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Buck v. Young

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 11, 2017

WILLIAM BUCK, R-21689, Plaintiff,,



         Plaintiff William Buck, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff contends officials at Menard subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was on suicide watch. Plaintiff also alleges that he was the victim of excessive force on two occasions during his suicide watch and was denied appropriate medical care with respect to injuries stemming from the excessive force incidents. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues Sgt. Young (Correctional Officer), C/O Slavens (Correctional Officer), Lieutenant Callais (Correctional Officer), Withoff (Correctional Officer), Nurse Pam (Nurse), Nurse Tripp (Nurse), Nurse Jill (Nurse), Larissa Wandro (Grievance Officer), Sylvia Butler (Physician), Ms. Pappas (Mental Health Professional), Ms. Meyers (Mental Health Professional), Mr. Weatherford (Mental Health Professional), Gail Walls (Healthcare Administrator). According to the Complaint, Plaintiff sues all defendants in their individual and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks monetary damage and injunctive relief.

         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; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff was on suicide watch between October 27, 2016 and December 7, 2016. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-11). During his suicide watch, Plaintiff was initially housed in a cell in the Healthcare Unit. (Doc. 1, p. 9). The first transfer occurred on November 12, 2016, when Plaintiff was transferred to cell number 507 in North 2. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff was subsequently transferred twice. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-11). The second and final transfer occurred on November 23, 2016, when Plaintiff was transferred to cell number 217 in North 2. (Doc. 1, p. 11). During his confinement in these cells, Plaintiff was subject to the following conditions: (1) he had only a suicide vest and blanket in his cell and was not permitted to clean or replace them, even after they were soiled; (2) he was not permitted to shower; (3) he was not allowed to have a toothbrush or toothpaste and his mouth became infected; (4) he was not allowed any items to clean himself; (5) in each cell the walls and flooring were covered in urine, feces, and/or blood; (6) in each cell, the mattress provided was covered in urine, feces, and/or blood; (7) the cells were not cleaned and Plaintiff was not allowed any cleaning supplies; (8) Plaintiff could not clean himself after urinating or defecating and ate finger food with soiled fingers; (9) the lights in Plaintiff's cell were turned on at all times, depriving Plaintiff of sleep; (10) Plaintiff was bitten by bugs; and (11) Plaintiff developed MRSA. (Doc.1, pp. 9-11).

         The Complaint indicates that Pappas (Doc. 1, p. 10, ¶ 8-9), Meyers (Doc. 1, p. 11 ¶ 16-17) and Weatherford (Doc. 1, p. 11, ¶ 22) intentionally had Plaintiff placed in unsanitary conditions. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that Weatherford (Doc. 1, p. 11, ¶ 18) Pappas (Doc. 1, p. 11, ¶ 18), Meyers (Doc. 1, p. 11, ¶ 18), and Withoff (Doc. 1, p. 14) were aware of these unsanitary conditions, and failed to take any action to assist Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff also alleges that while he was in solitary confinement, he was subjected to excessive force on two occasions. The first excessive force incident occurred on November 20, 2016, when Plaintiff was in cell number 507 in North 2. (Doc. 1, p. 12). According to Plaintiff, he asked to speak with a lieutenant. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Slavens and Callais responded to his request. (Doc. 1, p. 12). At the time, Plaintiff's arm was in the opened chuckhole. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Slavens told Plaintiff he was going to break his arm while it was in the chuckhole. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Callais then ordered Slavens to go ahead and break Plaintiff's arm. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Slavens grabbed Plaintiff's right thumb and began to twist and shove Plaintiff's arm with all of his body weight. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Slavens then shoved Plaintiff into rusty metal in Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff's knee was punctured and there was a gash in his left foot. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff experienced severe pain in his foot, knee, shoulder, wrist, and thumb. (Doc. 1, p. 12).

         Slavens and Callais refused Plaintiff's initial requests for medical assistance. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Although Callais subsequently returned with a nurse, Pam, she did not provide appropriate medical care. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Pam told Plaintiff he deserved worse and did nothing more than throw two bandages into Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 1, p. 13). The following morning, another nurse, Jill and Young ignored Plaintiff's requests for medical treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         The second excessive force incident took place on the afternoon of November 21, 2016. According to Plaintiff, Young (who was aware of Plaintiff's prior injuries) approached Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Then, without cause, Young pepper sprayed Plaintiff and twisted Plaintiff's already injured arm, causing severe pain. (Doc. 1, p. 13). At some point during the assault, Withoff appeared and cuffed Plaintiff through the chuckhole. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff was then escorted, with his arms cuffed behind his back and without any clothing through the gallery to the HCU. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff was taken to be examined by another nurse, Anna. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Anna performed a cursory exam and then left without providing treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff contends his shoulders, wrists, and thumbs felt broken, he was bleeding, and in extreme pain. (Doc. 1, p.14). Plaintiff was then returned to his cell without receiving any treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 14).

         On November 22, 2016, Plaintiff was seen by another nurse, Tripp. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff was told he was lucky to see her at all. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Tripp examined Plaintiff but did not provide any medical care. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff told Meyers about the assault but, other than contacting a psychiatrist, she did not provide him with any assistance. (Doc. 1, p. 14).

         On November 23, 2016, Plaintiff was examined by Moldenhauser (not a named Defendant) in the presence of several corrections officers. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Moldenhauser ordered x-rays for Plaintiff. But informed Plaintiff he did not want trouble with the guards and was going to indicate that Plaintiff had scrapes as opposed to a puncture and gash. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Moldenhauser did not receive an x-ray until December 19, 2016, after he filed an emergency grievance. (Doc. 1, p. 14).[1] Plaintiff does not provide any information with regard to the medical assessment of his x-rays. Aside from the bandages he received on the day of the initial assault and the subsequent x-ray, Plaintiff has not received any treatment for his injuries. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Plaintiff continues to suffer from severe pain. (Doc. 1, p. 15). In addition, he has trouble with mobility and with lifting things. (Doc. 1, p. 15).

         Plaintiff contends that he has received inadequate treatment as a result of policies implemented by Walls, a healthcare administrator. (Doc. 1, p. 15).

         Additionally, Plaintiff contends that Wandro, a grievance officer, failed to properly investigate grievances and otherwise mishandled his grievances relating to the alleged constitutional violations. (Doc. 1, p. 15).[2]

         With respect to Butler, Plaintiff merely alleges that (1) he spoke to Butler about his treatment on November 4, 2016 (Doc. 1, p. 10, ¶ 7) and (2) he preferred to speak to Butler and constantly asked staff members to allow him to speak to Butler, but the staff refused (Doc. 1, p. 10, ¶ 16, 18).

         In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues all Defendants in their individual and official capacities. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Specifically, Plaintiff seeks further treatment for his injuries, an MRI, and an order directing Menard to adopt or refrain from enforcing certain policies pertaining to prisoner medical care. (Doc. 1, p. 17).


         As a preliminary matter, it is necessary to clarify who the defendants are in the instant action. The body of the Complaint raises several allegations with regard to a physician identified as “Moldenhauser.” Moldenhauser is not identified as a defendant in the caption of the Complaint or in section of the Complaint that identifies the parties. Because this individual is not listed in the caption by name or by Doe designation, he will not be treated as a defendant in this case, and any claims against him should be considered dismissed without prejudice. See FED. R. CIV. P. 10(a) (noting that the title of the complaint “must name all the parties”); Myles v. United States,416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (to be properly considered a party a defendant ...

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