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Boykin v. Moorehouse

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

August 31, 2016

DAVID BOYKIN, Plaintiff,
v.
AMY MOOREHOUSE, Defendant.

          MERIT REVIEW OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and presently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center, brings the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The matter comes before this Court for merit review under 28 U.S.C. §1915A. In reviewing the complaint, the Court takes all factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal citation omitted).

         ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”). Defendant is a medical technician at Pontiac. Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from an unspecified medical condition that causes excruciating pain in his kidneys, back, and head. Plaintiff also alleges that blood has been present in his urine for the past two (2) years, and the pain prevents him from sitting up.

         Plaintiff alleges that, in July 2015, Defendant refused to accept Plaintiff's requests for medical treatment and money vouchers. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant stated that she does not care about Plaintiff's medical conditions and that the pain pills were the only medical treatment she would offer him.

         ANALYSIS

         Inmates are entitled to adequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). To prevail, a plaintiff must show that the prison official acted with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Id. at 105. Claims of negligence, medical malpractice, or disagreement with a prescribed course of treatment are not sufficient. McDonald v. Hardy, 821 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2016) (citing Pyles v. Fahim, 771 F.3d 403, 408 (7th Cir. 2014), and Duckworth v. Ahmad, 532 F.3d 675, 679 (7th Cir. 2008)). Rather, liability attaches when “the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).

         Plaintiff allegations of excruciating pain and blood in his urine are sufficient to allege that he suffers from an objectively serious medical need. See King v. Kramer, 680 F.3d 1013, 1018 (7th Cir. 2012) (“An objectively serious medical need is one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.” (internal quotations omitted)).

         Liberally construed, Plaintiff's allegations suggest that although Defendant has knowledge of Plaintiff's medical condition, Defendant is refusing to provide, or restricting access to, medical care. Plaintiff's allegations leave open the possibility that Plaintiff is receiving alternative treatment for his medical conditions. If Plaintiff is receiving alternative treatment, and his requests stem from a disagreement with the course of treatment provided, or a demand for specific medical treatment, then Plaintiff's claims may ultimately fail. See Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 1996) (The Constitution does not require specific medical treatment and mere disagreements with the course of treatment are not sufficient to impose constitutional liability). However, at this point, the Court cannot rule out a constitutional claim.

         Plaintiff's Motion to Request Counsel

         Plaintiff filed a Motion to Request Counsel. (Doc. 5). Plaintiff has no constitutional or statutory right to counsel in this case. In considering the Plaintiff's motion, the court asks: (1) has the indigent Plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to litigate it himself? Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654-55 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Farmer v. Haas, 990 F.2d 319, 322 (7th Cir. 1993)).

         Plaintiff alleges he sent a letter to the DePaul Legal Clinic and has not yet heard back. Plaintiff did not attach a copy of the letter he sent and did not provide details regarding when he sent it. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not shown he made a reasonable attempt to secure counsel on his own. If Plaintiff intends to renew his motion, he should write to multiple attorneys, attach copies of the letters sent, and attach copies of any responses received. Because Plaintiff has not satisfied the first prong, the Court does not address the second. Plaintiff's motion is denied with leave to renew.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

         1) Plaintiff's Motion to Request Counsel [5] is DENIED ...


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