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Fenderson v. Erickson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 23, 2015

AMOS FENDERSON, #R-04427, Plaintiff,


MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Amos Fenderson, an inmate currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff asserts constitutional and supplemental state law claims arising out of events that occurred at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). (Doc. 1).

Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

The complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 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). 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).

The Complaint

On December 5, 2012, Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Upon his arrival, Plaintiff informed the intake lieutenant that he was a Messianic Hebrew and requested a kosher diet tray. He was directed to speak with Defendant Shehorn regarding his request. Id.

Upon hearing Plaintiff's request, Defendant Shehorn (a correctional officer) replied, "You won't be getting any special treatment here, and you won't dictate how we operate down here, you will eat what every other inmate eats. If you have any complaints address them to your counselor." Id. Plaintiff became upset and demanded to speak with a sergeant or lieutenant. Defendant Shehorn denied Plaintiff's request and told him to go to his cell. Id. at 5. Plaintiff refused and again demanded to speak with a sergeant or lieutenant. At this point, Defendant Shehorn grabbed Plaintiff's shoulder and tried to forcefully move Plaintiff in the direction of his cell. Plaintiff refused to move and "warned Defendant Shehorn that he had no right to rough house him." Id. Defendant Shehorn ordered Plaintiff to lock up. Plaintiff continued to refuse and verbally argue with Shehorn. Shehorn again ordered Plaintiff to lock up, but before Plaintiff could respond, Defendant Wall (a correctional officer) grabbed Plaintiff from behind. Id.

Defendants Wall and Shehorn then picked Plaintiff up and "slammed" him to the ground. Id. at 6. Defendant Wall repeatedly struck Plaintiff in the head and then immobilized Plaintiff by placing his forearm against Plaintiff's neck. Next, Defendants Erickson (a lieutenant) and Walker (a correctional officer) arrived. Defendant Walker "lunged" on to Plaintiff's lower back to apply hand restraints. While Defendants Erickson, Walker and Shehorn were subduing Plaintiff, he said, "All that I wanted was my tray." Id. Shehorn then took Plaintiff's right leg and bent it backward, yelling, "I'll break it. Say another word about a tray and I'll break it." Id. at 6-7. Shehorn continued to bend Plaintiff's leg backwards while Plaintiff yelled out in pain, "My leg! My leg!" No one attempted to intervene.

Next, Defendant Erickson ordered the officers to place Plaintiff in leg restraints. Plaintiff did not resist, but he complained about the pain in his leg. Id. at 7. Erickson then asked Defendant Jane Doe Nurse #1 if she wanted to examine Plaintiff's leg. She shrugged and asked Plaintiff if he was bleeding anywhere. Plaintiff, who was crying, said he didn't know. Jane Doe Nurse #1 made no attempt to examine Plaintiff's injuries. Id.

Defendant Erickson then ordered the officers to place Plaintiff in a suicide segregation cell, where he was shackled to a metal bed frame. Id. at 8. Plaintiff's leg was causing him significant pain and he pleaded with Defendant Erickson to receive medical attention. Erickson refused Plaintiff's request, stating, "There's nothing wrong with you." Id.

A few minutes later, Defendant Erickson and other staff returned to remove the handcuffs and shackles. Plaintiff continued to beg for medical attention, but Erickson denied his requests and Plaintiff was left alone in his cell. Id. at 9. As Plaintiff's knee began to swell up, he panicked and yelled for help, but no one came. Finally, Defendant Jane Doe Nurse #2 arrived on the unit and began to hand out medications to the other inmates. Plaintiff told her that his leg was in pain, but she simply walked away. Id.

Later, Defendant Erickson returned to Plaintiff's cell and informed him that he would be leaving Lawrence. Id. at 10. While he was being strip searched, Plaintiff continued to request medical attention and showed Defendant Erickson his swollen knee. Erickson said, "Yeah it does appear to be swollen, but that's your problem." Id. Defendant Erickson then gave Plaintiff a disciplinary report charging him with assaulting Defendant Shehorn with a closed fist.

Plaintiff was then transported to Menard Correctional Center ("Menard") where he received medical attention for the first time since the assault occurred, more than nine hours earlier. Id. at 11. Medical records from Menard note that Plaintiff was seen in the healthcare unit there at 2:35 a.m. on December 6, 2012. Id. at 32. The record states, "No information/documentation received in regards to this injury." Id. Additionally, the record notes moderate swelling around Plaintiff's right knee. An x-ray taken later that day found "calcified density along the mid aspect of the knee which may be that of a fracture of the medial tibial spine." Id. at 33. Plaintiff maintains that none of the officers involved in the assault submitted a written report detailing Plaintiff's injuries, as required by the Illinois Department of Corrections. Id. at 10.


To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to organize the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial ...

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