United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for merit review of the
Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C.
§1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's
complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss
any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if
warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1)
is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, says his constitutional rights
were violated at the Kankakee County Jail by Nurse Tammy Doe,
Sheriff Bukowski, Officer Sessions, Officer Mehand, Officer
Brinkmen, Officer McCabe and Officer Latrel. Plaintiff says
on February 14, 2015, water leaked from the ceiling to the
dayroom floor. Plaintiff alleges most of the Defendants must
have observed the water during their security checks.
Nonetheless, no one warned the Plaintiff about the water on
the floor and he slipped and fell hitting his back.
demonstrate a constitutional violation, Plaintiff “must
establish: (1) that he was incarcerated under conditions
posing a substantial risk of harm and (2) that the defendants
acted with deliberate indifference to his health or
safety.” Santiago v. Walls, 599 F.3d 749, 756
(7th Cir. 2010). Mere negligence or inadvertence
is not enough. Pinkston v. Madry, 440 F.3d 879, 889
(7th Cir. 2006); Eddmonds v. Walker, 317 Fed.Appx.
556, 558 (7th Cir. 2009). In addition, the conditions alleged
must be severe. See Carroll v. DeTella, 255 F.3d
470, 472 (7th Cir. 2001). Consequently, Courts have
consistently held that slippery floors or slip and fall
claims do not implicate the Constitution. See Pyles v.
Fahim, 771 F.3d 403 (7th Cir. 2014)(stating slippery
surfaces do not constitute a hazardous condition of
confinement); Bell v. Ward, 88 Fed.Appx. 125, 126
(7th Cir.2004) (affirming the dismissal of a slip and fall
claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A); Reynolds v.
Powell, 370 F.3d 1028, 1031 (10th Cir.2004)(“
slippery floors constitute a daily risk faced by members of
the public at large. Federal courts from other circuits have
therefore consistently held that slippery prison floors do
not violate the Eighth Amendment.”)(collecting cases);
Coleman v. Sweetin, 745 F.3d 756, 764 (5th Cir.
2014) (agreeing with district court that, as a matter of law,
“prisoner slip-and-fall claims almost never serve as
the predicate for constitutional violations, ” thus
upholding sua sponte dismissal of
deliberate-indifference claim brought by inmate who slipped
and fell in shower); LeMaire v. Maass, 12 F.3d 1444,
1457 (9th Cir.1993) (“slippery prison floors ... do not
state even an arguable claim for cruel and unusual
punishment”); Bonds v. Mollenhauer, 2011 WL
2326968, at *1 (N.D.Ind. June 6, 2011)(no constitutional
violation although officer took no steps to eliminate
standing water on dayroom floor). Therefore, Plaintiff has
failed to articulate a claim based on the water on the
dayroom floor or his fall.
says after he fell, officers called for medical staff. When
Nurse Tammy arrived, Plaintiff reported he was in extreme
pain. Nonetheless, the nurse instructed officers to drag
Plaintiff back to his cell. Plaintiff admits Nurse Tammy
provided him with unknown medication, but she refused his
request for an x-ray. Plaintiff says despite his continued
requests for medical care, he did not see any other staff
member for 11 days. Plaintiff further alleges he is still
suffering with back pains and spasms.
purposes of notice pleading, Plaintiff has adequately alleged
Defendant Nurse Tammy was deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical condition. However, Plaintiff is advised he
must be able to demonstrate he suffered from a serious
medical condition. In addition, “[a]n inmate who claims
that a delay in medical treatment rose to a constitutional
violation must place verifying medical evidence in the record
to establish the detrimental effect of delay in medical
treatment to succeed.” Langston v Peters, 100
F.3d 1235, 1240 (7th Cir. 1996). “[A]
non-trivial delay in treating serious pain can be actionable
even without expert medical testimony showing that the delay
aggravated the underlying condition.” Berry v.
Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 441 (7th Cir.
has also filed a motion for appointment of counsel.
Plaintiff has no constitutional right to the appointment of
counsel. In addition, the Court cannot require an attorney to
accept pro bono appointment in a civil case. The most the
Court can do is ask for volunteer counsel. See Jackson v.
County of McLean, 953 F.2d 1070, 1071 (7th
considering Plaintiff's motion, the Court must ask two
questions: “(1) has the indigent plaintiff made a
reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively
precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the difficulty
of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to litigate
it himself?” Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654
(7th Cir. 2007), citing Farmer v. Haas,
990 F.2d 319, 322 (7th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff
states he has written to one law firm without success. The
Court does not find contacting one firm to be a reasonable
attempt to find counsel on his own. Plaintiff's motion is
therefore denied with leave to renew.  Any additional
motion should include copies of letters sent or received in
Plaintiff's attempt to find representation.
THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1) Pursuant to its merit review of the complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds the Plaintiff alleges
Defendant Nurse Tammy was deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical condition, back pain, in February of 2015.
Any additional claims shall not be included in the case,
except at the Court's discretion on motion by a party for
good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
2) This case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants
before filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice
and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed
before Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will
generally be denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit
any evidence to the Court at this time, unless otherwise
directed by the Court.
3) The Court will attempt service on Defendants by mailing
each Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days
from the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If
Defendants have not filed Answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, Plaintiff may file
a motion requesting the status of service. After Defendants
have been served, the Court will enter an order setting
discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
4) With respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the
address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that
Defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the
Clerk said Defendant's current work address, or, if not
known, said Defendant's forwarding address. This
information shall be used only for effectuating service.
Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only
by the Clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket
nor disclosed by the Clerk.
5) Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date
the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not
an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate
under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings
shall be to the issues and claims stated in this Opinion. In
general, an answer sets forth Defendants' positions. The
Court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless