United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for merit review of the
Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C.
§1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's
complaint, through such process to identify and dismiss any
legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted
and. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, has identified five Defendants
at the Henry Hill Correctional Center including Warden
Stephanie Dorthy, Food Supervisor Hanna, Lieutenant Gibbs,
Sergeant Hilgondorff, Correctional Officer Underwood, and
Nurse Dee Clark. Plaintiff says he was assigned to work in
the Dietary Unit cleaning tables, mopping the floor and
restocking condiments. Plaintiff says he had no experience
and was not provided any training, but it is unclear whether
any specific training was necessary for this job. Plaintiff
also says he was not provided gloves or non-slip boots which
are issued to the cooks.
April 2, 2016, one of the cooks told Plaintiff to fill up an
ice bin and dump the water into a kettle. Plaintiff had to
step onto a “curb” that was approximately four
inches high. (Comp., p. 4) Plaintiff slipped, hit his head on
the floor, and was knocked unconscious for a few minutes.
Plaintiff notified staff he had fallen and he was taken to
Lieutenant Gibbs and Sergeant Hainline. The sergeant was
about to call for emergency medical services when Lieutenant
Gibb told him it was not necessary, and instead ordered
Plaintiff to walk to the Health Care Unit (HCU).
arrived, a nurse examined him and discovered a four inch
laceration on his head which needed stiches. Since there was
no doctor on duty, the nurse sent him to an outside hospital
where he received five staples to his head. Plaintiff was
discharged later that evening and told to report specific
symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, increased sleepiness,
confusion, blurred vision, etc.
Plaintiff arrived back at the correctional center, he was
kept in the HCU overnight for observation. Plaintiff was
discharge the next morning, but during the evening he began
to experience headaches, blurred vision and dizziness. The
next morning, he returned to HCU so a nurse could check his
staples and Plaintiff reported his symptoms. Nurse Dee Clark
told him to put in a request for sick call. Plaintiff
believes the nurse should have addressed his symptoms during
Plaintiff submitted a sick call request. On April 6, 2016 and
April 7, 2016, Plaintiff returned to HCU so a nurse could
check his staples. Plaintiff again reported his symptoms and
he was told it would be addressed during sick call. Plaintiff
was scheduled to see the doctor later on April 7, 2016, but
his appointment was canceled without explanation.
again saw an unidentified nurse on April 10, 2016 to have his
staples removed. However, Plaintiff was not seen on sick call
until April 16, 2016. At this time, he was given Motrin for
thirty days, but it did not help with his blurred vision or
filed a grievance complaining about the delay in medical
care, and says unidentified staff members began to retaliate
against him. Plaintiff says he lost his job and was denied a
replacement job due to his grievance, but he does not state
who made either decision.
also says Lieutenant Gibbs, Sergeant Hilgondorff and
Correctional Officer Underwood have constantly harassed him,
subjected him to daily searches, and have denied him access
to the chow hall due to his grievance. Plaintiff alleges both
Defendants have told him they are retaliating based on his
on his allegations, Plaintiff has listed five
“counts.” First, Plaintiff says Defendants Hanna
and Dorthy violated his Eighth Amendment rights when they
were deliberately indifferent to his health and safety.
Plaintiff says he should have been trained and assigned work
boots and gloves for his job. Plaintiff also alleges the ice
bin and kettle were unsafe. Consequently, Plaintiff says the
unsafe conditions led to his fall.
demonstrate a constitutional violation, Plaintiff “must
establish: (1) that he was incarcerated under conditions
posing a substantial risk of harm and (2) that the defendants
acted with deliberate indifference to his health or
safety.” Santiago v. Walls, 599 F.3d 749, 756
(7th Cir. 2010). Mere negligence or inadvertence
is not enough. Pinkston v. Madry, 440 F.3d 879, 889
(7th Cir. 2006); Eddmonds v. Walker, 317 Fed.Appx.
556, 558 (7th Cir. 2009). In addition, the conditions alleged
must be severe. See Carroll v. DeTella, 255 F.3d
470, 472 (7th Cir. 2001). Consequently, Courts have
consistently held that slippery floors or slip and fall
claims do not implicate the Constitution. See Pyles v.
Fahim, 771 F.3d 403 (7th Cir.2014) (stating slippery
surfaces do not constitute a hazardous condition of
confinement); Christopher v. Buss, 384 F.3d 879, 882
(7th Cir.2004) (“A ‘protrusive lip' on a
Softball field, even if hazardous when a ball hits it in a
certain way, does not amount to a condition objectively
serious enough to implicate the Eighth Amendment.”);
Coleman v. Sweetin, 745 F.3d 756, 764 (5th Cir.2014)
(agreeing with district court that, as a matter of law,
“prisoner slip-and-fall claims almost never serve as
the predicate for constitutional violations, ” thus
upholding sua sponte dismissal of
deliberate-indifference claim brought by inmate who slipped
and fell in shower); LeMaire v. Maass, 12 F.3d 1444,
1457 (9th Cir.1993) (“slippery prison floors ... do not
state even an arguable claim for cruel and unusual
punishment”); Watkins v. Lancor, 558 Fed.Appx.
662, 665 (7th Cir. 2014)(“if a wet floor is
not a sufficiently dangerous condition, then neither could
the shortage of protective overshoes for the wet floor
support a claim of deliberate indifference.”);
Bonds v. Mollenhauer, 2011 WL 2326968, at *1
(N.D.Ind. June 6, 2011)(no constitutional violation although
officer took no steps to eliminate standing water on dayroom
floor). Therefore, Plaintiff has failed to clearly articulate
a constitutional violation based on his fall while working in
the dietary unit.
next alleges Defendants Hanna and Dorthy were
“negligent” when they failed to provide a safe
work environment, but “a defendant can never be held
liable under §1983 for negligence.” Williams v
Shaw, 2010 WL 3835852 at 3 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2010).
Plaintiff alleges Defendants Gibbs and Clark delayed medical
treatment. Plaintiff alleges only that Defendant Gibb told
him to walk to HCU, rather than transporting him in some
other way. Plaintiff does not allege he was unable to walk,
or that walking aggravated his condition in some way. Based
on the allegations in his complaint, Plaintiff has failed to
articulate a claim against Defendant Gibbs. Plaintiff also
alleges one contact with Defendant Nurse Clark. On this
occasion, Nurse Clark checked the condition of the staples in
Plaintiff's head. When he reported dizziness, blurred
vision and headaches, she told him to fill out a sick call