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Morris v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 19, 2016

WARREN MORRIS, # B-77336, Plaintiff,
v.
JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, BETSEY SPILLER, CHRISTINE BROWN, MICHAEL D. SCOTT, and LT. WALLS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Warren Morris, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), brings this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). In his complaint, Plaintiff claims that Pinckneyville officials denied him adequate medical care for a right hand fracture that he sustained on or around March 18, 2016 (Doc. 1, p. 5). Treatment for the injury was delayed unnecessarily. Consequently, Plaintiff's hand did not heal properly. He now names Jacqueline Lashbrook (warden), Betsey Spiller (assistant warden), Christine Brown (health care unit administrator), Michael Scott (doctor), and Lieutenant Walls in connection with several Eighth Amendment claims. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages (id. at 6).

         Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         This case is now 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff allegedly fractured a bone in his right hand on or around March 18, 2016 (Doc. 1, p. 5). X-rays revealed a comminuted facture of the third metacarpal. Doctor Scott, a prison physician, examined Plaintiff's hand and decided to refer him to an orthopedist for further evaluation and treatment (id.).

         Following Plaintiff's examination, Lieutenant Walls placed him in handcuffs and escorted him to segregation. Prison officials ignored Plaintiff's injury for the next week. During this time, Plaintiff was not taken to see an orthopedist, he was not seen by the prison's medical staff, and he was not given any pain medication (id.).

         On or around March 28, 2016, Plaintiff spoke with Nurse Lottie and requested treatment. He met with Doctor Scott the following day. At the appointment, Doctor Scott informed Plaintiff that his request for a referral to an outside specialist was approved six days earlier on March 23, 2016. At the appointment, the doctor prescribed Plaintiff tramadol (100 mg) for pain (id.).

         Although the allegations are not altogether clear, the complaint suggests that Plaintiff was eventually seen by an orthopedist on April 5, 2016. Due to the delay in treatment, however, his fracture healed improperly. Plaintiff also suffered from pain that was unnecessarily prolonged by the delay (id.).

         Plaintiff names five Pinckneyville officials in connection with claims of cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. His claim against Warden Lashbrook arises from a policy, custom, or widespread practice of denying all “medical writ[s], court writ[s], or transfers, ” as well as the warden's denial of an emergency grievance seeking treatment (id. at 1; Doc. 1-1, pp. 27-28). Plaintiff's claim against Assistant Warden Spiller and Administrator Brown arise from their supervisory roles over the HCU and individuals who work there (Doc. 1, p. 2). He names Doctor Scott for delaying necessary treatment for his fractured hand and associated pain (id. at 5). Finally, Plaintiff claims that Lieutenant Walls subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment when requiring him to wear handcuffs with a fractured metacarpal (id.). Plaintiff seeks monetary relief against the defendants (id. at 6).

         Discussion

         To 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 claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint into the following two counts:

Count 1: Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs when they delayed treatment for his fractured right third metacarpal on or around March 18, 2016.
Count 2: Defendant Walls engaged in the unauthorized use of force when requiring Plaintiff to wear handcuffs with a broken right ...

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