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Carter v. Melvin

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

September 15, 2017

JONATHAN CARTER, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL MELVIN, et al. Defendants

          MERIT REVIEW ORDER

          HAROLD A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is before the court for a merit review of the plaintiff's amended complaint. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to “screen” the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

         In reviewing the amended complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted).

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”). He alleges in his amended complaint that Defendants Tilden, Hansen, and Ojelade, all physicians or physician's assistants, prescribed him medication that was not effective and refused additional diagnostic testing for a stomach infection. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants Chicke, Klellesuik, Caldwell, and Cynthia W., all nurses, denied him medical treatment in some way, but he provides little detail concerning these events. Finally, plaintiff alleges generally that several correctional officers housed him in unconstitutional conditions.

         Plaintiff states a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Defendants Tilden, Hansen, and Ojelaide. See Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 729 (7th Cir. 2016). Plaintiff's allegations against the defendant nurses and other medical professionals do not provide enough information for the Court to determine if plaintiff states a constitutional claim. The defendant nurses will be dismissed without prejudice to amendment.

         Plaintiff's allegations against the correctional officers are also too conclusory for the Court to find that plaintiff states a constitutional claim. In addition, these claims must be brought in a separate lawsuit. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (“Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits.”); Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017) (“[D]istrict courts should not allow inmates to flout the rules for joining claims and defendants…or to circumvent the Prison Litigation Reform Act's fee requirements by combining multiple lawsuits into a single complaint.”). Therefore, these claims will be dismissed.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

         1) Plaintiff's motion to amend complaint (#15) is granted. Clerk is directed to docket the amended complaint attached to plaintiff's motion.

         2) Pursuant to its merit review of the amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiff states an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Defendants Tilden, Hansen, and Ojelaide. All remaining Defendants are dismissed. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at the court's discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

         3) This case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. The plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the court.

         4) The court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After the defendants have been served, the court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.

         5) With respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the clerk said defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the clerk.

         6) The defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date the waiver is sent by the clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated in this opinion. In general, an answer sets forth the defendants' positions. The court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless and until a motion is filed by the defendants. Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or will be considered.

         7) This district uses electronic filing, which means that, after defense counsel has filed an appearance, defense counsel will automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or other paper filed by the plaintiff with the clerk. The plaintiff does not need to mail to defense counsel copies of motions and other papers that the plaintiff has filed with the clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed with the clerk. The plaintiff must mail his discovery requests and responses directly to defendants' counsel. Discovery requests or responses sent to the clerk will be returned unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject of ...


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