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Jones v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 13, 2017

JAMAL JONES, M43295, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN BALDWIN, CHRISTINE BROWN, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, LARUE LOVE, JANE DOE, WEXFORD MEDICAL SOURCES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN, CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jamal Jones, an inmate a Pinckneyville 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 needs in violation of the Eighth 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: on October 25, 2016, Plaintiff was kicked in the face, causing severe injuries to his eye sockets. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He began to experience vision loss. Id. He was taken to the Health Care Unit (“HCU”) where he was given a “minimal” examination by Defendant Jane Doe. Id. When Plaintiff complained to Doe of “severe headaches, ” she told him to “stop bitching and crying like a baby.” Id. She also refused to take notes regarding his complaints. Id. Doe told Plaintiff that he would not receive an x-ray because there was “no visible reason” to have one taken. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff requested ice for his injury to relieve the swelling, but it was refused. Id. Plaintiff was instead given a low dose of Tylenol, and later Ibuprofen. Id.

         Because Plaintiff was sent back to his cell after his first visit to the HCU after his injury without having been given an x-ray, the fracture in his face began to heal unevenly, leaving Plaintiff's face disfigured. Id. Both of Plaintiff's eyes were black, and one of them was shut completely. Id. Even now, Plaintiff's eyes “show a dark shadow to them.” Id. The Tylenol and Ibuprofen Plaintiff was given did not stop or slow the pain Plaintiff was experiencing - which Plaintiff classifies as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. Id. Plaintiff visited the HCU several times, only to be rushed out without sufficient care. Id. “For a very long time, [Plaintiff] was denied an x-ray by [Defendant Christine] Brown.” Id. “In fact, Brown, Lashbrook, Love, and Baldwin instructed staff to not even consider treating such an ‘expensive procedure, '” as is evidenced by a memorandum in the HCU with a list of over a dozen treatments and conditions that Wexford instructs its employees not to provide and/or treat, as “‘expensive' care is not Wexford's obligation.” Id.

         Plaintiff “still has periods of 10-12 hours of severe headaches.” Id. In fact, once when Plaintiff was trying to tie his shoes, he became so dizzy he almost fell over. Id. Plaintiff believes he needs an MRI, but MRIs are listed on the memorandum as a service that Wexford does not allow. Id. Plaintiff has instead suffered from daily headaches and severe depression. Id. Plaintiff sent a letter to Baldwin about this “expensive care” memo of Wexford's, but it went unanswered. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff also filed an emergency grievance, which was received by the grievance officer on November 15, 2016 and forwarded to Baldwin on December 1, 2016. Id. This grievance was denied. Id.

         On November 3, 2016, Plaintiff was ready to have x-rays taken, but the corrections officer on his wing told him his pass had been cancelled. Id. Plaintiff claims “[e]very cry out he's sent to Lashbrook, Love, Brown, and Baldwin went unanswered except” his emergency grievance that Baldwin expedited as an emergency but ultimately denied. (Doc. 1, p. 8); (Doc. 1-1, pp. 1-4). Notably, the emergency grievance response from Debbie Knauer of the Administrative Review Board and Baldwin indicates that Plaintiff “was to come to x-ray November 3, 2016 but chose to go to commissary” and Plaintiff's “facial bones x-rayed [sic] on November 9, 2016.” (Doc. 1-1, p. 4).

         Plaintiff claims he “suffers from severe 10-12 hour headaches, severe vision loss, severe depression, neck pain, and other mental injuries[.]” (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff ...


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