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Butusov v. Ray

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 23, 2016

KENNETH BUTUSOV, #K-55823, Plaintiff,
v.
C. RAY, WARDEN STEPHEN DUNCAN, ASST. WARDEN TREADWAY, GRIEVANCE OFFICER, LESLIE McCARTHY, and DIRECTOR BALDWIN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Staci M. Yandle, U.S. District Judge

         Now before the Court for consideration is the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 5) filed by Plaintiff Kenneth Butusov, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Sheridan Correctional Center (“Sheridan”). Plaintiff filed this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials who ignored, delayed or denied his grievances at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) (Doc. 5, pp. 1-17).

         For seven months in 2015, Plaintiff filed several grievances with C. Ray, a counselor who worked in the prison's infirmary (Doc. 5, pp. 9-12, 14-16). Plaintiff complained that he and other inmates were denied adequate medical care. Counselor Ray told Plaintiff not to expect any responses to the grievances. When Plaintiff complained about Counselor Ray's conduct to supervisory officials, he was instructed to rewrite and resubmit the grievances. The second round of grievances were also denied (id.).

         Plaintiff now claims that the delay in processing his grievances hindered his ability to file suit against his medical providers (id.). In connection with this claim, he names the grievance officials as the only defendants in this action. He seeks monetary damages against them (id. at 13).

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

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the First Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner Complaints, including the First Amended Complaint, to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to 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).

         An 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). 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 Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint does not survive review under this standard and shall be dismissed.

         First Amended Complaint

         During his incarceration at Lawrence in 2015, Plaintiff submitted several grievances to Counselor Ray over the course of seven months (Doc. 5, p. 11). For example, on March 8, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a grievance to complain about Wexford's policy, custom or practice of understaffing and overworking medical staff at Lawrence (id. at 10). As a result, the dressings on his wound[1] were not regularly changed and his medications were frequently “mixed up” (id.).

         On March 14, 2015, Plaintiff wrote a grievance to complain about the inadequate medical care provided to another inmate. In the grievance, he indicated that he observed another patient cry out in pain during the night. Plaintiff pushed the emergency call button repeatedly, but no one arrived to address the inmate's pain for almost two hours (id.).

         On April 13, 2015, Plaintiff complained about Nurse Welty's failure to change a bandage on his Stage 4 wound. He alleges that “saturated gauze” covered his wound when Nurse Welty finished her shift and left. This was a common practice among members of the nursing staff (id. at 11).

         On April 18, 2015, an outside wound doctor ordered an MRI to determine why Plaintiff's wound was not healing. The doctor concluded that Plaintiff suffered from a bone infection in his pelvis known as osteomyelitis. The outside provider instructed Doctor Coe to treat the infection before it became septic, but Doctor Coe took no action to address it. As a result, Plaintiff now suffers from a chronic infection in his pelvis (id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that Counselor Ray never processed any of these grievances. He told Plaintiff not to expect a response because his complaints were “bullshit” (id. at 9). Plaintiff insists that Counselor Ray's conduct prevented him from exhausting his administrative remedies and filing a complaint against the medical staff for denying him adequate medical care (id.).

         On May 11, 2015, Plaintiff spoke with Assistant Warden Treadway during her visit to the prison's infirmary (id. at 12). He explained that Counselor Ray routinely ignored his grievances, some of which addressed medical issues. Treadway called Counselor Ray into the room and asked, “What is it with you and all these grievances?” (id.). She then told Plaintiff that Counselor ...


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