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Craig v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 2, 2017

DRERAN CRAIG, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Dreran Craig, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests injunctive relief and damages. 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 exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that he has been incarcerated in unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Specifically, he alleges that Menard Correctional Center is old and run down. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff has been housed in a cell that was designed to house only 1 person, but due to overcrowding at Menard, 2 inmates are sharing the cell. (Doc. 1, p. 6, 17). Only 1 inmate can be on the floor in these cells at a time, meaning the other inmate must remain on their bunk. Id. Plaintiff has been unable to exercise in his cell. Id. As a result of the lack of exercise, Plaintiff's back and knees hurt. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7, 17). Additionally, there is no ladder to the top bunk, and jumping off the top bunk also puts strain on Plaintiff's back and knees. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff does not always get his hour of daily mandated exercise outside the cell. Id. In addition to the pain in his back and knees, Plaintiff believes the cell condition also causes headaches and depression. Id. Despite his back and knee pain, Plaintiff has never been called to sick call to address these issues. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff alleges that he attempted to raise the issue of his back and knee pain during a visit to health care, but was told that the health care staff would only address a single issue per visit. (Doc. 1, p. 18).

         Menard also lacks an adequate ventilation system, which causes Plaintiff's cell to be cold in the winter and hot in the summer. (Doc. 1, p. 8). There are cracks and holes in the ceiling and walls that allow cold drafts in the cell block. Id. One of the cracks is right by the shower area, subjecting Plaintiff to cold temperatures when he's wet. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that he is not given adequate cleaning supplies for his cell. Id. He also believes the inmates' shower is not being thoroughly cleaned. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff also objects to the fact that laundry only happens once a week. Id. When another inmate flushes his toilet, the waste pops up in Plaintiff's toilet. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Sometimes the water coming out of his sink smells like sewage. Id. Plaintiff believes all of these conditions are unnecessarily exposing him to germs and illnesses and believe he may have gotten a rash from these conditions. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-10).

         The light in Plaintiff's cell is also very dim. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff has begun experiencing blurred and diminished vision, which he attributes to the bad lighting. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Plaintiff has submitted 7 request slips to see the eye doctor, but has been told that there is only 1 eye doctor for 3, 700 inmates. Id. Plaintiff has been placed on a waiting list; at the time of his complaint, he had been waiting more than 6 months without being seen. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Wexford Health Sources, Inc., has a policy of understaffing prison medical positions in order to save money, despite knowing that this causes inmates to suffer. (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12). Plaintiff specifically alleges that Trost and Walls are responsible for hiring the “right” number of staff. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13, 18). Plaintiff also alleges that the medical staff's policy of only addressing a single medical issue at a time has delayed health care for his eye sight. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff also alleges that Wexford has a policy of refusing to send inmates out to a specialist for treatment due to cost concerns. (Doc. 1, p. 13). He specifically alleges that this policy prevented him from receiving needed medical care for a rash he developed. Id. As a result of this policy, John Doe #1 and Baldwin are not fulfilling their duty to inmates to provide them with the basic necessities of life. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Doe and Baldwin are aware of Wexford's unconstitutional policies and turn a blind eye. (Doc. 1, p. 15). They are also failing to supervise the staff in charge of medical care. Id.

         Plaintiff further alleges that Trost and Walls are responsible for hearing inmate complaints regarding medical care, but regularly fail to address such complaints. (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         Plaintiff attached a number of grievances and kites to his Complaint. Most of them address the rash on his leg. (Doc. 1, pp. 21-32). The last grievance attached to the Complaint addresses ...

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