United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief Judge United States District Court
Jackie Roberson, who is currently incarcerated at Shawnee
Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), brings this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against two nurses who were involved in
administering him a single dose of the wrong medication at
Shawnee on March 25, 2016 (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6, 8-9). Plaintiff
claims that this incident violated his constitutional rights.
He describes the situation as an emergency, but requests no
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
case is before the Court for a preliminary review of the
complaint 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).
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). The complaint does not survive preliminary
review under this standard and shall be dismissed.
March 25, 2016, Nurse Ping administered Plaintiff a single
dose of the wrong medication for his chronic hypertension
(Doc. 1, pp. 5-6, 8-9). Plaintiff noticed that the pill
looked different than his usual medication. He pointed this
out to Nurse Ping. In response, the nurse said,
“[I]t's what was in stock for you”
(id. at 8). Plaintiff ingested the pill.
same day, an unknown correctional officer informed Plaintiff
that he had been given the wrong pill. The correctional
officer ordered him to return to the medication line. When he
did, Nurse Oliver confirmed that Plaintiff was given the
wrong medication, but the nurse assured him that it would
cause no harm. Nurse Oliver then provided Plaintiff with the
correct medication, and he took it.
later, Plaintiff began suffering from sharp chest pains and
shortness of breath (id. at 8-9). He informed C/O
Johnson of his symptoms, and the officer summoned help
(id. at 9). C/O Lyle and a nurse placed Plaintiff in
a wheelchair and took him to the prison's healthcare
unit. There, a doctor and nurse examined Plaintiff and
monitored his heart using an electrocardiogram. He was then
transported to Heartland Regional Medical Center's
emergency room for further evaluation and treatment.
now asserts that Nurse Ping and Nurse Oliver violated his
constitutional rights in connection with this incident. He
describes the situation as an “emergency, ” but
he seeks no actual relief (id. at 6).
allegations in the complaint do not support a constitutional
claim against Nurse Ping or Nurse Oliver. Plaintiff's
claim arises under the Eighth Amendment, which “imposes
a duty on government officials to provide medical care to
prisoners.” Townsend v. Cooper, 759 F.3d 678,
689 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976)). Prison officials violate the Eighth
Amendment when they respond to a prisoner's serious
medical needs with deliberate indifference. Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104). To state a claim, a
prisoner must demonstrate that his medical condition is
objectively serious. Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645,
653 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834 (1970)). He must also demonstrate that the
defendants responded to his serious medical needs with
deliberate indifference, which is a subjective standard.
Id. For purposes of this Order, the Court assumes,
without deciding, that the allegations satisfy the objective
component of this claim.
the complaint must also satisfy the subjective component, and
it does not. To do so, Plaintiff must allege that the
defendant in question knew of and disregarded an excessive
risk to inmate health. Greeno, 411 F.3d at 653. The
Seventh Circuit has held that the denial of medication on a
single occasion does not typically rise to the level of an
Eighth Amendment violation. See Gil v. Reed, 381
F.3d 649, 662 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing Gutierrez v.
Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1375 (7th Cir. 1997)
(“isolated instances of neglect in the course of
treatment may not be enough to make out a claim for
deliberate indifference”). Similarly, standing alone,
the administration of unneeded medication does not support an
Eighth Amendment claim. See Bowers v. Seymour, 436
F.App'x 676 (7th Cir. 2011) (nurses who routinely
provided inmate with unneeded medication were not
deliberately indifferent to inmate's medical needs). The
subjective component of this claim requires a substantial
departure from accepted medical judgment, practices, or
standards. Sherrod v. Lingle, 223 F.3d 605, 610 (7th
Cir. 2000). This may occur when the failure to dispense the
correct medication is deliberate and potentially malicious.
Gil, 381 F.3d at 662.
instant case, the allegations suggest no such thing. Nurse
Ping administered Plaintiff a single dose of the
wrong medication on March 25, 2016. Plaintiff noticed that
the pill looked different. He even pointed this out to the
nurse. The nurse did not explicitly state that Plaintiff was
receiving the correct medication. Nurse Ping instead said,
“[I]t's what was in stock for ...