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Dunigan v. Coffey

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 20, 2016

GREG DUNIGAN, # B-87014, Plaintiff,
v.
MELISSA COFFEY, COUNSELOR GROTT, WARDENS, ADJUSTMENT COMMITTEE, COUNSELOR RYANN, COUNSELOR NIPPE, GAIL WALLS, OFFICER ELLETTE, NICOLE LEWIS, MORGAN TEAS, LT. PHAROE, SGT. SCOTT, GETTING, LORI OAKLEY, DR. FURENTES, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER, and UNKNOWN PARTIES Mailroom, Medical Records, Jane Doe Nurse, and John Doe Physical, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Plaintiff filed this pro se civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Since the case was filed, Plaintiff has been released on parole (Doc. 13). Because Plaintiff was a prisoner at the time he filed this action, the Court is required to conduct a preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which directs the Court to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant. This threshold review has been complicated, however, by Plaintiff's attempts to amend, supplement, and replace sections of his original complaint. Therefore, the Court must first evaluate these various documents to determine what pleading(s) constitute the operative complaint. Several pending motions are also before the Court and shall be disposed of below.

         Plaintiff submitted his pro se complaint in this case on October 22, 2015 (Doc. 1, p. 2). It was received and filed by the Clerk of Court on November 2. This original complaint consists of 24 pages (Docs. 1, 1-1), and includes 50 pages of exhibits (Docs. 1-2, 1-3). Plaintiff names thirteen individuals as Defendants, as well as several unknown parties, the Adjustment Committee, and Menard Correctional Center. His statement of claim begins with:

This Complaint is against Menard and Menard Medical Staff for violating my constitutional rights in various different ways starting from denial of medical, and mental treatment, assistance, and medication for serious and deadly illnesses beginning from 2-13-15 . . . until today which is 10-22-15.

(Doc. 1, p. 5). He then accuses Defendants generally of committing a host of offenses ranging from verbal abuse to theft, bribery, conspiracy, and attempted murder. Id.

         Much of the complaint focuses on alleged deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs. He claims to suffer from stage 3 syphilis, herpes, seizures, high blood pressure, asthma, osteomyelitis (“a deadly bone infection of the mouth”), migraine headaches from a previous brain surgery, and severe stress and depression (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 10). He was not treated or given his prescribed medications for these conditions, with a brief exception. The complaint does not identify which of the Defendants failed to provide medical treatment to Plaintiff.

         Turning to a different issue, the complaint states that Defendants Melissa Coffey (Mental Health) and Grott (Counselor) conspired to falsely accuse Plaintiff of sexual misconduct in order to have him thrown into “solitary confinement, ” where he spent 60 days (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13; Doc. 1-1, pp. 3-5). They also withheld legal documents from Plaintiff so that he was unable to give them to his lawyer (who was appointed to represent Plaintiff in a previously-filed case still pending before this Court, Dunigan v. Lang, et al., Case No. 15-487-NJR-DGW). Because of this, twenty defendants were left out of Dunigan v. Lang.

         Plaintiff abruptly concludes the statement of claim by saying that he is out of ink, and he will “send the rest next week” (Doc. 1-1, p. 6). He does include a request for relief, in which he asks for immediate medical release from prison, dismissal of the criminal conviction for which he is now serving time, financial compensation, a divorce from his wife, and that Defendants Pollion, Lang, [1] Furentes, Walls, and Lewis be sentenced to jail time (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10).

         Proposed Amendments/Additions to Complaint

         Several weeks after he filed the original complaint, Plaintiff mailed a 401-page document to the Court, which was received on November 23, 2015. On November 24, 2015, the Court received another 72 pages submitted via electronic transmission. On December 15, 2015, another 74-page submission was received electronically. None of these documents was filed in the record upon their receipt, pending review of the material. Each submission was construed as a motion to amend the complaint, and was noted as such in the Court's docket sheet (Docs. 6, 9). On December 17, 2015, Plaintiff was ordered to cease filing additional documents until the Court could complete its review of the voluminous material he had already submitted (Doc. 10).

         Subsequently, Plaintiff filed two “Notices” discussing the contents of the three sets of documents he submitted in November and December 2015. The “Notice” filed on December 29, 2015 (Doc. 11) instructs the Court to disregard a letter Plaintiff sent a day earlier - however, the Court has no record of receiving an earlier letter from Plaintiff. He further notes that the 72-page set of documents received by the Court on November 24, 2015, “was a mistake” because it included a 23-page statement of claim that he did not intend to file in this case, however, he wanted the remaining documents to be included with the 401 pages received on November 23, 2015. Finally, he notes that the 74 pages that were electronically filed on December 16, 2015, were also a mistake because they were duplicates of the 72-page document. He requests the Court to discard the 74-page document of December 16 (Doc. 11, p. 2). He adds that after ten months of complaining, he finally received some treatment from the prison medical staff for his syphilis and herpes.

         On January 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed a second “Notice, ” to state that he had made other mistakes when sending the 401-page set of documents (Doc. 12). He erroneously included the original statement of claim from his first case, Dunigan v. Lang, et al., Case No. 15-487-NJR-DGW, near the end of the complaint. He requests the Court to send it back to him if it is not needed. He may also have mistakenly added “a few documents” from his attorney on that case, which should not have been included.

         Finally, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting a status report on the case and a copy of the 401-page complaint, because he mistakenly “sent a lot of papers” that actually belonged to his previous case filed in this Court (Doc. 14).

         1. Summary of 401-Page Document Received November 23, 2015

         Sandwiched between other documents in this submission, Plaintiff included a five-page addition to the original statement of claim (Part 1 of 11/23/15 documents, pp. 5-9).[2] The following page announces that, “Next are the 20 Defendants and what they are guilty of” (Part 1 of 11/23/15 documents, p. 10). Those descriptions span the next 24 pages of the document, and include several nearly incomprehensible pages where Plaintiff has scrawled his allegations in circular fashion around the margins and interspersed between the typed portions of various printed documents (Part 1 of 11/23/15 documents, pp. 11-35).

         Plaintiff includes a new prayer for relief (signed on November 8, 2015) and asks the Court to “take the other request for relief form out and use this one” (Part 1 of 11/23/15 documents, p. 3). Later on, he includes yet another request ...


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