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Leach v. Shaffer

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 10, 2016

JIMMY W. LEACH, Plaintiff,
v.
CHET SHAFFER, REX ROBERTS, and HARTGRAVES Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jimmy W. Leach, an inmate in Franklin County Jail, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         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). 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 COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff was booked into the Franklin County Jail on March 18, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He reported that he was on medication for post-traumatic stress disorder (“PSTD”) and a seizure disorder. (Doc. 1, p. 5). However, he was not given his medication. (Doc. 1, p. 5). On March 19, 2016, Plaintiff began experiencing flashbacks. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The stress of the PSTD started triggering seizures as well. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Despite the fact that Plaintiff was on ten-minute watches, he suffered three seizures, a mini-stroke, and lay in his own urine for approximately 48 hours. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         On March 21, 2016, Plaintiff was taken to the Franklin County Emergency Room, and subsequently admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon. (Doc. 1, p. 5). By that time, Plaintiff had lapsed into a coma-like state. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He was hospitalized for one week. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff alleges that he was not given medical attention despite having seizures and lying in his own urine. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Defendant Chet Shaffer checked on him three times during that period and refused to call medical treatment each time. (Doc. 1, p. 5). On April 1, 2016, Defendants Rex Roberts and Hartgraves told Plaintiff that they deliberately withheld his medications and that Plaintiff can die for all they care. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into two counts. 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 following claims survive threshold review.

Count 1 - Defendant Shaffer was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff’s serious medical needs when he refused to secure medical treatment for Plaintiff despite checking on him three times during a period where Plaintiff was deprived of his medication and suffering from ...

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