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Johnson v. Mills

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 7, 2017

LUSTA JOHNSON, #46356-424, Plaintiff,
v.
ELIZABETH MILLS, K. SCHNEIDER, DOUGLAS KRUSE, J. JOLLIFF, and PAUL KELLEY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

         This matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the First Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Lusta Johnson. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution located in Milan, Michigan (“FCI-Milan”). He brings this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims that he was denied treatment for multiple left foot fractures by medical providers at the Federal Correctional Institution located in Greenville, Illinois (“FCI-Greenville”). (Doc. 14, pp. 6-8). These individuals include Elizabeth Mills (physician's assistant), K. Schneider (physician's assistant), Douglas Kruse (doctor), J. Jolliff (nurse), and Paul Kelley (nurse). Plaintiff claims that all five providers exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 14, p. 9). He seeks monetary damages against them. Id.

         This case is now before the Court for 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). The First Amended Complaint survives screening under this standard.

         First Amended Complaint

         On October 2, 2014, Plaintiff alleges that he met with personnel in FCI-Greenville's Health Services Unit (“HSU”) to discuss his complaints of a sore and swollen left foot. (Doc. 14, p. 6). Following a negative finding on a radiology report dated November 11, 2014, Plaintiff was informed that his foot was not fractured. Id. For more than a year, he registered “continuous complaints of pain and discomfort” with the following HSU employees: K. Schneider (PA-C), Elizabeth Mills (PA-C), Douglas Kruse (doctor), J. Jollieff[1] (nurse), and Paul Kelley (nurse). Id. Between April and October 2015, he also complained of swelling. Id.

         A radiology report dated October 7, 2015, revealed “abnormal” findings with “subacute fractures to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsals and a halix valgus 41 degrees and swelling of the forefoot.” (Doc. 14, p. 6). Plaintiff met with P.A. Mills to review the report on October 8, 2015. Id. When she told him about the multiple left foot fractures, Plaintiff asked Mills if he had “been walking around one year with a fracture[d] foot.” Id. She confirmed that he had. Id. She said that she “missed” the fractures on the original x-ray. Id. P.A. Mills then gave Plaintiff a walking boot until he could be seen by a podiatrist. Id.

         Plaintiff met with Doctor Adamovsky on November 19, 2015. (Doc. 14, p. 7). The doctor placed his foot in a fiberglass cast. Id. He was placed in a second fiberglass cast at Feet First Podiatry on December 17, 2015. Id. He was also issued crutches at FCI-Greenville on January 7, 2016. Id. After noting that his foot appeared to be healing well, Doctor Adamovsky removed his cast and issued him a walker boot sometime thereafter. Id. On March 15, 2016, Plaintiff requested a follow-up x-ray and assessment. Id.

         Before receiving either, he transferred to FCI-Milan. (Doc. 14, p. 7). On April 27, 2016, he underwent a health screening at the new facility. Id. He requested further treatment in a sick call request on May 6, 2016. Id. Plaintiff was assessed for foot and ankle pain and prescribed Amitriptyline (10mg) for pain. Id. An x-ray was also taken of his left foot. Id. He received the results on May 17, 2016. Id. The x-ray report indicated that the second, third, fourth, and fifth metatarsals showed deformity from an old fracture. Id. To date, he has not met with a podiatrist for further evaluation of his left foot. Id.

         Plaintiff requested a sick call visit on July 8, 2016, after complaining of extreme pain, burning, and numbness in his left foot. (Doc. 14, p. 8). Doctor Wilson examined him and prescribed him nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. Id. He returned on August 31, 2016, after eight months without a follow-up visit with the podiatrist. Id. Plaintiff was informed that his fractures were healed, and no further treatment was necessary. Id. Even so, he was prescribed more nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Id. When Plaintiff again ...


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