United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeding pro se and presently incarcerated at Big Muddy
Correctional Center, brings the present lawsuit pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging failure to protect and
deliberate indifference to a serious medical need for events
that arose during his incarceration at the Rock Island County
Jail. 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).
times relevant, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Rock Island
County Jail (“jail”). Defendants were employed at
the jail in the following capacities: Defendant Bustos was
the Rock Island County Sheriff; Defendant Clark was a
correctional officer; Defendant Fisher was the jail
administrator; and, Defendant Schultz was a registered nurse.
alleges that he was punched in the face by another inmate.
Plaintiff alleges that the severity of the blow broke his
nose, knocked his teeth loose, and caused severe migraines.
Plaintiff also alleges that his mouth and nose were bloodied,
that breathing was difficult, and his “teeth were
numb.” Plaintiff alleges that this incident occurred
because he was not assigned to the proper cell block per jail
was thereafter examined by Defendant Schultz, a registered
nurse. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Schultz examined his
face, provided ibuprofen and an ice pack, and sent on his
way. Plaintiff alleges that he was not taken to the emergency
room as promised by a non-defendant jail guard. Plaintiff
alleges that he was denied access to a “qualified
medical specialist” until he was released to the
custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections
approximately three months later.
medical records Plaintiff attached to his complaint show that
Defendant Schultz examined Plaintiff, provided the treatment
described above, and submitted an order that Plaintiff see
the medical doctor the next day. (Docs. 1-2 at 9; 1-5 at 7).
A notation in the medical records made a day after the
incident, though difficult to read, appears to state that
Plaintiff refused to go to sick call the following day. (Doc.
1-5 at 7).
alleges that he should have been assigned to a different cell
block because he had already been convicted. If properly
assigned, Plaintiff alleges that the incident would not have
happened. Even so, violation of a state law or regulation
does not, on its own, create a federally enforceable right.
Guarjardo-Palma v. Martinson, 622 F.3d 801, 806
(7th Cir. 2010) (“[A] violation of state law
is not a ground for a federal civil rights suit.”);
Allison v. Snyder, 332 F.3d 1076, 1079
(7th Cir. 2003) (The federal constitution does not
“permit a federal court to enforce state laws
jail guards still have a duty to protect inmates from known
risks of serious harm posed by other inmates. To succeed on a
failure to protect claim, a plaintiff must show (1)
“that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm, ” and, (2) prison
officials acted with “deliberate indifference” to
that risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994). For purposes of satisfying the first prong, “it
does not matter whether the risk comes from a single source
or multiple sources, any more than it matters whether a
prisoner faces an excessive risk of attack for reasons
personal to him or because all prisoners in his situation
face such a risk.” Id. at 843. A prison
official acts with deliberate indifference if he “knows
of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety; the official must both be aware of the facts from
which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” Id. A plaintiff “normally
proves actual knowledge of impending harm by showing that he
complained to prison officials about a specific threat to his
safety.” Pope v. Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92
(7th Cir. 1996) (quoting McGill v.
Duckworth, 944 F.3d 344, 349 (7th Cir.
1991)). Liability attaches where “deliberate
indifference by prison officials effectively condones the
attack by allowing it to happen….” Haley v.
Gross, 86 F.3d 630, 640 (7th Cir. 1996).
does not allege that he faced any known risk of harm either
from the inmate who punched him or by nature of his
membership in a particular group that faced an increased risk
of harm. Liberally construed, Plaintiff is alleging that his
classification as a convicted inmate subjected him to an
increased risk of harm from those who had not yet been
convicted. This allegation, however, is too speculative at
this point for the Court to conclude that a constitutional
claim exists. Therefore, Plaintiff will be granted leave to
file an amended complaint to provide information as to how
jail officials were aware of any risk he faced prior to the
the medical treatment, 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)).
alleges he was denied access to qualified medical
professionals and diagnostic tests that would have revealed a
broken nose and that he suffered a concussion. Plaintiff
alleges that the medical care he received from Defendant
Schultz was inadequate, though the medical records Plaintiff
provided show that Defendant Schultz provided relief, however
temporary, and indicated that Plaintiff would see the medical
doctor the next day. The records indicate further that
Plaintiff refused to go to sick call the next day.
does not have a constitutional right to the specific type of
treatment he desires. See Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d
586, 592 (7th Cir. 1996) (“The Constitution
is not a medical code that requires specific
treatment.”). At this point, the Court cannot determine
whether Plaintiff is alleging that he was denied all access
to medical care at the jail, or if he is alleging that jail
officials refused to provide the specific treatment he
demanded by sending him to an ...