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Alexander v. Wexford Institutional

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 7, 2016

BLAKE ALEXANDER, # R-45674, Plaintiff,


          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Blake Alexander, an inmate who is currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his original Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff claimed that four defendants denied him adequate medical care for testicular masses and pain during his incarceration at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard") in 2015 and at Big Muddy River Correctional Center ("Big Muddy") in 2016 (Doc. 1, pp. 1-22). Plaintiff requested monetary damages against the defendants (id. at 23).

         Less than two weeks after filing his Complaint, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (Doc. 4). In it, he asserts the same claims against the defendants (Doc. 4, pp. 1-19). In addition to monetary relief, however, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief that includes diagnosis and treatment of his condition (id. at 20).[1]

         Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         The First Amended Complaint is now subject to preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Court did not screen the original Complaint, and there is no need to do so at this time. An Amended Complaint supersedes and replaces the original Complaint, rendering it void. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2004).[2]The original Complaint is void, and the First Amended Complaint is now ripe for review.

         Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner Complaints, including Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint, to filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the First Amended 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 First Amended Complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

         First Amended Complaint

         During his pretrial detention at Lake County Jail, Plaintiff noticed "foreign discharge from his penis" when he urinated (Doc. 4, p. 4). He met with members of the Jail's medical staff to discuss the issue. They recommended a urine analysis.

         Before Plaintiff learned the results of the urine test, he transferred into JDOC custody. During intake, Plaintiff notified medical and correctional staff members about the issue. He assumed that someone documented it for the "parent facility" (id).

         Plaintiff then transferred to Menard. There, he met with Nurse Pollion[3] on January 22, 2015. He informed her about his testicular masses and his family history of cancer (id. at 9). Nurse Pollion referred Plaintiff to Doctor Trost (id).

         He met with the doctor three days later on January 25, 2015. Plaintiff informed Doctor Trost that the lumps in his testicles caused him to suffer extreme discomfort when he performed daily activities such as sitting and walking (id. at 10, 12). Doctor Trost examined Plaintiff and diagnosed him with spermatic cysts. The doctor assured Plaintiff that the masses were not cancerous (id). He also indicated that there was no sign of infection (id. at 12). Doctor Trost refused to run any other tests on Plaintiff before reaching this conclusion (e.g., an MRI, x-ray or biopsy) or refer him for a second opinion (id. at 10). Plaintiff filed a grievance to complain about the inadequate medical care, but it was denied at all levels (id. at 9).

         Plaintiff again met with Doctor Trost on May 10, 2015 (id. at 10). He asked the doctor to explain why he refused to run any other tests. The doctor simply indicated that he would not do so and ignored Plaintiffs complaints of ongoing symptoms. Plaintiff was seen by an unknown nurse ("Nurse Jane Doe") on May 30, 2015. She referred him to a medical doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.

         Plaintiff met with Doctor Fuentes on June 8, 2015. Doctor Fuentes explained that she was not a medical doctor, but rather an optometrist. Nevertheless, after consulting with Doctor Trost about Plaintiffs condition, Doctor Fuentes prescribed Plaintiff a six-week course of antibiotics (i.e., amoxicillin) (id. at 10, 12). Plaintiff alleges that both doctors knew that antibiotics would be ineffective because there was no infection (id. at 12). Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance on July 22, 2015. The grievance was denied (id).

         Plaintiff met with Nurse Doe again on August 22, 2015 (id. at 15). By this time, he had developed additional "lumps" in his testicles. The nurse expressed concerns about a misdiagnosis. She indicated that the lumps could be cancerous (id). She recommended blood work and a biopsy. Nurse Doe referred Plaintiff to Doctor Travis for further treatment.

         When Plaintiff met with Doctor Travis, he reported suffering from constant pain for months. Plaintiff rated the pain "8-10" on a scale of "10, " with "10" being the most painful. After listening to his complaints, the doctor told Plaintiff twice that he was "full of shit" and a "con artist" (id). The doctor went on to comment that Plaintiff "has the greasy end" (id). Plaintiff was offended by this comment, although he admittedly had no idea what it meant.[4]When Plaintiff complained to ...

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