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Jackson v. Lawrence Correctional Center Health Care

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 2, 2015

HOWARD JACKSON, # R-18773, Plaintiff,


J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Howard Jackson is currently serving a four-year sentence for criminal sexual assault by force at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). He has repeatedly filed civil rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in this District, seeking an x-ray of his testicles. Each time, Plaintiff claims that prison officials at different institutions in the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") have refused his demands for an x-ray, often misconstruing his request as a sexual advance. See Jackson v. Wexford Healthcare Sources, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-cv-01134-MJR (S.D. Ill. 2013); Jackson v. Kraznician, et al., Case No. 14-cv-00007 (S.D. Ill. 2014). To date, none of these complaints have survived threshold review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Prior to commencing the instant action, Plaintiff accumulated two "strikes" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), based on the dismissal of these complaints as being frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted (Id. ).

Undeterred, Plaintiff continued filing post-judgment motions and amended complaints in the latter case. See Jackson v. Kraznician, et al., Case No. 14-cv-00007 (S.D. Ill. 2014) (Docs. 11, 18). The Court denied each and instructed him to commence a new action, if Plaintiff wished to bring a new claim. Jackson v. Kraznician, et al., Case No. 14-cv-00007 (S.D. Ill. 2014) (Docs. 17, 21). Plaintiff was warned that future redundant, frivolous, or nonsensical filings would result in the imposition of sanctions (Id. at Docs. 14, 17, 21).

Still undeterred, Plaintiff filed the instant action (Doc. 1). Plaintiff's claim has not changed, although he brings it against different defendants than he named in prior actions. In the original complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Lawrence Correctional Center and two of its officials denied his demands for an x-ray. This Court found that the complaint articulated no viable claim and entered an order dismissing it without prejudice on February 12, 2015 (Doc. 6). However, Plaintiff was given one final opportunity to file an amended complaint in this action on or before March 20, 2015.

Instead of one, Plaintiff filed four amended pleadings in three weeks (Docs. 7, 12, [1] 13). He also filed a motion for status on March 26, 2015 (Doc. 14), in which he asked if more amended pleadings were necessary. Without hesitation and without awaiting a response to his motion, Plaintiff commenced a new action on March 30, 2015. See Jackson v. Duncan, et al., Case No. 15-cv-00343-NJR (S.D. Ill. 2015). As explained in more detail below, Plaintiff's four amended complaints in this action fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and shall be dismissed.

Merits Review Under 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 a 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). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross "the line between possibility and plausibility." Id. at 557. 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). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The amended complaints (Docs. 7, 12, 13) do not survive preliminary review under this standard and shall be dismissed.

Amended Complaints

In each of Plaintiff's amended complaints (Docs. 7, 12, 13), he names Lawrence Correctional Center Health Care, [2] "Jane Doe, " and/or "John Doe" as defendants. The body of the complaint also includes the names of additional prison officials and prisons, although they are not necessarily consistent from pleading to pleading.

Plaintiff's statement of claim is consistent - and equally deficient - in all four pleadings. In Document 7, for example, the statement of claim consists of a single sentence: "I'm asking you for some emergency help for a x-ray for my privacy balls" (Doc. 7, p. 6). Plaintiff filed two amended complaints on February 23, 2015, that were docketed as Document 12. In one of these, Plaintiff's statement of claim states: "I need a emergency testles x-ray" (Doc. 12, p. 3). In the other, Plaintiff's statement of claim lists Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac") and Big Muddy River Correctional Center ("Big Muddy"), with references to grievances he filed about a spider bite in 2007 and a request for a "testles x-ray" in 2012 and the following request for relief: "I want the court to give me a testles x-ray" (Doc. 12-1, pp. 4-5). On March 3, 2015, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint (Doc. 13) that is substantially similar to Document 12-1; it lists the names of various prisons in the statement of claim and includes the following request for relief: "I want a emergency privacy testles x-ray" (Doc. 13, p. 7).

The exhibits attached to each of the four complaints are not the same. Attached to Document 7 is a two-page handwritten statement indicating that Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary ticket in response to his demands for an x-ray, a copy of the offender disciplinary report dated February 5, 2015, and a one-page excerpt from a grievance addressing the denial of his demand for an x-ray (Doc. 7-1).

Attached to Document 12 is a 2014 grievance addressing Deborah Isaacs' alleged refusal to provide Plaintiff with an x-ray and a 2012 communication from Deborah Isaacs noting that no knot was found in Plaintiff's testicle upon examination on December 31, 2011. The 2012 communication also indicates that Plaintiff refused the recommended treatment and demanded an x-ray instead (Doc. 12, p. 9).

Finally, attached to Document 13 is a 13-page exhibit that includes Plaintiff's written request for another amended complaint form, a 2012 grievance that Plaintiff submitted at Big Muddy addressing "something" in Plaintiff's testicles (among many other complaints), a 2013 grievance that Plaintiff submitted at Lawrence addressing "something movieing (sic) in my body, " a 2013 grievance addressing the same issues at Stateville, Pontiac, and Big Muddy, along with Deborah Isaacs' ...

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