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Conway v. Brummel

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 3, 2017

GREGORY CONWAY, #N83890, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge United States District Court

         This matter is now before the Court for consideration of the First Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Gregory Conway pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 2). This case was originally severed from Conway v. Gooden, et al., No. 16-cv-1393-SMY (original case), on February 2, 2017. (Doc. 1). The only claim at issue in the severed case was “Count 12” against Alan Trummel, an eye doctor at Pinckneyville Correctional Center who allegedly denied Plaintiff a pair of medically prescribed eyeglasses after he transferred to Pinckneyville in 2015. (Doc. 2, pp. 8-9, 15-16). The claim did not survive screening and was dismissed without prejudice on March 7, 2017. (Doc. 6). However, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to re-plead his claim against the defendant by April 4, 2017. Id.

         Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint prior to this deadline. (Doc. 8). In it, he reasserts his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against the same defendant, Allen Brummel.[1] In addition, Plaintiff adds a claim against Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), Paul Lewis Shicker (Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) medical director), and Christine Brown (healthcare administrator) for instituting the policy, custom, or practice that allegedly resulted in the deprivation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. (Doc. 8, pp. 6-7). In connection with these claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against the defendants.[2](Doc. 8, p. 9).

         The First Amended Complaint (Doc. 8) is now subject to preliminary review under 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 First Amended Complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

         First Amended Complaint

         In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that his “medically prescribed” eyeglasses were confiscated from him while he was housed at Western Illinois Correctional Center (“Western”) on April 13, 2015. (Doc. 8, p. 6). Following his transfer to Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”) on May 21, 2015, Plaintiff submitted eight separate requests for a pair of eyeglasses to the prison's eye doctor, Allen Brummel. Id. These requests were dated May 28, June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25, July 2, July 22, and July 29. Id. In each, Plaintiff explained that he was suffering from severe migraine headaches and blurred vision. Id.

         Plaintiff did not meet with Doctor Brummel for the first time until August 25, 2015. (Doc. 8, p. 6). He was not issued a pair of eyeglasses until October 6, 2015. Id. This was more than four months after Plaintiff first requested a pair of glasses. Id.

         He blames the delay on a policy, custom, or practice espoused by Wexford and implemented by Director Shicker and Administrator Brown. (Doc. 8, p. 6). All three defendants allegedly encouraged Doctor Brummel to control the costs of medical care by providing as little care to inmates as possible. Id. These defendants ignored Plaintiff's written requests for glasses and overlooked Doctor Brummel's denial of timely and adequate medical care, all in furtherance of this policy. (Doc. 8, pp. 6-7). Plaintiff maintains that this cost-saving policy was the “moving force” behind the constitutional deprivations he suffered. (Doc. 8, p. 6).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 ...

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