United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Bobby Joe Lyones, who is currently confined at Cook County
Jail, brings this pro se civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), Lawrence
Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), and various
unknown doctors and a nurse (“unknown parties”)
who allegedly denied him adequate medical treatment for his
vision loss. According to the complaint, Plaintiff was
treated for vision problems during his incarceration at
Lawrence in 2009, 2010, and 2014 (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). Doctor
Ross, an eye doctor at Lawrence, referred Plaintiff to Doctor
Oak at Marion Eye Center in Mount Vernon, Illinois
(id. at 4). Doctor Oak surgically replaced the lens
in Plaintiff’s left eye, but later realized that he
used the wrong-sized lens. After Doctor Oak performed
corrective surgery, Plaintiff suffered from a detached
retina. Doctor Oak, or his partner, performed a third surgery
to repair the detached retina.
believed that the third surgery was successful. But according
to the complaint, it was not. Instead of restoring his
vision, Plaintiff suffered further vision loss (id.
at 5). He transitioned from reading glasses to bifocals.
2010, Plaintiff met with Doctor Omugah, a glaucoma
specialist. Doctor Omugah told Plaintiff that he was blind in
his right eye and had probably suffered from right-eye
blindness for twenty years. The doctor also told Plaintiff
that the stitches in his left eye “would be there for
the rest of [Plaintiff’s] life” (id.).
transferred to Dixon Correctional Center
(“Dixon”) in 2011 and was monitored by Doctor
Hicks for the next two years. During this time period, Doctor
Hicks sent him “across the street to an eye center,
” where the stitches in his left eye were removed
because they were “starting to come out”
(id.). As a result of this procedure, Plaintiff
experienced a “lot of pain and suffering”
a transfer back to Lawrence, Plaintiff underwent his fourth
eye surgery in October 2014. Doctor Ross referred Plaintiff
to Doctor Omugah for the surgery, which took eight hours to
perform and was also unsuccessful. Plaintiff suffered further
vision loss and persistent eye pain. During a follow-up
appointment at Stroger’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois,
Plaintiff learned that “the surgery had failed”
(id.). Although “they” attempted to
treat him for a “few months, ” Plaintiff alleges
that his vision continued to deteriorate, and his pain did
not subside (id.). Plaintiff now requires the use of
bifocals, dark shades, and a “blind man’s
cane” (id.). He suffers from headaches that
connection with these events, Plaintiff now sues the IDOC,
Lawrence, and “unknown parties” including doctors
and a nurse. In his request for relief, Plaintiff asks
“to be compensated for all [his] pain and suffering
while here at the Cook County Jail”
(id. at 6) (emphasis added).
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
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).
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). For the reasons explained below, the
complaint does not survive preliminary review under this
standard and shall therefore be dismissed.
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 deems it
appropriate to organize the claim in Plaintiff’s
pro se complaint into the following enumerated
1: Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff’s serious medical needs when they failed to
properly treat his left eye vision loss and associated
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects
prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. See Berry v.
Peterman, 604 F.3d 435 (7th Cir. 2010). 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 medical condition was
sufficiently serious (i.e., an objective standard),
and state officials acted with deliberate indifference to the
prisoner’s health or safety (i.e., a
subjective standard). Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994); Chapman v. Keltner, 241 F.3d 842,
845 (7th Cir. 2001).
medical needs described in the complaint satisfy the
objective standard for screening purposes. The Seventh
Circuit has held that a medical need is “serious”
where it has either “been diagnosed by a physician as
mandating treatment” or where the need is “so
obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the
necessity for a doctor’s attention.”
Gutierrez v. Peters,111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir.
1997). The Seventh Circuit has recognized that vision loss
associated with ...