United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge
Andre Hall, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), brings this civil rights
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his
constitutional rights at Pinckneyville. (Doc. 1). According
to the Complaint, Plaintiff was denied adequate medical
treatment for a right ankle injury and back injury that he
sustained prior to his incarceration. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8). In
connection with this denial of medical care, Plaintiff now
brings claims against the following defendants under the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments: Wexford Medical Services
(“Wexford”), John Baldwin (Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) Director), Jacqueline
Lashbrook (warden), Christine Brown (health care
administrator), John Doe (doctor), and Dan (physical
therapist). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
He also requests a temporary restraining order and/or
preliminary injunction requiring these officials to provide
him with “immediate” and “adequate”
medical care. Id.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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
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). The Complaint survives preliminary review under this
to his incarceration, Plaintiff suffered a right ankle injury
and back injury. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8; Doc. 1-1, pp. 1-7). He
offers no details regarding the cause of these injuries.
Id. However, Plaintiff indicates that he was under
the care of a physician for both of them prior to his
attempted to obtain medical treatment when he arrived at
Pinckneyville on October 27, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Prison
officials failed to properly treat either condition.
Id. Plaintiff allegedly met with an unknown doctor
(“Doctor John Doe”), as well as a nurse
practitioner and a physical therapist. Id. He
informed them about the medical care he received for both
conditions prior to his incarceration. Id.
his recent treatment history, Doctor Doe “refused to
give [Plaintiff] medication that relieved the severe
pain.” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff explained that he had
taken Norco for pain, and it was effective. Id.
Plaintiff also indicated that he needed an MRI. Id.
Still, Doctor Doe refused to give him Norco or refer him for
an MRI. Id. Instead, the doctor prescribed Plaintiff
a six week course of Tramadol after stating, “It's
the best I can do.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). Doctor Doe informed
Plaintiff that he was leaving the prison, and his replacement
would make the referral for an MRI. Id. In the
meantime, Doctor Doe referred Plaintiff to a physical
therapist, named Dan, who simply told him to “do
met with Doctor Doe on his final day at Pinckneyville. (Doc.
1, p. 7). The doctor informed Plaintiff that he was not
supposed to recommend “expensive treatments”
pursuant to Wexford's policy. Id. That policy is
reflected in a memo that is posted in the “emergency
room, ” which states that “expensive [treatments]
cannot/should not be allowed.” Id. An MRI is
one such test that Wexford disfavors based on cost concerns.
wrote three letters to Administrator Brown, Warden Lashbrook,
and Director Baldwin. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). He informed each of
them about his injuries, his history of treatment, and the
MRI recommendation. Id. He complained of suffering
from pain for up to twelve hours each day that he rated as a
“10” on a scale from “1” to
“10, ” with “10” being the most
severe. Id. He complained of elevated blood pressure
that resulted from his persistent pain. Id.
Plaintiff also notified the grievance officials that he was
assigned to a top bunk without a ladder or any alternative
means of climbing into bed. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
claims that the defendants all knew, or should have known,
that their refusal to provide adequate testing or treatment
because of cost concerns could result in irreparable harm and
serious pain. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff complains of
severe headaches, back pain, neck pain, and other
“mental injuries” that resulted from their
facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in
this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it
appropriate to organize the claims in Plaintiff's pro
se Complaint (Doc. 1) into the following counts:
Count 1 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to medical needs claim against Defendant John
Doe for inadequately treating Plaintiff's right ankle and
back injuries by refusing to refer him for an MRI and
refusing to prescribe him Norco.
Count 2 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to medical needs claim against Physical
Therapist Dan for recommending exercises for Plaintiff's
right ankle and back injuries.
Count 3 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to medical needs claim against the grievance
officials (Administrator Brown, Warden Lashbrook, and
Director Baldwin) for ignoring Plaintiff's complaints of
inadequate medical treatment for his right ankle and back
injuries and his request for a low bunk permit.
Count 4 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to medical needs claim against Wexford for
instituting a policy that elevates concerns regarding costs
over concerns regarding quality of care and for consequently
causing the denial of adequate medical care for
Plaintiff's right ankle and back injuries.
Count 5 - Fourteenth Amendment due process
claim against Defendants for denying Plaintiff adequate
medical care for his ankle and back injuries by ignoring,
denying, or delaying his grievances.
Count 6 - Conspiracy claim against
discussed in more detail below, Counts 1, 3, and 4 survive
preliminary review against the defendants named in connection
with each claim. Counts 2, 5, and 6 fail to state a claim