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Cross v. Rogers

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 27, 2015

CLARD E. CROSS, # S-03375, Plaintiff,
v.
M. ROGERS and DR. SHAH, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Clard Cross, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center ("Vandalia"), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Nurse Rogers and Doctor Shah, two members of the medical staff at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"). Plaintiff claims that these defendants denied him adequate medical care for a serious cut to his hand on January 5, 2014 (Doc. 1, p. 5). He sues Nurse Rogers and Doctor Shah for exhibiting deliberate indifference to his medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief (Doc. 1, p. 6).

This is the second action that Plaintiff has filed in this District to address this claim. See also Cross v. Rogers, et al., Case No. 14-cv-00150-NJR-DGW (S.D. Ill. 2014). The first case was dismissed without prejudice because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to commencing the action ( Id. at Docs. 34-35). Plaintiff maintains that he has now exhausted all available administrative remedies, and he wishes to proceed with his claim. As discussed in more detail below, the Eighth Amendment claim (Count 1) against Nurse Rogers shall receive further review, but the claim against Doctor Shah shall be dismissed without prejudice.

The Complaint

Plaintiff was injured while working in Pinckneyville's dietary unit on January 5, 2014 (Doc. 1, p. 5). Although the complaint does not describe the cause of the injury, Plaintiff alleges that his hand was cut "to the bone... [leaving] white meat and tendons showing" ( Id. ). The food supervisor immediately sent Plaintiff to the health care unit ("HCU") for treatment.

Nurse Rogers examined and treated Plaintiff's injury ( Id. ). She indicated that the wound required stitches, but she could not perform the procedure. No one else was available. Instead of stitches, Nurse Rogers provided Plaintiff with a Band-Aid and gauze to place over the wound. She indicated that she would schedule Plaintiff to see a doctor the following day.

Plaintiff was not called back to the HCU for two days ( Id. ). On January 7, 2014, he met with Nurse Rector, who is not named as a defendant in this action. Nurse Rector informed Plaintiff that stitches were no longer an option; they were only recommended during the first 24 hours following an injury. Because Plaintiff did not receive them within that time frame, the treatment option was foreclosed to him.

Plaintiff claims that Nurse Rogers and Doctor Shah were aware of the severity of his injury and the need for treatment, yet failed to take steps to treat Plaintiff, either through negligence or deliberate indifference ( Id. ). Nurse Rogers examined the cut soon after it occurred. Both defendants signed Plaintiff's medical lay in sheet that excused him from his work assignment (Doc. 1, p. 12).

Plaintiff alleges that his pain and suffering were prolonged because of the defendants' inaction (Doc. 1, p. 5). His pain allegedly increased daily, as did his risk of infection. Plaintiff's injury also made it "extremely difficult" to perform normal daily tasks, such as showering, eating, and cleaning.

Plaintiff now sues Nurse Rogers and Doctor Shah for violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment ( Id. ). He seeks monetary damages (Doc. 1, p. 6). He also requests an Order prohibiting retaliation by the defendants or by anyone else at Pinckneyville. Finally, Plaintiff seeks proper medical care for the remainder of his incarceration.

Merits Review Under 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). The complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

Discussion

Plaintiff's medical needs claim arises under the Eighth Amendment (Count 1). The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. See U.S. CONST., amend. VIII. The Supreme Court has recognized that "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners" may constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); see Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2006) ( per curiam ). To state a claim, a prisoner must show that the: (1) medical condition was objectively serious, and (2) state officials acted with deliberate indifference to the ...


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