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Stewart v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 27, 2017

JAVAR STEWART, B-81927, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Javar Stewart, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Jacqueline Lashbrook, Lieutenant Ramsey, Officer Redding, Doctor Michael Scott, and Nurse Kimberly Ferrari. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that these individuals denied him timely and adequate medical treatment for a broken knee at Pinckneyville in 2016. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). As a result, he endured excruciating pain. Id. Plaintiff now brings claims against these defendants under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He seeks monetary relief against them. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         This case is 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). The Complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

         The Complaint

         On February 11, 2016, Plaintiff slipped and fell while working as a janitor at Pinckneyville. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He immediately felt excruciating pain in his knee and summoned help from two nearby officers, Officer Redding and Lieutenant Ramsey. Id. The two officers notified the prison's healthcare unit (HCU) about Plaintiff's injury and had him transported there in a wheelchair. Id.

         Nurse Ferrari examined Plaintiff's knee but told him that there was nothing she could do. (Doc. 1, p. 5). She explained that it was a holiday weekend, and no one would be able to see him until the following week. Id. The nurse wrapped Plaintiff's knee in an ace bandage and sent him back to his housing unit. Id.

         For four days, Plaintiff waited for medical attention. (Doc. 1, p. 5). While he waited, the prison's medical staff never checked on him. Id. Plaintiff alleges that his knee was obviously swollen and in need of treatment. Id.

         On February 15, 2016, Plaintiff was finally called back to the prison's HCU. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He waited to meet with a medical provider from 11:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Id. Plaintiff complained to the assigned officer[1] about his ongoing pain and the need for immediate treatment. Id. The officer simply said, “[T]hey will see [you] whenever they see [you].” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff was sent back to his housing unit that evening before seeing anyone. Id.

         On February 16, 2016, Doctor Scott finally examined Plaintiff's knee. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He ordered x-rays, which were completed the next day by Shannon Bradley.[2] Id. The x-rays revealed a fractured patella. Id. Doctor Scott ordered Plaintiff a cane and pain medication. Id. He then sent Plaintiff back to his cell. Id.

         Plaintiff submitted a written request for more pain medication later the same day. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He explained that the medicine prescribed by Doctor Scott was ineffective. Id. Plaintiff experienced severe pain any time he attempted to walk. Id.

         On February 22, 2017, Plaintiff was granted approval for an appointment with an outside orthopedist. (Doc. 1, p. 6). However, Warden Lashbrook did not authorize a medical writ until March 7, 2016. Id. Plaintiff underwent knee surgery the following month. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4).

         While Plaintiff waited for approval of the medical writ, he submitted one or more grievances to staff to complain about the delay in treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He received no response to his grievance(s) until April 12, 2016, which was two months after his ...

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