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Pierce v. Foster

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 27, 2017




         Plaintiff Ronald Pierce, a former inmate at Vandalia Correctional Center now on parole, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs related to a rash he developed while incarcerated, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. (Doc. 1). 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff claims that sometime after September 8, 2015 when his incarceration in Cook County Jail began, he developed a small rash on his stomach. (Doc. 1, p. 7). He requested to see healthcare and, when he did, he was told his rash “was nothing” and was given Hydrocortisone for it. Id. He was transferred from Cook County Jail to Stateville Correctional Center on June 30, 2016. Then, on July 18, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred from Stateville to Vandalia Correctional Center. Id. When he arrived at Vandalia, he “started putting in request [sic] to medical and nothing happened as time continued to go by.” Id. After an unspecified amount of time, Plaintiff put in for sick call after the rash began to spread across his stomach, right arm, and inner left thigh, and he was seen by a nurse the next day. Id. The nurse gave him Hydrocortisone for his rash, and he was charged a five-dollar co-pay for the visit. Id.

         Plaintiff claims that he spoke with Foster and wrote to both Foster and Klien about his not being called to the healthcare unit, to no avail. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). After not hearing from the healthcare unit for a month, Plaintiff put in for sick call once again in order to get more Hydrocortisone. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He was again charged a five-dollar co-pay for a visit from a nurse. Id. Plaintiff claims the nurse told him he would need to put in for sick call 3 total times before seeing the doctor, which he believes constitutes extortion. Id. Plaintiff does not indicate in his Complaint whether the Hydrocortisone helped his rash, though he does claim that he needed it. Id. Plaintiff requests declaratory relief, a permanent injunction requiring defendants establish a “better system of healthcare, ” and monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 9).


         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate two counts in this action. 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.

Count 1 - Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs by ignoring Plaintiff's complaints about his lack of medical care for his rash and/or failing to secure ...

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