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Cunninghamm v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 13, 2016

SYLVESTER CUNNINGHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, S.A. GOINEZ, HODGES, TREADWAY, CAMPANELLA, S.A. GODINEZ, GOMEZ, REIS, FENOGLIO, BROOKS, HARDY, MUSGRAVE, ERNEST SHELTON, JEFFERY SRUBHART, MARC HODGE, T.S. KEEN, PHIL MARTIN JANE DOE, JOHN DOE, AQUINALDO, GHOSH, MARCUS HARDY, EDWARDS, SHEEHY, and NANCY POUNOVICH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Sylvester Cunningham, an inmate in Federal Correctional Institution Greenville, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that happened at Lawrence Correctional Center, where he was formerly incarcerated. 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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se Complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         As an initial matter, Plaintiff's case caption only includes Defendants that worked at Lawrence Correctional Center. However, the body of the Complaint lists numerous Stateville defendants, as well as factual allegations that occurred at Stateville Correctional Center. Plaintiff attached an exhibit to his Complaint that shows that this action was originally filed in the Northern District of Illinois where that court dismissed the Lawrence claims pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 606 (7th Cir. 2007). It appears from the exhibit that the Stateville claims were dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. As Plaintiff's case caption contains only the Lawrence Defendants, and he included the exhibit regarding his earlier case, the Court concludes that the inclusion of the Stateville claims is merely unartful drafting, perhaps caused by recycling of portions of the original Complaint, and not an improper attempt to evade the effect of the Northern District's rulings. Accordingly, Defendants Aquinaldo, Ghosh, Hardy, Edwards, Sheehy, and Pounovich are DISMISSED with prejudice from this action, and the Court will not consider Plaintiff's claims arising out of Stateville Correctional Center any further.

         Plaintiff has been a paraplegic since 2006 and requires a wheelchair. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He also uses catheters on a daily basis. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff transferred into Lawrence Correctional Center on March 9, 2013. (Doc. 1-1, p. 1) While at Lawrence, Plaintiff was given single use catheters three times a week, without any medical supplies to clean them out after use. (Doc. 1, p. 6). The instructions on the package specifically prohibit using the catheters more than once. (Doc. 1-1, p. 10). Plaintiff developed bladder infections because he was forced to reuse single use catheters. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Plaintiff also requested diapers, but his requests were ignored. (Doc. 1, p. 6). This caused him to soil himself in his sleep. (Doc. 1, p. 6). When he was given diapers, they were too small and caused sores to form. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff was not given daily physical therapy. (Doc. 1, p. 6). The cell he was housed in had a sink and toilet that were not handicapped accessible. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff was only permitted to shower three times a week, and his requests for more showers were denied. (Doc. 1, p. 6-7). Plaintiff requested daily showers due to his inability to control his bladder and bowel functions. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Plaintiff does not associate any specific defendant with any of his claims. Exhibits attached to the Complaint show that Reis responded to grievances dated March 21, 2013, April 15, 2013, April 29, 2013, and August 13, 2013. (Doc. 1-1). Someone denied an emergency grievance on August 26, 2013 requesting catheters and a new mattress, but the signature is cut off the exhibit. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). T.S. Keen rejected a grievance submitted to the A.R.B. on September 10, 2013, but that grievance did not address the issues presented by the Complaint. (Doc. 1-1, p. 6). The director of nursing, Cunningham, responded to a ...


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