United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge
before the Court for consideration is the First Amended
Complaint (Doc. 9) filed by Plaintiff Ronnie Parnell, an
inmate who is currently incarcerated in Pinckneyville
Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff
filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 in order to address constitutional violations that
occurred at Lawrence Correctional Center
(“Lawrence”) and Pinckneyville.
original Complaint did not survive screening and was
dismissed without prejudice on February 15, 2017. (Doc. 8).
Plaintiff was granted leave to re-plead his claims, and he
timely filed a First Amended Complaint on March 1, 2017.
(Doc. 9). The First Amended Complaint is now before the Court
for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(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.
part of screening, the Court is allowed to sever unrelated
claims against different defendants into separate lawsuits.
See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
2007). Severance is important, “not only to prevent the
sort of morass” produced by multi-claim,
multi-defendant suits “but also to ensure that
prisoners pay the required filing fees” under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act. Id. In this action,
Plaintiff's claims pertaining to events occurring at
Lawrence are unrelated to his claims that arose at
Pinckneyville. Therefore, consistent with George,
these claims will be severed into new case, given a new case
number, and assessed a separate filing fee.
First Amended Complaint
2011, while incarcerated at Lawrence, Plaintiff injured his
hip during a game of handball. (Doc. 9, p. 6). He was
examined by John Doe 1, a physician employed by Wexford.
Id. John Doe 1 misdiagnosed Plaintiff as suffering
from arthritis. (Doc. 9, pp. 6-7). From 2011 through 2012,
Plaintiff was re-examined by John Doe 1 every two weeks.
(Doc. 9, p. 7). During these examinations, John Doe 1 failed
to identify his mistaken diagnosis and continued to opine
that Plaintiff was suffering from arthritis. Id. The
misdiagnosis resulted in pain and suffering, as well as the
loss of bone. ((Doc. 9, p. 8); see also (Doc. 9-1,
pp. 1-2, indicating that Plaintiff is in severe pain and in a
grievance attached to the First Amended Complaint suggests
that, as of April 2012, Plaintiff had been seen by outside
physicians at the University of Illinois and “the
University of St. Louis.” (Doc. 9-1, pp. 1-2). The
grievance indicates that Plaintiff was suffering from an
infection and at risk of needing a hip replacement.
December 2012, Plaintiff was examined by an outside physician
at a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. (Doc. 9, p. 7). That
physician conducted an examination and performed a biopsy.
Id. The examination and biopsy revealed that
Plaintiff was suffering from a festering infection causing
hip deterioration and not arthritis. Id. On January
3, 2013, Plaintiff underwent hip replacement surgery.
Id. After completing surgery, Plaintiff was
instructed regarding the importance of exercise. Id.
about February 15, 2013, an unidentified male physician
provided Plaintiff with a medical permit, authorizing him to
use a cane indefinitely. Id. The physician also
prescribed physical therapy. (Doc. 9, p. 8). On or about
March 2, 2013, Plaintiff attended a physical therapy session
with an unidentified female physical therapist. Id.
considered filing a lawsuit regarding his hip injury and
initial misdiagnosis. Id. On October 25, 2014,
Plaintiff asked John Doe 2 for information about filing a
grievance and civil suit pertaining to the misdiagnosis.
Id. John Doe 2 told Plaintiff that if he filed a
grievance or pursued a civil action, he would be punished
with the loss of good-time credit. Id. As a result
of this threat, Plaintiff did not file a grievance or pursue
a civil action until now. Id. Plaintiff further
contends that the conduct of John Doe 2 amounts to
discrimination because John Doe 2 is white and Plaintiff is
black and that his interaction with John Doe 2 somehow led to
Plaintiff being transferred to Pinckneyville. Id.
February 2015, Plaintiff was transferred to Pinckneyville.
Id. He was housed in the segregation unit in a cell
with a healthy inmate. Id. Chapman was responsible
for Plaintiff's cell placement. Id. From
February 2015 through April 2015, Scott, Jane Does 1 through
3, Chapman, and Pierce interfered with Plaintiff's
ordered medical treatment, including access to patient
education and physical therapy. (Doc. 9, p. 9). These
Defendants also exposed Plaintiff to “an ongoing
unnecessary risk to future serious physical and mental harm
from [Plaintiff's healthy cellmate].” Id.
