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Black v. Moore

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 22, 2016

RODNEY EUGENE BLACK, Plaintiff,
v.
JILL MOORE, and DR. DAN WILLIAMS, [1] Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. District Judge.

         Plaintiff Rodney Eugene Black, a pretrial detainee at the Saline County Jail, brings this pro se action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). Black was granted leave to file an amended complaint after this Court screened his initial complaint and determined that he failed to present sufficient facts or allegations to state a claim. Black filed his amended complaint in a timely fashion, making claims of deliberate indifference for the treatment of a hand injury, deliberate indifference for the denial of psychiatric care, and a due process violation for prolonged placement in solitary confinement (Doc. 10). In conjunction with his claims, Black named Jill Moore and Dan Williams. He seeks monetary compensation.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 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

         Black alleges that he arrived at Saline County Jail in April 2016 (Doc. 10 at 5). At the time of his arrival, Black apparently needed surgery on his hand, and was actually scheduled for surgery with the Veterans Administration on April 18, 2016 (Id.). He informed Defendant Jill Moore that he was scheduled for surgery and she assured him that his needs would be addressed, but he missed the surgery on April 18 (Id.). He alleges that Dr. Dan Williams was also responsible for working with Moore to get him the needed surgery (Id.). Black's hand condition went untreated from three months and it healed improperly (Id.). He alleges that when he finally saw a surgeon his thumb was declared inoperable (Id.). As a result of the lack of treatment, Black claims that his thumb is permanently disabled (Id.).

         In addition to the complaints about his thumb, Black also claims that he has not received adequate psychiatric care (Id.). He alleges that he made Moore aware of his psychiatric needs, and that he was prescribed medications by Dr. Williams without an appointment, but he does not feel that these actions were appropriate or sufficient to target his needs (Id.).

         Finally, Black claims that he has been in solitary confinement for a year (Id.). He does not allege what about this type of confinement is wrong, whether or not he has had administrative review of this placement, or who is responsible for his ongoing confinement in solitary (Id.).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se Complaint into the following enumerated claims. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Moore and Williams for delaying or denying access to medical care for Black's injured hand;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Defendants Moore and Williams for inadequate psychiatric care,
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment due process claim for solitary confinement of more than a year.

         Count 1 shall be allowed to proceed beyond screening, however, Counts 2 and 3 shall be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         As an initial matter, Black is a pretrial detainee, so he is not yet eligible to bring claims under the Eighth Amendment. However, the Seventh Circuit has found that claims by pretrial detainees may be assessed under the Fourteenth Amendment, and that it is “convenient and entirely appropriate to apply the same standard to claims arising under the Fourteenth Amendment (detainees) and the Eighth Amendment (convicted prisoners) without differentiation.” See Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal citation ...


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