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Smith v. Santos

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 25, 2017

KEVIN J. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
VENERIO SANTOS and LISA KREBS Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert, U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Kevin J. Smith, an inmate in Centralia Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and fees. 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff originally brought suit in the Central District of Illinois on January 31, 2017. (Doc. 1) (Doc. 2). After Judge Harold A. Baker conducted a merits review of that claim, he determined that some claims, specifically the claims arising out of Plaintiff's time at Centralia Correctional Center, were more properly brought in this judicial district, where Centralia is located. (Doc. 2). The Central District retained claims arising out of Plaintiff's arrest and detention in a local jail, and those claims do not proceed in this action. (Doc. 2).

         As to the claims arising out of Plaintiff's time at Centralia, Plaintiff has alleged that his right shoulder had been replaced in a surgery on February 4, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Plaintiff's shoulder was re-injured during his arrest on April 1, 2016, and the jail declined to treat Plaintiff's condition because his placement in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) was imminent. (Doc. 1, pp. 17-18). However, the Knox County Jail doctor opined that Plaintiff's bicep had been torn and that he needed an MRI. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Once Plaintiff arrived at Centralia, Dr. Santos examined his arm, but provided no treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 18-19). As a result of the lack of treatment, Plaintiff has experienced pain and suffering. (Doc. 1, p. 19). A grievance attached to the Complaint states that other doctors have told Plaintiff that he needs an MRI and possibly surgery, but that when Santos examined his arm, he told Plaintiff he just needed to exercise. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16).

         Plaintiff filed a grievance on this issue on September 29, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 15). The grievance officer response indicates that Lisa Krebs was contacted and advised that Plaintiff was being evaluated. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff also wrote a letter to Krebs about his bicep. (Doc. 1, p. 19). Krebs wrote back and told Plaintiff that she would have him rescheduled to be reevaluated. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Krebs never actually rescheduled him. Id.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 1 count. The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The following claim survives threshold review:

Count 1 - Santos and Krebs were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical need when they failed to take action to treat and evaluate his torn bicep ...

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