United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge:
Jerel Matthews, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings
this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he was
attacked and injured by his cellmate on February 24, 2016.
(Doc. 1, pp. 6-8). According to the Complaint, the attack
could have been avoided or stopped, if the defendants
responded to the complaints and warnings of Plaintiff and
other inmates. Id. Because they did not, Plaintiff
allegedly sustained severe injuries that were inadequately
treated by Doctor Trost and Nurse Walls. Id.
Plaintiff now sues all of the defendants for violating his
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the
Eighth Amendment. Id. He seeks monetary relief and a
prison transfer. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Complaint 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
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 screening under
this standard and shall receive further review.
February 24, 2016, Plaintiff was attacked by his cellmate in
Gallery 5 of Menard's North Cell House. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
As Plaintiff was using the sink, his cellmate approached him
from behind and beat Plaintiff in the head, face, and eyes
with an unidentified object. Id. Plaintiff lost
in Galleries 5 and 7 began screaming for help and shaking
their cell bars. (Doc. 1, p. 6). This went on for
approximately twenty minutes, but no one responded.
Id. Eventually, an inmate worker ran downstairs and
summoned a correctional officer to the area. Id.
time prison officials arrived, Plaintiff was seriously
injured. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8). He was sent to Chester Memorial
Hospital for immediate treatment. Id. His face was
badly swollen, and he required twenty-five stitches on his
face and head. Id. Plaintiffs treating physician
sent him back to the prison with instructions for close
Trost and Nurse Walls were responsible for Plaintiffs care
and treatment at Menard following the attack, and they
allegedly failed to ensure that his injuries were properly
diagnosed and treated. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff was instead
locked in a room in the prison's infirmary, where he was
ignored by the prison's medical staff. Id. He
was administered pain killers and berated by the correctional
officer who worked on the third floor of the infirmary.
Id. The correctional officer referred to Plaintiff
as “pumpkin head.” Id. He made fun of
Plaintiff's injuries in front of the nurses. Id.
At times, the nurses joined in the teasing. Id.
did not see a prison doctor until one day before he returned
to the general population. (Doc. 1, p. 8). On that date, the
doctor removed Plaintiff's stitches. Id. At no
point was Plaintiff examined by a doctor. Id.
asserts that he suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated
concussion that impacted his vision and motor skills. (Doc.
1, p. 8). He suffered from “constant” headaches.
Id. He also felt like everything around him was
spinning or moving. Id. These symptoms did not
resolve until almost a year after the attack. Id.
Plaintiff's vision is now normal, and his headaches occur
approximately once each month. Id. He filed at least
one emergency grievance with the warden seeking further
medical treatment, but Warden Butler denied it. (Doc. 1, p.
claims that the attack could have been avoided altogether if
Warden Butler addressed the general conditions of
Menard's North Cell House. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Unlike other
areas of the prison, the North Cell House has no towers or
catwalks available for armed guards to monitor inmates.
Id. There are not enough correctional officers to
monitor inmate activity. Id. The North Cell House
also has no panic buttons available to inmates in need of
immediate assistance from staff. Id. In addition,
correctional officers did not make enough rounds to monitor
inmate activity in that area of the prison. Id.
Plaintiff was aware of four or five other inmates who lost
their lives because of attacks by ...