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Smith v. Singh

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 2, 2017

TROY SMITH, #K88159 Plaintiff,
v.
HARGURMUKH SINGH, J. J. RODOS, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., LISA KREBS, JESSICA KNEBEL, VENERIO SANTOS, and JOHN/JANE DOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          GILBERT, District Judge

         Plaintiff Troy Smith, an inmate in Centralia Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 relating to Plaintiff's alleged overdose on prescribed Lithium. (Doc. 1). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the First Amended 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).

         After careful review of the First Amended Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court will allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The First Amended Complaint

         In his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 15), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Plaintiff has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He met with Defendant Singh for psychotherapy related to his mental health, during which time Singh prescribed him with “high critical levels of Lithium valued at 2.4 (HH), when the average range is 0.6-1.2 mmol/L.” (Doc. 15, p. 3). As he continued to be given toxic levels of Lithium, “his health began to deteriorate and he eventually overdosed, leading him to be transported to an outside hospital.” Id. The medical staff at SSM St. Mary's Hospital “concluded that Plaintiff was being administered high critical levels of Lithium.” Id. Plaintiff's medical condition was exasperated by Singh's negligence, which unnecessarily prolonged his deterioration, “as he suffered memory loss, walked hunched over, lost cognitive skills, constant hand shivering, pain, and an inability to feed himself and read and write.” (Doc. 15, p. 4). Plaintiff still suffers from these symptoms. Id.

         At some point, Plaintiff was assigned to a new psychiatrist, Defendant Rodos. Id. Rodos did not notify the medical staff at Centralia that Plaintiff was being administered high levels of Lithium. Id. Instead, he continued to allow the medical staff to administer Plaintiff critical levels of Lithium as his health deteriorated. Id. Like Singh, Rodos' negligence exasperated Plaintiff's medical condition. Id.

         Defendant Santos was the Medical Director at Centralia during the relevant time. (Doc. 15, p. 5). Plaintiff frequently met with Santos while he was being administered Lithium. Id. “Outside of the obvious side effects of the Lithium, i.e., constant shivering, walking with a lean, loss of cognitive skills, the Plaintiff informed Defendant Santos he was losing his memory and was unable to feed himself.” Id. Despite being notified of these issues, Santos never ordered a blood test, nor did he stop Plaintiff from being administered the Lithium, which could have prevented the overdose. Id. Similar to Singh and Rodos, Stantos' negligence exasperated Plaintiff's medical condition. Id.

         Wexford Medical Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) is contracted by the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) to provide health services to its prisoners. (Doc. 15, p. 6). Defendants Krebs and Knebel are “responsible for discharging its duties.” Id. Krebs is the Health Care Administrator at Centralia and Knebel is the director of nurses. (Doc. 15, p. 2). “Defendants Wexford, Krebs, and Knebel are responsible for the lack of medical/mental health staffing and resources at Centralia C.C., which threatened serious harm to Plaintiff and invited medical error.” (Doc. 15, p. 6). Prior to his overdose, Plaintiff spoke with Krebs and Knebel about his condition and was told to “‘put in for sick call' and see the doctor.” Id. “Krebs and Knebel failed to act in response to Plaintiff's obvious identified deterioration of health, which later led to his overdose.” Id. Though Plaintiff alleges that Wexford, Krebs, and Knebel “maintained an unconstitutional policy or custom that prevented Plaintiff from avoidable harm, ” given the allegations in the First Amended Complaint, it is evident that Plaintiff intended to allege that these defendants maintained a policy that failed to protect Plaintiff from avoidable harm. (Doc. 15, p. 10). Like the other defendants, Wexford, Krebs, and Knebel's negligence exasperated Plaintiff's medical condition. (Doc. 15, p. 7).

         Defendants John/Jane Doe were responsible for administering the high critical levels of Lithium to Plaintiff. Id. “Despite disturbing changes to the Plaintiff's health these defendants continued to administer the medication to him every day, often laughing and mocking the changes in his condition.” Id. None of these defendants expressed concern to their supervisors about ...


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