United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court for a merits review of Counts 1
and 2, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to
filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the
complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted or asks for
money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Ted Knox is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional
Center (“Menard”), where he is serving a life
sentence. He brought this pro se civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on May 10, 2017 and filed
his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7) on May 24, 2017. On May
31, 2017, the Court severed Plaintiff's claims in Counts
3, 4, and 5 into separate actions, leaving only Counts 1 and
2 remaining in the instant case.
pending claims in this case after the severance order are as
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against
Hamilton, Winters, Butler, Harrington, and Supervisor John
Doe #1, for subjecting Knox to a humiliating strip search,
excessive force, and for deliberate indifference to
Knox's medical needs arising from the blows he sustained,
on April 14, 2014;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim for
deliberate indifference to medical needs, against Trost,
Crain, Walters, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., for
delaying and denying medical care to Knox after the April 14,
2014, incident of excessive force.
(Doc. 9, p. 6). The factual allegations in the First Amended
Complaint (Doc. 7) which relate to these claims are
April 14, 2014, the Orange Crush state-wide tactical unit
conducted a shakedown of Plaintiff's cell block,
awakening him with yelling and banging on cell bars as they
entered the unit. (Doc. 7, p. 4-7). Two unidentified Orange
Crush officers yelled at Plaintiff and his cellmate because
they were not “standing in the cell naked.” (Doc.
7, p. 4). Hamilton (Tact Officer) yelled for Plaintiff to
“get naked and lift up [his] nuts.” Id.
Plaintiff complied, and Hamilton ordered him to “open
up [his] mouth and wiggle [his] tongue around.”
Id. Plaintiff objected to placing his hand in his
mouth because he had just used that hand to lift his
genitals, to which Hamilton replied, “[w]hy do you
think I am giving you a direct order dumb ass.”
Id. Hamilton then made Plaintiff turn around and
open his buttocks as wide as he could and threatened to drag
Plaintiff off to segregation naked. The other Orange Crush
officer watched and laughed.
this strip search, Hamilton ordered Plaintiff to put on his
pants, shirt and boots, but no underwear or socks. When
Plaintiff was about to be handcuffed, he showed Hamilton his
medically-authorized double-cuff permit (MCP), which was
issued because Plaintiff is morbidly obese and has arthritis
in his left shoulder. (Doc. 7, p. 4). Hamilton knocked the
documents out of the cell bars and yelled that he didn't
want to see any “damn medical papers” and that
Plaintiff needed to lose weight really fast because he
“wasn't in the mood for any bull-shit.” (Doc.
7, p. 5). When Plaintiff asked to speak with a nurse or
Orange Crush supervisor, Hamilton again threatened Plaintiff
with segregation if Plaintiff refused to be single-cuffed.
Because of Hamilton's threat to drag him to segregation,
Plaintiff submitted to the single-cuff restraints, which
caused him great pain.
Plaintiff exited the cell, Hamilton struck him on the back
multiple times with his oak stick, yelling for Plaintiff to
“keep your fat head down before I knock it off.”
Id. Plaintiff and his cellmate were ordered to move
to the prison chapel walking in “nuts-to-butt
fashion.” Id. Plaintiff describes this as
being forced to bow his head downward so it would touch the
butt of the prisoner in front of him. While Plaintiff marched
to the prison chapel in this manner, Orange Crush Supervisor
John Doe #1 struck him in the ribs and back multiple times
while yelling at him to “keep the line tight, no gaps
fat ass.” Id.
was lined up with other inmates in the prison chapel where he
was forced to remain standing with his hands single-cuffed in
the back and his head lowered so his chin rested on his
chest. He was made to remain in this “stress
position” for 4 hours, despite the fact that the chapel
contained more than enough chairs for the inmates to be
seated. After the first hour, Plaintiff began to feel
light-headed and dizzy, his heart started beating rapidly and
he had severe neck and back pain. (Doc. 7, pp. 5-6) He began
to lose his balance. Winters responded by striking Plaintiff
on the back with his stick, yanking Plaintiff's cuffs
upward and yelling for Plaintiff to stop moving or he would
be dragged off to segregation. The yanking and beating caused
Plaintiff severe pain. Plaintiff told Winters that he had a
MCP, that the single-cuffing was causing severe pain to his
neck, back and shoulders and that he was dizzy from being in
the standing stress-position for over an hour. Plaintiff
asked to see a nurse. Winters told him to shut up and stand
still or he would go to segregation. (Doc. 7, p. 6).
called out to Butler and Harrington, who were in the chapel
overseeing the operation. Although Plaintiff got their
attention, Butler and Harrington failed to intervene when
Winters “viciously struck” Plaintiff again with
his oak stick. Id.
the April 14, 2014, incident, Plaintiff made several verbal
and written requests for urgent medical care because he
continued to feel dizzy and light-headed. Additionally, his
neck was swollen and his shoulders, back and neck were in
severe pain from the blows and 4 hours of standing in the
April 25, 2014, Walters (nurse) came to Plaintiff's cell
in response to his medical requests. Plaintiff informed her
of his symptoms. Walters said that she was “only there
to do protocol, ” and that Plaintiff would not be
examined until the prison came off level-1 lockdown status.
(Doc. 7, p. 8). Walters checked Plaintiff's blood
pressure which registered high at 150/98. Plaintiff
complained that he was still dizzy, light-headed and
experiencing pain in his back and shoulders, and asked to
speak with a supervisor. Walters yelled that she did not have
to contact Crain (nurse supervisor) or anyone else because
Wexford “follows ‘administrative
decisions'” regarding inmates not being removed
from cells during a level-1 lockdown. Id.
continued to submit requests for urgent medical care. On
April 29, 2014, Walters came back and told Plaintiff to stop
asking to see her because she had already told him he would
not be examined until the level-1 lockdown ended. Plaintiff
reiterated his complaints about the dizziness and pain.
Walters yelled back, “if you ...