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Middletonn v. Shaffer

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 25, 2017




         Plaintiff Dwayne Middleton, a pretrial detainee in Franklin County Jail (“Jail”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical issues in violation of the Eighth Amendment and retaliated against him for filing grievances in violation of the First Amendment. (Doc. 1). 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 allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Plaintiff was booked into Franklin County Jail on January 18, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff immediately reported a medical disorder he suffers from, Tourette syndrome, and the medication that he was taking at the time of the arrest. Id. Plaintiff was informed that he would soon see a doctor, but as of the date this lawsuit was filed in mid-March, Plaintiff had not yet seen a doctor. Id. Because Plaintiff had not been given the medication he needs for his disorder, which he claims “causes his whole body to react without any control, ” he fell in the shower on January 21, 2017, causing him to break his nose and sustain a cut to his left eyelid. Id. Plaintiff asked for medical attention and was seen by Defendant Nurse Ashley, who told Plaintiff that his nose was broken but that she could not treat him for it. Id. Plaintiff asked why, and Nurse Ashley responded that she did not have to treat it if she did not want to. Id.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance for the lack of medical attention for his ongoing disorder. Id. After doing so, Defendants Shaffer and Heise punished Plaintiff for writing the grievance by forcing him to sleep on the top bunk or sleep by the toilet. Id. Lt. Shaffer also tore the grievance up in front of Plaintiff. Id. Because his disorder had remained untreated, on March 8, 2017, Plaintiff fell while in shackles and handcuffs in a courtroom and on the courthouse stairs. Id. Plaintiff was unable to catch himself because of his disorder and the lack of medication he had received therefor, so he hit his right arm, hand, and the right side of his face against the courthouse stairs in one of these falls. Id. That same day, Plaintiff spoke with Defendant Officer Marie T about his problems with the shackles, and she stated that she did not care about Plaintiff's disorder. Id. Plaintiff asked Defendant Officer Marie T for medical attention for the injuries he sustained falling on the courthouse stairs, and she told him “to suck it up and get over it.” Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from the defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 6).


         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 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 regarding their merit.

Count 1 - Defendants Nurse Ashley and Officer Marie T showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs related to his Tourette syndrome and injuries he sustained due to lack of treatment ...

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