April or May 2015, Plaintiff spoke with Landi, a counselor at
Pinckneyville, and sought information pertaining to filing a
grievance and lawsuit. Id. Landi threatened
Plaintiff. Id. Landi indicated that if Plaintiff
filed a grievance or pursued a lawsuit, he would be
“treated like a trouble-maker living a disadvantaged
life without commissary, law library, and therapy or disabled
recreation in gym.” Id. From April 2015 to the
present, all of Plaintiff's requests for grievance slips
and to visit the law library have been ignored. Also, with
one exception in February 2017, Plaintiff's requests for
physical therapy have been ignored. Id.
April 12, 2016, Smith (a correctional officer), Peek (a
nurse), and Jane Doe 4 (a nurse) confiscated Plaintiff's
cane, interfering with a prescribed course of treatment.
(Doc. 9, p. 10). On April 25, 2016, Plaintiff fell in the
shower and injured his finger. Id. Plaintiff
contends he fell because his cane had been confiscated.
October 2016, Plaintiff was reassigned from housing unit 2D
to housing unit 3A, cell 64. Id. The newly assigned
cell was the last cell down a long gallery on the second
floor. Id. Plaintiff complained to Dudek, a
correctional officer, about his hip replacement. Id.
Dudek disregarded Plaintiff's complaint and ordered
Plaintiff to carry his own mattress, a heavy property box,
and a fan up the stairs to his new cell. Id.
Additionally, Dudek directed Plaintiff to take the top bunk.
Id. After two days, Plaintiff was transferred to a
new cell (described as “house one A36”).
Id. Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding this
incident on October 29, 2016. (Doc. 9-1, pp. 3-4).
Pertaining to Wexford, Hodges, Lashbrook, and
11 of the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff includes a
paragraph that directs generic and conclusory allegations
against Hodges (former warden of Lawrence), Lashbrook (former
warden of Pinckneyville), Love (assistant warden at
Pinckneyville) (collectively the “Supervisory
Defendants”), and Wexford (a private corporation
contracted to run the healthcare unit at Lawrence and
Pinckneyville). Plaintiff generally alleges that these
Defendants are subject to liability for (1) failing to
implement a policy that would prevent unconstitutional
behavior on the part of medical staff; (2) supervising
employees who mishandled and/or ignored Plaintiff's
medical records and grievances; and (3) failing to intervene
in Plaintiff's unconstitutional treatment.
seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 9, p. 13). Plaintiff also
indicates that he is seeking, without further explanation,
“injunction & nominal & declaratory
relief.” Id. The Court construes the latter as
a request for injunctive relief at the close of the case and
as being related to the claims that arose at Pinckneyville,
where Plaintiff is currently incarcerated. The Court notes,
however, that it is unclear precisely what Plaintiff is
requesting with respect to his request for injunctive relief.
facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in
this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it
appropriate to organize the claims in Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint into the following counts. The parties and
the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings
and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer
of this Court. Any other claim that is mentioned in the First
Amended Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled
under the Twombly pleading standard.
Count 1 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against John Doe 1 for his treatment of
Plaintiff's hip injury.
Count 2 - First and/or Fourteenth Amendment
access to the courts claim against John Doe 2.
Count 3 - First Amendment prior restraint
claim against John Doe 2
Count 4 - Fourteenth Amendment equal
protection claim against John Doe 2.
Count 5 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Scott, Jane Does 1 through 3,
Chapman, and Pierce for denying Plaintiff access to a
physical therapist and patient education, contrary to
existing medical orders, between February 2015 and April 2015
Count 6 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Scott, Jane Does 1 through 3,
Chapman, and Pierce for exposing Plaintiff to an ongoing risk
of future physical and mental harm from Plaintiff's
healthy cellmate between February 2015 and April 2015.
Count 7 - First Amendment retaliation claim
Count 8 - First and/or Fourteenth Amendment
access to the court's claim against Landi.
Count 9 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Smith, Peek, and Jane Doe 4 for
confiscating Plaintiff's ...