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Tidwell v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 8, 2016

CLEOTHER TIDWELL, #N-41754, Plaintiff,
v.
KIMBERLY BUTLER, AMY LANGE, LESLIE McCARTY, and LORI OAKLEY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges incidents of harassment and battery by Menard medical staff member Amy Lange and claims that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated because prison officials failed to protect him from Lange's conduct and failed to intervene in her ongoing pattern of harassment. In relation to these claims, Plaintiff names Defendants Kimberly Butler (warden), Leslie McCarty (Administrative Review Board) and Lori Oakley (grievance officer).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the Complaint. After fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         Background

         Plaintiff has been incarcerated at Menard for a number of years, during which time he has sought medical attention on numerous occasions for conditions such as high blood pressure (Doc. 1 at 12). His complaints about his medical care stem back to 2009 when he alleges that the “medical lady”-whom he believes is Amy Lange-began a course of verbally abusive, intimidating and threatening behavior although he does not describe any particular incidents in 2009 (Id.).

         Lange allegedly threatened to have the Plaintiff sent to segregation if he filed too many sick call slips (Id.). He complains that at some point when he saw Lange, she spoke to him in a demeaning combative manner and jammed a thermometer in his mouth (Id.). The same day of the thermometer incident, Lange apparently sent a guard to his cell to tell him to cool off and to file fewer sick call slips for a while (Id.). His statement of the claim does not associate dates with any of this alleged conduct by Lange (Id.).

         The exhibits Plaintiff attached to his Complaint provide a loose timeframe for his allegations. The thermometer incident took place on or about November 26, 2014 (Doc. 1, p. 10). After that incident, he began the grievance process, which continued through at least through the fall of 2015 (Id. at 14-28). None of his grievances allege a specific threat of violence towards him by Lange, nor do the grievances contain any complaints that his medical needs went unattended (Id.). In some of the grievances, he complained that his blood pressure medication dosage was not reduced at his request and that the medical staff response a decrease would be dangerous because his blood pressure was in the high range of normal (Id. at 15-17).

         The Complaint makes a single sweeping allegation that the warden, the counselor, the grievance officer, and the IDOC director[1] all ignored the Plaintiff's grievances (Id. at 12). Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages for Lange's threats to withhold care and her act of battery, as well as punitive damages from associated stress, and depression (Id. at 13). He seeks punitive damages from the other three defendants for failing to intervene or to protect him from Lange's acts (Id.). He also asks that the Court hold an in camera review of complaints lodged against Lange to see if there are complaints of the same nature as his (Id.).[2]

         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 failure to protect claim against Defendants for Lange's alleged harassment;
Count 2:Eighth Amendment failure to intervene claim against Defendants for Lange's alleged harassment; and,
Count 3:State law claims against Defendant Lange for battery, medical battery, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault.

         Counts 1 and 2 shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. All of the state law claims in Count 3 shall be dismissed without prejudice because this Court is declining to exercise its ...


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