while Plaintiff was in pain and his medical care was stalled. It is further alleged that Defendant Dr. Johnson, the eye doctor at Menard, and Dr. Shepard failed to remove stitches from Plaintiff's eye, which caused additional pain that could have been avoided

Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, and injunctive relief in the form of: (1) an order directing that any and all harassment and/or retaliation cease; and (2) an order that Plaintiff be seen by an outside eye specialist ( see Doc. 9, p. 9).

Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se amended complaint into the following counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The ...


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