United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
pro se civil rights action, brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, is now before the Court for a preliminary
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Plaintiff filed
this action while he was a prisoner incarcerated at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), where his claims arose. Soon
after the case was filed, Plaintiff was released on parole
(Doc. 10). Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical condition of glaucoma.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must 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).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be
liberally construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d
742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
was transferred to Pinckneyville on or about January 7, 2015
(Doc. 1, p. 8). Upon his arrival, he underwent a medical
screening/intake with Defendant Nurse Loucks. Plaintiff told
her that he had been diagnosed with glaucoma in his left eye.
This information and the records of treatment he had received
were in his medical documentation from Hill Correctional
Center, his previous prison. Defendant Loucks promised to
take note of this information, and she told Plaintiff he
would be scheduled for a medical appointment in about three
weeks, followed by treatment and monitoring of his condition.
weeks later, Plaintiff still had not received a call pass for
a medical examination. He filled out multiple request slips
over the next weeks and months to be seen by Defendant Els
(eye doctor), but never got any response (Doc. 1, p. 9). On
June 5, 2015, Plaintiff directly contacted Defendant Nurse
Peek regarding his glaucoma and need to see a doctor, but she
did not arrange for a referral, despite her assurance that
Plaintiff would see an eye doctor soon (Doc. 1, p. 15). On
August 7, 2015, after his request slips had still not been
answered, he wrote to Defendant Brown (Health Care
Administrator) seeking evaluation and treatment for his
glaucoma. She never responded (Doc. 1, pp. 17-18). He then
wrote to Defendant Matticks, the regional medical director
for Defendant Wexford Health Source, Inc., seeking help to
get treatment. Again, he got no response (Doc. 1, p. 18). He
had several visits with Unknown Party Medical Defendants
(Jane/John Doe Nurses and Doctors) during 2015, but none of
those providers would deal with his eye problems (Doc. 1, p.
continued efforts to obtain medical care for his glaucoma
were not answered until over a year after his arrival at
Pinckneyville, when he finally saw a prison eye doctor (Dr.
Brummel, who is not a defendant) on February 10, 2016 (Doc.
1, pp. 9-10). At that time, Plaintiff's symptoms included
“bleary vision, light flash, serious headaches, ”
and loss of vision in his left eye (Doc. 1, p. 11). Dr.
Brummel confirmed that Plaintiff was suffering from glaucoma
and requested approval for him to be seen by a specialist
outside the prison. Approval was given on February 16, 2016.
saw the outside specialist (Dr. Ortiz) on March 23, 2016, and
began treatment on that date. Dr. Ortiz informed Plaintiff
that he should be taking medication for his condition and
noted that if he had been treated earlier, his condition
might not have become so bad (Doc. 1, p. 13).
seeks compensatory and punitive damages for Defendants'
deliberate indifference to his condition (Doc. 1, p. 19).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following counts. 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 as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Defendants Loucks, Els, Peek,
Brown, and the Unknown Party (John/Jane Doe) Nurses and/or
Doctors, for failing to treat and delaying ...