United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge
was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”) at the time he 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. The Complaint is
now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 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).
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
plaintiff's 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).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
December 28, 2016, Plaintiff (who uses a cane to help him
walk) tripped and fell down a flight of stairs while he was
returning from the lunch hall to his cell on the upper
gallery. (Doc. 1, p. 7). In the fall, Plaintiff hurt his
right leg, knee, hip, ribs, and his lower back. He also
aggravated an earlier right-knee injury dating back to May
2016, and he hurt a pre-existing hernia that dated back to
November 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff was taken to see a
nurse, who asked him why he had been placed on the top
gallery when he uses a cane. He responded that the placement
officer (whom the Complaint later identifies as Soloan) had
put him there. Plaintiff alleges that Soloan was aware that
Plaintiff was on crutches in May 2016 when he assigned
Plaintiff to the top gallery. (Doc. 1, p. 12).
notes he had previously requested Redding to move him to the
lower gallery because of the medical problems that required
him to use a cane. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He was not moved, however,
even when he had to use crutches in May 2016 due to an injury
to his right knee. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants
“knew or should have known that their actions would
result [in] further injuries” by placing him on the top
gallery while he depended on a cane. (Doc. 1, p. 10). One
hour after Plaintiff's fall, he returned from the health
care unit to his housing area and learned that he had been
moved from the top gallery to the lower gallery. (Doc. 1, p.
before Plaintiff fell in December 2016, he had been diagnosed
with a torn or ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. At
some time during 2016, Plaintiff saw an outside doctor (Dr.
Davis) at a clinic in Marion, Illinois. Dr. Davis recommended
reconstructive surgery for the right knee, and Plaintiff
consented to the surgery. Dr. Scott (a physician at
Pinckneyville) was asked to approve the surgery. Wexford
Health Sources, Inc., (“Wexford”) denied
permission for Plaintiff's knee surgery, however, and
also denied a request for hernia surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Without the surgery, Plaintiff has suffered from
“excruciating pain and discomfort daily.”
Id. On May 15, 2016, Plaintiff re-injured the right
knee. Health care staff treated him with pills, an Ace wrap,
ice, crutches, and followed up with an x-ray. (Doc. 1, p.
11). Plaintiff met with Dr. Scott in September or October
2016, and they discussed giving Plaintiff a knee brace and a
cane because the surgery was not going to take place.
hernia has caused him to suffer much stomach discomfort,
forcing Plaintiff to bend over “into a knot” and
making him vomit, sometimes twice a day. (Doc. 1, p. 10). He
also suffers from shortness of breath and gas. Plaintiff has
complained many times to Pinckneyville medical staff about
seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p. 13).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following counts. 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. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against
Soloan and Redding, for deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's medical condition when they placed him and/or
allowed him to remain on the top housing gallery, which he
could not access without climbing the stairs while using a
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against
Wexford Health Sources, Inc., for deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's medical need for knee surgery ...