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Hoofard v. Foster

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 30, 2017

DARRYLE HOOFARD, [1] # S-13698, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff, who was incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center ("Vandalia") at the time he filed this suit, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition. 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 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).

         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). 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 plaintiffs 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).

         After fully considering the factual allegations in Plaintiffs Complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff states that he was injured on April 16, 2016, when he hit his leg on a trash trailer while he was working at his prison job. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He sought medical help on April 24, 2016. At that time, the unidentified nurse told Plaintiff to "keep an eye on" the wound. Id. The next day, Plaintiffs leg "looked like a softball, " so he again went to the health care unit. Id.

         On April 27, 2016, a nurse cut open and drained the wound. Plaintiff returned to health care the following day and had the dressing changed. On April 29, 2016, Plaintiff returned for another dressing change, and fluid "sprayed" out of the wound due to the built-up pressure. Id. He was then sent to an outside hospital.

         At Fayette County Hospital, Plaintiff was admitted and treated with intravenous antibiotics. An unidentified hospital staffer told Plaintiff that he should have been admitted a week earlier due to his condition.

         After Plaintiff was released from the hospital, he was housed in the prison's health care unit until May 26, 2016, when he was sent back to the regular housing unit. He was taken off antibiotics. However, at the time he filed the Complaint, Plaintiff claimed his leg wound still had not healed. Further, Fayette County Hospital personnel had recommended that Plaintiff should return every week for follow-up at the wound clinic, but Vandalia staff refused to take Plaintiff back for those checkups. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff names as Defendants Vandalia Warden Foster, Dr. Codwell, Unit Administrator Klein, and Nurse Supervisor Weathers. However, the statement of claim does not identify which, if any, of these individuals was responsible for Plaintiffs treatment.

         Notably, in the "Grievance Procedure" section of the Complaint, Plaintiff states that he did not present the facts relating to his complaint to the prisoner grievance procedure. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Explaining his failure to submit a grievance, Plaintiff writes, "It is a medical issue." Id.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 ...

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