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Conway v. Trummel

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 7, 2017

GREGORY CONWAY, #N83890, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAN TRUMMEL, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Gregory Conway, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 2). This case was severed from Conway v. Gooden, et al., No. 16-cv-1393-SMY (original case), pursuant to a Memorandum and Order entered by the Court on February 2, 2017. (Doc. 1). Now before the Court for preliminary review is a single severed claim (“Count 12, ” original case) against Alan Trummel, an eye doctor at Pinckneyville Correctional Center who failed to provide Plaintiff with his medically prescribed eyeglasses for a period of three months after Plaintiff transferred to Pinckneyville in 2015. (Doc. 2, pp. 8-9, 15-16). In connection with this claim, Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment and monetary damages. (Doc. 2, pp. 30-35).

         Count 12 is now subject to preliminary review under 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). Count 12 does not survive screening under this standard.

         Complaint

         Plaintiff brought his original case, Conway v. Gooden, et al., No. 16-cv-1393-SMY (S.D. Ill. 2016), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for numerous constitutional violations that occurred during his incarceration at Western Correctional Center (“Western”) and at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). (Doc. 1, p. 1; Doc. 2). In the Complaint, he asserted claims under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments against officials at both prisons. Id. Many of the claims were unrelated to one another and brought against different groups of defendants. Id. On February 2, 2017, the Court entered an Order severing the unrelated claims against different defendants into separate suits. (Doc. 1).

         The instant case focuses on a single severed claim that Plaintiff brought under the Eighth Amendment against Alan Trummel, who was Plaintiff's eye doctor at Pinckneyville. (Doc. 2). According to the Complaint, Plaintiff's eyeglasses were confiscated on April 13, 2015, just before he transferred from Western to Pinckneyville. (Doc. 2, pp. 9, 15). Following his transfer to Pinckneyville on May 21, 2015, Plaintiff submitted 8 separate requests for eyeglasses to Doctor Trummel. (Doc. 2, pp. 9, 15-16). Plaintiff explained that he needed his medically prescribed eyeglasses on a daily basis in order to see. (Doc. 2, p. 15). Even so, Doctor Trummel ignored all of Plaintiff's requests, including those dated May 28, June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25, July 2, July 22, and July 29. (Doc. 2, p. 16). In doing so, Doctor Trummel allegedly exhibited deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Id.

         Discussion

         This case addresses one severed 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:

Count 12 - Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against Doctor Trummel for failing to provide Plaintiff with his medically prescribed eyeglasses after Plaintiff requested them 8 ...

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