United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge
is a federal inmate currently incarcerated at the
FCI-Greenville. In this pro se action, he seeks
relief under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”)
for medical neglect of his serious spinal condition. This
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a
complaint is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to
accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v.
Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual
allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail
to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim.
Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).
Additionally, Courts “should not accept as adequate
abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or
conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same
time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint
are to be liberally construed. See Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011);
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court concludes that this action is
subject to summary dismissal. However, Plaintiff shall be
given an opportunity to comply with the Illinois state law
requirements for medical malpractice actions, if he wishes to
further pursue the dismissed claim.
first sought treatment from Greenville's Health Services
on February 6, 2015, for severe neck and shoulder pain and a
“tingling sensation” and numbness in some fingers
of his right hand. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). At that time, the
symptoms of tingling and numb fingers had been going on for 5
months (since October 2014). Between February 19, 2015, and
July 10, 2015, Plaintiff returned to Health Services 5 more
times seeking treatment for the severe neck and shoulder
pain, which by then included pain in his right arm and right
side, and numbness in his right arm as well as fingers. (Doc.
1, p. 2). The only treatment he received during that period
was ibuprofen for pain, and orders to decrease his exercise.
30, 2015, Plaintiff was given an MRI. This test disclosed
that he had a herniated disc in his neck at ¶ 4-C5, with
narrowing of his spinal canal. By that time, Plaintiff had
been suffering pain from his condition for about 8 months.
(Doc. 1, p. 3).
January 27, 2016, Plaintiff underwent surgery to address the
herniated disc. He notes that as of that date, he had been
suffering extreme pain for 12 months, due to the Greenville
medical staff's delay and neglect in diagnosing/treating
his condition. Id. Plaintiff incorporates into the
Complaint a number of medical notes regarding his diagnosis
and efforts to obtain treatment (Doc. 1, pp. 4-8), and
attaches medical records regarding his surgery and follow-up
treatment (Doc. 1-2, pp. 1-4).
he does not attach copies of any documents relating to his
administrative tort claim, Plaintiff asserts that he did file
such a claim in a timely manner. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9).
seeks monetary relief. (Doc. 1, p. 9; Doc. 1-1, p. 6).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to describe the pro se action in a single
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 designation of this
count does not constitute an opinion as to its merit. Any
other claim that is mentioned in the complaint but not
addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed
Count 1: Medical negligence claim against
the United States of America under the Federal Tort Claims
Act, for the actions of its employees at the FCI-Greenville,
Illinois, who delayed diagnosis and treatment for