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Parnell v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 14, 2017

RONNIE PARNELL, N56008, Plaintiff,


          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Ronnie Parnell, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff contends Pinckneyville staff exhibited deliberate indifference to his ongoing hip issues, in violation of his constitutional rights. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues J. Lashbrook (Pinckneyville Warden), J. Baldwin (IDOC Director), and Wexford Health Sources (Corporate Healthcare Provider). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         The relief section of Plaintiff's Complaint includes a request for a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 1, p. 10). The Court denied this request, without prejudice, on October 18, 2016. (Doc. 5). As stated in the order denying Plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction, Plaintiff may file a proper motion seeking injunctive relief at a later date if the need arises. Id.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         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 any reasonable person would find meritless. 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         In 2011, while incarcerated at Lawrenceville Correctional Center (“Lawrenceville”), Plaintiff injured his hip during a game of handball. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Initially, he was misdiagnosed with an arthritic hip injury. As a result, Plaintiff was confined to a wheelchair and in severe pain for over a year. Id. It was later determined that Plaintiff was suffering from a festering infection causing hip deterioration. Id. On January 3, 2013, Plaintiff underwent hip replacement surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 4). After completing surgery, Plaintiff received a medical permit. Id. The medical permit did not have an expiration date (the expiration date was listed as “indefinite”) and included authorization to utilize a cane. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff considered filing a lawsuit regarding his hip injury and initial misdiagnosis. (Doc. 1, p. 4). However, staff at Lawrenceville indicated he would lose good time credit if he pursued a claim. Id. As a result, he never filed a claim and, according to Plaintiff, the statute of limitations has expired. Id.

         In 2015, Plaintiff was transferred to Pinckneyville. Id. Upon arrival, Plaintiff met with a Pinckneyville physician. Id. That physician allowed Plaintiff to keep his cane and indicated he would update Plaintiff's medical permit to reflect his transfer to Pinckneyville. Id. On April 12, 2016, Pinckneyville staff observed Plaintiff walking without the aid of his cane and throwing a basketball. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). At that time, Officer Smith (Badge # 10491) approached Plaintiff and confiscated his cane for security reasons. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Nurse Peek conferred with Officer Smith and concluded that Plaintiff no longer needed the cane. Id. Plaintiff objected and tried to explain that he was merely exercising his hip in accord with doctors' orders. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).

         Plaintiff filed a grievance on April 12, 2016. Two counselors (Landis and D. Flatt) responded, indicating that Plaintiff's medical permit for a cane expired in 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff then filed a request with the Wexford medical records office seeking a copy of his medical permit. (Doc. 1, p. 7). The request went unanswered. Id. Plaintiff contends ignoring requests for medical records is an ongoing problem with Wexford's medical records office. Id.

         On April 25, 2016, Plaintiff's artificial hip gave out, and he slipped in the shower. Id. Plaintiff notified medical staff about his fall and the pain he was experiencing. Id. Despite the fact that Plaintiff could barely walk, he was denied emergency treatment and instructed to submit a request for sick call. Id. On April 27, 2016, Plaintiff spoke with Landis, a counselor, regarding his injury and severe pain. Id. Landis indicated he would look into the situation and provided Plaintiff with a grievance form. Id.

         On April 28, 2016, Plaintiff was seen during nurse sick call. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Kim Richerson, a nurse, examined him. Id. Plaintiff indicated he was in severe pain and that when he fell he heard a loud popping noise. Id. Richerson prescribed Tylenol and indicated she would refer Plaintiff to the physician. Id.

         Several days later (in approximately May 2016), Plaintiff was seen by M. Scott, a physician. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Scott ordered x-rays, wrote a prescription for pain medication and muscle relaxers, and ordered physical therapy. Id. As of September 2016, Plaintiff still had not received physical therapy. Id. Plaintiff ...

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