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Black v. Bennett

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 30, 2016

RODNEY EUGENE BLACK, Plaintiff,
v.
JILL BENNETT, CHARLES PAULIUS, and KEVIN KAYS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

         Plaintiff Rodney Black, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Saline County Jail (“Jail”), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Jail's lieutenant (Jill Bennett), doctor (Charles Paulius), and dentist (Kevin Kays). Plaintiff claims that the defendants delayed or denied him treatment for an abscessed tooth in 2016 (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 8-11). As a result, he endured prolonged pain and infection and ultimately lost the tooth (id.). Plaintiff now seeks monetary damages against the defendants (id. at 12).

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

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to 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). The complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

         The Complaint

         On August 16, 2016, Plaintiff allegedly submitted a written request for treatment of a toothache to Deputy Jill Moore at Saline County Jail (Doc. 1, p. 8). Deputy Moore looked in Plaintiff's mouth, observed a cavity, and contacted the Jail's doctor, Charles Paulius, and/or dentist, Kevin Kays, to schedule an appointment (id.). Plaintiff was given a 3-day supply of ibuprofen (id. at 9).

         A month passed without an appointment, and Plaintiff informed Deputy Moore that his tooth was infected. On September 16, 2016, he again asked to see a dentist in “urgent care” (id.). Deputy Moore assured Plaintiff that she had already scheduled an appointment for him with the Jail's dentist. In addition, she agreed to contact Doctor Paulius about the infection. Plaintiff was later given a 5-day course of antibiotics. However, he received no additional pain medication, and he did not meet with the Jail's doctor or dentist.

         On September 26, 2016, Plaintiff submitted another written request for medical attention after his “abscess . . . returned” (id.). Lieutenant Jill Bennett responded to the written request by speaking with Plaintiff at his cell. She looked at his tooth and then contacted Doctor Paulius. He prescribed Plaintiff another 5-day course of antibiotics without examining Plaintiff's tooth.

         On September 29, 2016, Plaintiff was finally taken to the Jail's dentist by Deputies Marty Wilkins and Craig Gunny (id.). After examining Plaintiff's tooth, Dentist Kays confirmed that it was infected. At the time, Plaintiff was still taking the second course of antibiotics prescribed by Doctor Paulius. However, Dentist Kays offered to extract the tooth, and Plaintiff agreed to the procedure.

         Dentist Kays failed to provide Plaintiff with after care instructions. He did not offer Plaintiff pain medication or order a soft diet (id. at 9-10). Instead, Plaintiff returned to his cell in “extreme pain” (id.).

         On October 2, 2016, Plaintiff submitted another written request for medical attention. He specifically asked for a refill of antibiotics and pain medication. In response, Doctor Paulius prescribed a 3-day supply of ibuprofen and a 14-day supply of antibiotics. Once again, the doctor refused to meet with Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff now sues Lieutenant Bennett, Doctor Paulius, and Dentist Kays for delaying treatment of his abscessed tooth for five weeks and thereafter ignoring his pain, in violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (id. at 11). Plaintiff claims that this delay caused him to suffer unnecessary and prolonged pain, infection, physical injury, and emotional distress (id.). He seeks monetary damages against the named defendants[1] (id. at 12).

         Discussion

         The complaint sets forth a single constitutional claim. The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation ...


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