United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief District Judge United States District
currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center
(“Lawrence”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His
claims arose while he was confined at Pinckneyville
Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff
claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical conditions, and violated his rights under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). This
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 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 Plaintiff's claims
survive threshold review under § 1915A.
has been a quadriplegic since 1995, and depends on a
wheelchair for mobility. His hands, torso, and lower body are
paralyzed, and he has partial paralysis of his arms (Doc. 1,
p. 5). He notes that he secured the assistance of another
inmate in drafting his complaint.
August 2012, Plaintiff had been housed in the Pinckneyville
infirmary, where he had access to health care services and
accommodations for his disability, as well as certain devices
to assist him in mobility. However, in late June 2015
following a disciplinary incident, Defendant John/Jane Doe #1
ordered Plaintiff to be discharged from the infirmary and
moved to an ADA cell in the disciplinary segregation unit.
Before Plaintiff was moved, he asked Defendant Shah if
arrangements had been made to care for his disability-related
needs in his new housing area. Defendant Shah was unable to
answer this question.
new ADA cell (in 5 House, B-Wing, Cell 14) was designed for
disabled inmates with more mobility than Plaintiff has. It
was not adequate to meet his needs, and did not have a call
button for him to alert staff if he needed assistance.
Plaintiff notified the wing officer and a nurse that his cell
lacked the equipment he needed to accommodate his disability,
but nothing was done. For example, Plaintiff no longer had a
“transfer board, ” which was a tool he needed to
move from his bed to his wheelchair; did not have his
prescribed air mattress, which allowed him to wait longer
before needing to have his body repositioned; did not have
medical supplies to contain his bodily waste; and was not
given his suppositories at the times he normally received
them. As a result, he began having bowel movements while in
his bed, and was forced to lie in his own waste until someone
eventually came to assist him. Furthermore, he developed skin
deterioration and pressure ulcers from lying in his own waste
urine and not being turned enough (Doc. 1, p. 6).
unspecified date, Plaintiff fell while trying to move from
his bed to his wheelchair, and fractured his toe badly enough
that the bone broke out through his skin. He had to lie on
the floor for hours yelling for help until an officer
responded and summoned medical assistance. Plaintiff
designates the segregation unit officers who refused to come
to his aid on the day he broke his toe as Defendant John/Jane
Does (#2-#?),  as he does not know their names or how
many individuals were on duty (Doc. 1, p. 8). He also refers
to officers involved in other incidents in the same manner.
repeatedly complained to unnamed (Defendant John/Jane Does
#2-#?) officers about the problems he was experiencing in the
ADA cell, and asked to be moved back to the infirmary. As a
result, he was allowed to speak with Defendant Shah, and
advised the doctor about the pressure ulcers, toe injury, and
the ongoing problem of having to lie in his own waste because
of not having his transfer board and having to wait for
assistance from staff. Defendant Shah said he would see what
he could do, but then did nothing for Plaintiff (Doc. 1, p.
time after this, Plaintiff was assigned a cellmate, which
prompted him to ask for crisis team intervention to once
again request the medical equipment and assistance he needed.
He was moved to a different cell with cellmate Owens, in 5
House, C-Wing, Cell 34.
August 8, 2015, Plaintiff fell out of his bed (which lacked
side rails) while attempting to reposition himself (Doc. 1,
p. 7). The next day, his upper left leg and hip were red and
swollen. Later on, while Owens helped Plaintiff to transfer
to his bunk, they heard a grinding noise. They repeatedly
asked for medical help, but none of the John/Jane Doe Officer
Defendants (#2-#?) responded. Plaintiff then developed blood
in his urine, headaches, and cold sweats. On August 11, 2015,
Owens wrote a letter to Warden Lashbrook requesting help for
Plaintiff (Doc. 1, p. 20). Defendant Shah examined Plaintiff
and saw his pressure ulcers and hip injury. Defendant Shah
said he would try to have an x-ray done in a day or so. The
next day, Warden Lashbrook toured the wing and saw
Plaintiff's injuries. She told Plaintiff she would have
him moved back to the infirmary and have an x-ray ordered for
August 12, 2015, Plaintiff had an x-ray, which showed a
severe injury to his hip including a displaced bone fracture
and internal bleeding. Plaintiff had surgery on August 13,
2015, to repair the hip fracture (Doc. 1, p. 8). He was moved
back to the infirmary on an unspecified date (Doc. 1, p. 9).
asserts that the unknown (John/Jane Doe Defendants) who
removed him from the infirmary, took away his transfer board
and other accommodations, refused to restore those items to
him, and denied him adequate staff assistance to meet his
disability-related needs, violated his rights under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. If he had been properly
provided with the accommodations he needed, he most likely
would not have suffered the falls that led to his broken toe
and fractured hip (Doc. 1, p. 10). Likewise, if he had
remained in the infirmary, he would have had access to staff
assistance and would not have been required to repeatedly lie
in his own waste for hours, suffered pressure ulcers, or had
to wait for help after falling to the floor without access to
a call system.
includes Defendant Baldwin (IDOC Director) as a party in
order for him to respond to discovery requests aimed at
identifying the John/Jane Doe Defendants by name (Doc. 1, p.
9). Additionally, he requests injunctive relief pursuant to
the ADA to prevent Defendant Baldwin or any of his successors
from placing Plaintiff in a disciplinary housing unit unless
he is provided the same accommodations and access to medical
care as he would receive in the infirmary (Doc. 1, pp. 11,
seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the violations of
his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment (Doc.
1, p. 12). He also includes several specific requests for
information to assist him in discovering the identities of
the John/Jane Doe Defendants (Doc. 1, pp. 12-14).
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 Defendant Shah, for failing to take measures to meet
Plaintiff's disability-related medical needs while he
remained in Cells 14 and 34 (e.g., treatment for
pressure ulcers, transfer board, assistance with bowel
hygiene) during June-August 2015, and delaying and/or failing
to provide medical care for Plaintiff's fractured hip;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Defendant John/Jane Doe #1, for removing Plaintiff in
June 2015 from the infirmary without giving him necessary
equipment or access to medical care, which led to
Plaintiff's injuries (fractured toe and ...