United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT 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, alleges his constitutional
rights were violated at Western Illinois Correctional Center
by five Defendants including Sergeant Garrett, Lieutenant
Haubrich, Nurse K. Kaler, Officer Barnett and Officer Zoller.
On July 11, 2016, Plaintiff says Defendants Garrettt,
Barnett, Haubrich, and Zoller used excessive force against
has attached an Adjustment Committee Report concerning the
same incident to his complaint. (Comp, p. 11). Plaintiff was
found guilty of assaulting a staff member by throwing liquid
onto an officer. The report states Plaintiff refused
several orders to lock up, argued with officers, and then
threw liquid onto Defendant Barnett. The officers claim when
they attempted to apply wrist restraints, but Plaintiff
became combative and he was taken to the ground. (Comp., p.
claims he was handcuffed when the Defendants body slammed him
to the floor, kneed him in the face, punched him in face,
pushed him into a wall, and then kicked him in the mouth
knocking out one of his teeth.
has adequately alleged Defendants Garrettt, Barnett,
Haubrich, and Zoller used excessive force on July 11, 2016.
However, Plaintiff is admonished that unless he can
demonstrate the disciplinary ticket has been expunged, he
will not be able to contradict the disciplinary judgment.
Gilbert v. Cook, 512 F.3d 899, 900 (7th
Cir. 2008). In other words, Plaintiff will not be able to
deny he threw water on an officer, before the alleged
incident of excessive force.
next alleges he asked for medical attention and Defendant
Nurse Kaler responded. Plaintiff says he “explained to
her my pain she said I'll be fine and walked off.”
(Comp., p. 20). Plaintiff has also attached Nurse Kaler's
medical record which indicates Plaintiff had one
“superficial laceration” less than ¼ of an
inch long and redness around both wrists. (Comp., p. 16). The
area was cleaned, but no further treatment is indicated in
attached grievance stating he was transferred to Pontiac
Correctional Center where he was seen by a nurse when he
arrived the morning after the incident. Plaintiff says a new
nurse provided treatment for his wounds and pain medication
for his headache, but he was not provided ice for his swollen
face. (Comp., p. 6). The attached medical record indicates
Plaintiff entered Pontiac with small, superficial scrapes on
both wrists, a small superficial laceration over
Plaintiff's right eye. (Comp. p. 17). The medical record
noted no further medical issues and no follow-up appointments
or treatment ordered. (Comp., p. 18). There is no report of a
problem with any of Plaintiff's teeth, nor does Plaintiff
allege he told either nurse about his tooth, or that he
needed treatment for tooth pain.
establish an Eighth Amendment violation, a plaintiff must be
able to demonstrate he suffered from a serious medical
condition and the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
that condition. See Farmer v Brennan, 511 U.S. 825
(1994). “Serious conditions include those that
significantly affect the person's daily activities,
feature chronic and substantial pain, or could result in
further significant injury or unnecessary pain if left
untreated.” Taylor v. Smith, 2017 WL 1077654
at *5 (S.D. Ind. 2017) citing Gutierrez v. Peters,
111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997).
is nothing in the complaint or attachments to indicate
Plaintiff told Nurse Kaler about his tooth or that she had
any other reason to know he had any tooth problem. In
addition, the Court cannot infer Plaintiff suffered from an
objectively serious medical need based on the injuries he did
report or were visible to Nurse Kaler. See Pinkston v.
Madry, 440 F.3d 879, 891(7th Cir.2006)(split lip and
swollen cheek not a serious medical need); Zentmyer v.
Kendall County, Ill., 220 F.3d 805, 810 (7th Cir. 2000)
(holding that minor scrapes and bruises do not amount to
serious medical needs); Caldwell v. McEwing, 2006 WL
2796637, at *11 (C.D.Ill. Sept. 28, 2006)(swollen eye, 1/2
inch cut not requiring stiches, minor bruises and scrapes
does not constitute a serious medical need); Murrell v.
Bukowski, No. 08-2044, 2011 WL 884736, at *16 (C.D.Ill.
Mar.11, 2011) (a prisoner's “busted lip”
caused by fighting was not objectively serious); Willis
v. Scrogum, 2006 WL 2597889, at *6, 7 (C.D.Ill. Sept. 8,
2006) (a prisoner who suffered abrasions on his forehead and
both sides of his face as well as an abrasion on his lower
lip after a fight did not demonstrate the existence of an
objectively serious medical need); Scholes v. Fayette
County Jail, 2011 WL 2115874, at *4 (S.D.Ill May 26,
2011)(“the normal incidents of fighting, e.g.,
abrasions, bruising, and mild bleeding”
…”were not objectively serious ones to which the
medical staff were recklessly indifferent.”);
Alvarado v. Battaglia, 539 F.Supp.2d 1022, 1027-28
(N.D.Ill. Feb. 13, 2008) (a prisoner who suffered a small cut
on his lip and made subjective complaints of pain in his
groin and knee after a fall in the prison yard did not show
the existence of an objectively serious medical need).
Therefore, based on the allegations in the complaint and the
attachments to the complaint, Plaintiff has not articulated a
claim against Defendant Nurse Kaler or any other individual
based on deliberate indifference to a serious medical
Court notes it is unclear whether Plaintiff exhausted his
administrative remedies as required before filing his
lawsuit. Plaintiff has checked the box on his complaint form
indicating he did complete the grievance process. (Comp., p.
3). However, the only response from the Administrative Review
Board he has provided indicates Plaintiff did not properly
submit his grievance. (Comp., p. 12). Nonetheless, exhaustion
is an affirmative defense better addressed in a motion for
Plaintiff has filed a motion for appointment of counsel 
The Plaintiff has no constitutional or statutory right to the
appointment of counsel in this case. In deciding this issue,
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 has demonstrated an attempt to find counsel on his
own. However, Plaintiff has provided no other information in
support of his motion. Plaintiff's complaint adequately
sets forth his intended claims and the factual basis for his
claims. In addition, Plaintiff should be able to testify
personally to the pain he experienced, his attempts to obtain
help, and the responses he received, which can be used to
show evidence of deliberate indifference. See Ledford v.
Sullivan, 105 F.3d 354, 358 (7th Cir. 1997)(expert
testimony not necessarily required to establish deliberate
indifference). Furthermore, once Defendants have been served,
the Court will enter a scheduling order providing important
information to assist the Plaintiff and requiring the parties
to provide relevant, initial discovery. Finally, the
Plaintiff has at least some litigation experience. See
Kennedy v. State Tactical Unit, Case No. 14-3295.
Therefore, his motion is denied. 
THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Pursuant to its merit review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the Court finds the Plaintiff alleges
Defendants Garrettt, Barnett, Haubrich, and Zoller used
excessive force against him on July 11, 2016. The claim is
stated against the Defendants in their individual capacities
only. Any additional claims shall not be included in the
case, except at the Court's ...