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Shaffer v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 22, 2016



          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge.

         Plaintiff Aishef Shaffer, an inmate in Pickneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He seeks declarative, nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 1). 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

         On November 5, 2015, Kbat was working as a transport officer, responsible for moving inmates to and from the chow hall. (Doc. 1, p. 9). At approximately 9:30 am that day, a fight broke out between two inmates as housing unit R3- A wing was leaving the housing unit for chow. (Doc. 1, p. 9). McDonald, who was also working transport, called a 10-10, and told all inmates to sit on the ground. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff fully complied with that order. (Doc. 1, p. 10). McDonald and Cacioppo broke up the fight, and the inmates involved were cuffed and taken to segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Belford then arrived on the scene. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         Suddenly, without warning, Kbat ran up behind Plaintiff and kicked him repeatedly while waiving a can of mace in his face and threatening Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Kbat said “you mutha fucka [sic] don't want to fuck with me today. I'll knock you the fuck out.” Cacioppo, Belford, McDonald, and Baker were all present at that time. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff alleges that he was not causing a disturbance and was following all IDOC rules and policies. (Doc. 1, p. 10). He further alleges that as a result of the assault, he experienced severe pain in his back. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         Plaintiff requested medical attention from Cacioppo, McDonald, and Baker, but they refused to take him to the health care unit. Cacioppo stated “If you can breath [sic] your [sic] alright, ” and then laughed and walked away. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Several other inmates told Baker and Cacioppo that Kbat kicked Plaintiff, but the guards ignored them. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Plaintiff had difficulty walking to chow due to the pain in his back; he told Belford, but Belford ignored Plaintiff's request for medical attention. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Once back at his housing unit, Plaintiff repeated his request for medical attention to Baker and Cacioppo again, but Baker told him, “your [sic] be fine write a grievance.” (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff continued to be ignored by Cacioppo. (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         In the afternoon on the same day, Plaintiff reported to internal affairs to speak to Lt. Furlow. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff reported Kbat's assault. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Furlow reviewed the video recordings and confirmed the events, but downplayed the assault, saying “It ain't like you were stump out, that's nothing.” (Doc. 1, p. 14).

         Plaintiff convinced Furlow to take him to health care unit for his injuries at approximately 3:00 pm. (Doc. 1, p. 15). The Jane Doe nurse in the health care unit allegedly refused to evaluate Plaintiff and did not give him any medication. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Medical records submitted by Plaintiff show that a nurse filled out an injury report for Plaintiff on November 5, 2015, and the report was noted in his medical records. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2-3). The nurse further noted no redness, bruising, or swelling, normal vitals, and that Plaintiff was able bend over without difficulty. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). Plaintiff was directed to follow-up with nurse sick call. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3).

         Plaintiff reported to nurse sick call the next day on November 6, 2015 at 11:00 am. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Plaintiff was told that he could not see a doctor until he submitted two more nurse sick call slips. (Doc. 1, p. 15-16). Plaintiff's medical records show that he was referred to the MD on November 6, 2015 at the 11 am visit without having to submit further sick call slips. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). The medical record also shows that Plaintiff previously had a history of back pain caused by a gunshot wound and an injury he sustained while working out. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). The records further note that due to his chronic back pain, Plaintiff had received 60, 600 mg prescription ibuprofens on October 20, 2015, two weeks prior to the incident. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). The nurse also instructed Plaintiff on general strengthening exercises and to avoid heavy sport activities. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). Plaintiff also reported at this time that his back pain was not new, but rather ongoing. (Doc. 1-1, p. 6). Plaintiff alleges that he continually tried to get attention for his medical needs in the days following, and was ignored. (Doc. 1, p. 16).

         Plaintiff saw Dr. Shah on November 10, 2015 at 11:05 am. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff alleges that Shah refused to perform an examination, take x-rays, or prescribe any medication for Plaintiff's back pain and lack of mobility. (Doc. 1, p. 16). The medical records show that Shah conducted an examination. (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). Plaintiff alleges that Shah told him he'd be fine if he just drank water. (Doc. 1, p. 16).

         Plaintiff alleges that Shah's denial of medical care aggravated his injuries, that he could not walk without difficulty and discomfort, and that he experienced consistent chronic pain. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff continued to submit nurse sick call slips, and after he submitted three more, he was seen again by Shah on November 24, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Shah became angry at Plaintiff and sent him away without any treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 18). He also wrote Plaintiff a disciplinary ticket for insolence, allegedly to discourage and obstruct Plaintiff from receiving treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 18).

         Plaintiff began grieving his condition. (Doc. 1, p. 18). He alleges that some of the grievances were never responded to, and that Flatt and Wheelan ultimately told Plaintiff to stop filing grievances. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Plaintiff also wrote to Brown ...

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