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Morris v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 5, 2017

BARRY MORRIS, Plaintiff,


          HERNDON, District Judge

         Plaintiff Barry Morris, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, 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 and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 5). 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. 5), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: before Plaintiff's incarceration, he had surgery on his right arm. (Doc. 5, p. 2). Plaintiff went to physical therapy for a year to regain motion in his arm, but it is still partially paralyzed and sensitive to the touch. (Doc 1, p. 3). Plaintiff was incarcerated as early as 2006, but he did not experience box and chain restraints until 2012. Id. Because of the great deal of pain the box and chain restraints caused Plaintiff, he sought a medical permit from the Stateville medical director that would exempt him from the box and chain restraints in favor of medical restraints and/or waist chains. Id. Stateville's medical director granted the permit without issue, and a new medical restraints permit has been issued to Plaintiff every year since. Id.

         Plaintiff was transferred to Menard from Stateville on August 31, 2016. (Doc. 5, p. 2). On October 31, 2016, Plaintiff showed Dr. Siddiqui his previous medical permits from Stateville, and explained his medical condition and history to him. Id. Dr. Siddiqui issued Plaintiff a comparable medical restraints permit for Menard on October 31. (Doc. 5, p. 3). On February 27, 2017, Plaintiff went out on his first medical writ, and his waist chains and/or medical restraints permit was not honored, allegedly because the medical permit was not issued by the medical director, Dr. Trost. Id. Plaintiff was subjected to the box and chain setup, and was in pain because of it for approximately three hours. Id.

         Plaintiff saw Dr. Trost on March 13, 2017, and was issued a medical permit allowing Plaintiff waist chains and/or medical restraints among other medical accommodations. Id. On March 23, 2017, Plaintiff had another medical writ, so he showed the permit from Dr. Trost to the writ officers in order to avoid placement in the box and chain setup. (Doc. 5, p. 4). The writ officers told Plaintiff that the administration would not honor his permit. Id. Plaintiff was scheduled for an MRI, so he went on the medical writ without the benefit of waist chains and/or medical restraints, and he suffered in pain for another three or more hours. Id.

         The next day, [1] Plaintiff had another medical writ but refused to go unless he was placed in the proper, approved restraints. Id. Plaintiff was told by a corrections officer that the waist chains and medical restraints would not be allowed, but that the officer, a major, would make sure Plaintiff could put his hands any way he wanted and the handcuffs would not be as tight as before. Id. Plaintiff agreed to these terms, but blood flow was still interrupted and his hand and arm became numb, his middle finger curled up, and he endured pain and suffering for another three or more hours. Id.

         Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance on March 29, 2017 to Defendant Warden Lashbrook regarding the situation. Id. On April 5, 2017, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant ADA Warden Lawrence concerning the issue. (Doc. 5, p. 5). Plaintiff also wrote to several other individuals during this timeframe in an attempt to resolve the issue, including Defendant John Baldwin on April 12, 2017. Id. Plaintiff requested a status update from Lashbrook on April 13, 2017 because he feared his upcoming court writ to Joliet, Illinois in the box and chain would further damage his right arm and hand and would cause ongoing pain throughout the writ. Id. Because Lashbrook would not answer his grievance, Plaintiff sent a cover sheet with his March 29, 2017 emergency ...

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