United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
HENRY L. TOWNES, B05916 Plaintiff,
ALFONSO DAVID, TAMMIE PITTAYATHIKHAN, KAREN SMOOT, MELISSA PHOENIX, and JEFFREY DENNISON, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan Chief Judge
Henry L. Townes, currently incarcerated in Shawnee
Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), brings this
pro se action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. According to the
Complaint, Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to a
serious risk to Plaintiff's health. Specifically,
Plaintiff contends he suffers from type 1 diabetes, sleeping
disorders, and has a documented history of falling out of
bed. According to Plaintiff, upon being transferred to
Shawnee, he repeatedly informed various officials about his
medical conditions and the risk of assigning Plaintiff to a
top bunk. Plaintiff's complaints were disregarded and, in
January 2017, Plaintiff fell out of the top bunk. The fall
caused Plaintiff to break his wrist and required emergency
surgery. Plaintiff further contends that he is currently
being denied physical therapy for his broken wrist.
connection with his claims, Plaintiff names David Alfonso,
the medical director, Tammi Pittayathikhan, a nurse
practitioner, Karen Smoot, a healthcare administrator,
Melissa Phoenix, a member of the administrator review board,
and Jeffery Dennison, Shawnee's warden. Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages and injunctive relief.
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
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.
December 8, 2016, Plaintiff, a 58 year-old with type 1
diabetes, sleep disorders, and a history of falling out of
bed, was transferred to Shawnee. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Because
of his preexisting medical conditions, Plaintiff had a low
bunk permit at the transferor prison. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Plaintiff was not contacted or examined by medical staff when
he arrived at Shawnee. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff relayed his
medical conditions to security personnel and requested a
bottom bunk. Id. Nonetheless, Plaintiff was assigned
to a top bunk. Id.
wrote to David, the medical director, informing him of the
following: (1) he is 58 years old; (2) he is a type 1
diabetic; (3) he has sleep disorders; (4) he has a history of
falling out of bed; (5) he had a bottom bunk permit prior to
being transferred to Shawnee; and (6) he was assigned to a
top bunk at Shawnee. Id. Plaintiff urged David to
review his medical records. Id. Several weeks passed
without contact from medical staff and without a response
from David. Id. On or around January 10, 2017,
Plaintiff wrote a second letter, this time to David and
Pittayathikan, a nurse practitioner. Id. The letter
relayed Plaintiff's concerns regarding his medical
condition and being assigned to the top bunk. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Plaintiff also indicated that he had not seen medical staff
since his arrival at Shawnee. Id.
January 15, 2017, Plaintiff wrote Smoot, the healthcare
administrator, regarding his preexisting conditions and his
concern about being assigned to a top bunk. (Doc. 1, pp. 6,
12). Plaintiff also indicated that he had not been seen by
any medical personnel since his arrival at Shawnee.
Id. Smoot did not respond. Id.
about January 17, 2017, Plaintiff submitted an emergency
grievance to Dennison, the warden, informing him of the top
bunk assignment, Plaintiff's medical history, and the
fact that Plaintiff had not been seen by medical staff since
his arrival. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 8, 13). Plaintiff requested a
low gallery, low bunk and slow walking permit. Id.
Dennison did not respond. Id.
about January 18, 2017, Plaintiff was seen by Pittayathikhan.
(Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff informed her that he was a diabetic
with sleeping disorders, he had a history of falling out of
bed, and he had a bottom bunk permit at Vienna. Id.
Pittayathikhan indicated she did not have authority to issue
a bottom bunk permit. Id. Plaintiff contends that
was a lie because Pittayathikhan previously issued a bottom
bunk permit to his cellmate. Id.
January 26, 2017, while sleeping, Plaintiff fell out of the
top bunk and broke his wrist. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-9).
Plaintiff's wrist required emergency surgery and
insertion of a metal plate and screws. (Doc. 1, pp. 9, 14).