United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
Olsen Brand, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Vandalia Correctional Center (“Vandalia”), brings
this pro se action for alleged violations of his
constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1).
Specifically, Brand claims that his Eighth Amendment rights
have been violated by Defendants’ deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. He also claims
that his Fourteenth Amendment rights have been violated by
Defendants’ failure to adequately address his
grievances. Finally, he alleges that Defendants’
offensive actions were part of a policy or scheme to save
money on health care. In connection with these claims, Brand
sues Wexford Health Care Services, Claude P. Owikod (doctor),
Mary Johnson/Klien (health care administrator), E. Afuwape
(doctor), Seth Townsend (nurse), Jacy Faulk (nurse), Jenny
Behrends (nurse), Craig Foster (warden), John R. Baldwin
(director of the Illinois Department of
Corrections--“IDOC”), Bruce Rauner (governor),
Tearah Harter (counselor/grievance officer). Brand seeks
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). It should be noted
the Court is reviewing the First Amended Complaint. The
initial complaint (Doc. 1) was dismissed for failure to state
sufficient factual or legal grounds upon which relief could
be granted (Doc. 6).
First Amended Complaint
brings a number of claims all related to the medical care he
has received for his asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (“COPD”), and neuropathy of his hands and
feet (See Doc. 12 at 19-24). His complaints begin on
October 1, 2015, when he was processed into the IDOC system
at Stateville Correctional Center (Id. at 17).
According to Brand, during intake Defendant Owikod noted his
asthma and COPD in his medical file (Id.). On
October 14, 2015, Brand arrived at Vandalia where he also
told Nurse Michel about his asthma and COPD (Id.).
On October 28, 2015, Brand saw Defendants Afuwape and
Townsend, who checked his vitals at the asthma clinic
(Id.). Brand alleges that despite these initial
medical consultations, he did not receive any treatment for
his conditions (Id.). In fact, he alleges that
Defendants Afuwape and Townsend checked boxes indicating they
gave him medications and reviewed proper inhaler technique,
but that they did not actually do so (Id. at 17-18).
his visit with Defendants Afuwape and Townsend, Brand began
to experience chest pain (Id. at 18). On November 5,
2015, Brand visited the health care unit for back pain, chest
pain, and hand and foot pain (Id.). Defendant
Behrends required him to go through the sick call line twice
and to pay the fee twice to address his conditions
(Id.). Brand returned to the health care unit on
November 10th and 13th for the same conditions
(Id.). On November 18, 2015, he sent a request to
Defendant Johnson/Klien to find out why his medical
conditions were not being addressed by Defendant Afuwape
(Id. at 18-19).
response to his request, Defendant Johnson/Klien called Brand
to her office on December 8, 2015, to inquire about his
medical needs (Id. at 19). As Brand explained the
situation, she cut him off and sent him to segregation for
complaining about the care he was receiving (Id.).
December 11, 2015, Dr. Caldwell visited Brand’s dorm to
check on diabetic inmates (Id.). Brand confided in
Dr. Caldwell about his neuropathy and asthma, and Caldwell
said he would put Brand down for the asthma clinic
(Id.). On December 23, 2015, Brand sent Defendant
Johnson/Klien another request asking what he needed to do to
get treatment for his asthma and COPD (Id.). That
same day, Brand requested an appointment with Defendant
December 25, 2015, Brand experienced chest pain, difficulty
breathing, and unstoppable coughing (Id.). He was
taken to the medical unit where he received a breathing
treatment (Id.). After the treatment his pain and
coughing continued (Id.). On December 27, 2015, he
requested to be taken to the medical unit again because his
breathing was labored (Id.). His request was
honored, but at the medical unit, Defendant Faulk refused a
breathing treatment, instead measuring Brand’s vitals
and telling him he had a cold (Id. at 20-21). At a
visit on December 28, 2015, Defendant Afuwape asked Brand if
he smoked and then prescribed a COPD pump (Id. at
21). Brand returned to medical on December 29, 2015, because
he continued to experience a cough, chest pain, a sore
throat, and congestion (Id.).
alleges that Defendant Wexford has a contract with IDOC for
the provision of medical services, which includes a term for
per-prisoner funding (Id. at 22). As a result of the
funding structure, Brand alleges that Wexford purposefully
provides substandard care and withholds follow-up care to
save money (Id.). Inmates are often unwilling to pay
the five-dollar fee to be seen for illnesses, especially more
than once, so the funding policy creates a domino effect of
perpetual illness amongst inmates (Id. at 22-23).
also complains that his counselor, Defendant Harter, has not
properly addressed his grievances or provided him with copies
of the grievances, in violation of internal policy
(Id. at 23).
claims that he still has a cough and chest pain (Id.
at 24). He believes that the inadequate medical care has done
irreparable damage to his lungs and health (Id.).
Brand has now filed this action seeking relief under 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide
the pro se complaint into the following enumerated
claims. 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 designation of these
counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference
to Brand’s asthma and COPD;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference
to Brand’s neuropathy of his hands and feet;
Count 3: First Amendment retaliation claim for placing Brand
in segregation as a result of his medical grievances; and
Count 4: Fourteenth Amendment claim for failing to respond to
grievances regarding ...