United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
SCOTT A. MEDFORD, Plaintiff,
PHILLIP A. MCLAURIN, R. SMITH, ST. CLAIR COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER, UNKNOWN PARTY, and ST. CLAIR COUNTY MEDICAL STAFF, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Gilbert, U.S. District Judge.
Scott Medford, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center, brings this pro se
action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that occurred at St. Clair County
Jail (“Jail”). (Doc. 15). In connection with
these claims, Plaintiff names four known defendants and one
unknown defendant. Plaintiff requests monetary compensation
and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 9). This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the Second
Amended Complaint (Doc. 15) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to promptly
screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious
claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to
dismiss any portion of the Second Amended 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). 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.
part of screening, the Court is also allowed to sever
unrelated claims against different defendants into separate
lawsuits. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607
(7th Cir. 2007). In George, the Seventh Circuit
emphasized that the practice of severance is important,
“not only to prevent the sort of morass” produced
by multi-claim, multi-defendant suits “but also to
ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees”
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Id. This
practice is encouraged. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
has recently warned district courts not to allow inmates
“to flout the rules for joining claims and defendants,
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 18, 20, or to circumvent the
Prison Litigation Reform Act's fee requirements by
combining multiple lawsuits into a single complaint.”
Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017).
See also Wheeler v. Talbot, -- F. App'x --, 2017
WL 2417889 (7th Cir. 2017) (district court should have
severed unrelated and improperly joined claims or dismissed
one of them). Consistent with George,
Owens, and Wheeler, unrelated claims will
be severed into new cases, given new case numbers, and
assessed separate filing fees.
Second Amended Complaint
Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 15), Plaintiff makes the
following allegations related to the grievance procedure,
various conditions of confinement at the Jail, the
mistreatment of his medical issues, and violations of his
First Amendment rights.
February 2, 2017, there was a boil order in effect for St.
Clair County. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff was notified of the
boil order at 9:00am that morning. Id. At that
point, he requested water from Nurse Barbara. Id.
C.O. Smith then told the inmates, including Plaintiff, that
the water was safe to drink, but after Plaintiff drank the
water, the news informed him that the boil order remained in
effect. Id. C.O. Green then came on the intercom and
told inmates not to drink the water. Id. Fresh water
was brought to Plaintiff's cell block at 11:00am.
Id. Plaintiff felt sick to his stomach, had stomach
pains, and had a headache after drinking the water.
Id. He put in a sick call, but has not been seen by
the nurse and feels neglected by medical staff and C.O.
April 10, 2017, there was another boil order. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
Jail staff did not tell the inmates, and they were allowed to
drink the tainted water. Id. “Medical did not
respond to [Plaintiff's] sick call request.”
Medical Staff Neglect
Jail's “medical staff has neglected to give
[Plaintiff] medication” that he was prescribed in 2010
by Dr. Onmayad prior to his transfer to the Jail. (Doc. 15,
p. 5). Upon his arrival at the Jail, the medical staff did
not properly assess Plaintiff “for mental medical
health until 4 months after [his] arrival.”
Id. Plaintiff submitted multiple captain complaints
and sick calls about medical issues to medical staff
supervisors and administration. Id. He
“constantly” asked nurses for help, but nothing
was done. Id. Lack of mental health medication
causes Plaintiff serious “mental health harm and has
made it unbearable to be incarcerated.” Id.
Further, “St. Clair County administration Phillip
McLaurin is avoiding the grievance procedure by not
acknowledging the captain complaint forms.”
Access to Law Library
was denied access to the law library January 22, 2017 through
April 2, 2017. Id. Staff members are also inadequate
in their assistance of detainees with respect to preparing
meaningful legal documents. Id. Mike Resporra and
C.O. Fordson refuse to get inmates copies, and inmates also
cannot purchase pens at commissary, which makes it difficult
for them to complete legal documents. Id. There is
one computer for 400 inmates, and it “is always
non-working.” Id. There are no books in the
law library, and there is no assistance. Id.
Plaintiff submitted captain complaint forms and received no
response. (Doc. 15, pp. 5-6). Plaintiff saw Sgt. Nichols not
taking the captain complaint forms so that they would not be
addressed. (Doc. 15, p. 6). Denial of law library access for
four consecutive months “deprived [Plaintiff] of the
ability to prepare legal documents and of needed research
[to] prepare for [his] legal cases for court.”
Id. In a grievance attached to Plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims that
“McLaurin is aware” of the library situation.
(Doc. 1, p. 16).
Conditions of Confinement
showers at the Jail have peeling paint on the walls and
ceiling, black mold, slime, and gnats. (Doc. 15, p. 6).
“Because of the water pressure, these objects become
airborne and get in [inmates'] eyes and mouth.”
Id. Plaintiff filled out sick calls and captain
complaint forms but received no response. Id. Dust
particle build-up and mold sit by the vents on the ceiling.
Id. There are no emergency buttons inside the cells.
Id. If any inmate is in danger, there is no help
other than to lock down, which is dangerous. Id. The
ceiling and roof have peeling paint and leaking water.
Id. Plaintiff complained about all of these issues
but never received a response. Id. There is no hot
water in the showers and sink. Id. There are also no
shower curtains. Id. Inmates “continued asking
C.O. Fitz but still no help.” Id. “It
shows negligence from staff.” Id. Inmates,
including Plaintiff, only have one uniform, so during laundry
they cover themselves with blankets because they are not
given underwear. Id.
of food are inadequate, ” as Aramark Food Services is
not regulated. (Doc. 15, p. 7). There is no fruit on trays.
Id. “All issues have been complained in the
form of a captain complaint form but still not
at St. Clair County does not return the captain complaint
form to the inmates.” Id. This “shows
negligence” and that they are “avoiding the
grievance procedure.” Id. Plaintiff has not
been able to address various issues because he does not get
any response to his captain complaint forms, which prevents
him from having a formal grievance hearing. Id. Sgt.
Nichols, Sgt. Cook, and Lt. Penier allow this to occur,
preventing the inmates from exercising their “rights to
grieve.” Id. “Administration is aware
and does nothing about it.” Id.
Access to Courts
March 2017, Plaintiff asked C.O. Everett to sign his in
forma pauperis form in order to further his civil suit.
(Doc. 15, p. 7). Everett denied him and told Plaintiff he
could not help him. Id. “C.O. Everett
display[ed] negligence, boldly talked down to inmates, and
[is] extreme[ly] unresponsive.” Id.
Exposure to Staph Infection
April 26, 2017, “the entire block wrote captain
complaint[s] to administration and supervisor asking that [an
inmate on AB-Block Cell #9] be treated” for a rapidly
spreading staph infection. (Doc. 15, p. 8). The inmate had
complained for a week without being seen by medical.
Id. Sgt. Boujack inspected the inmate and sent him
back to his cell. Id. Sgt. “Boujack is not
medical.” Id. The inmate's huge boils were
later bandaged, and he was given antibiotics. Id. He
was, however, placed back on the block. Id.
“This exposure to staph should not have
occurred.” Id. On May 11, 2017, “they
finally moved [the inmate] to [the] infirmary.”
Id. Plaintiff was “intentionally put in
harmful conditions with no regard for [his] safety.”
mail is being opened at the Jail before the intended
recipient receives it. Id. On May 24, 2017, C.O.
Walt gave Plaintiff open legal mail. Id.
Lack of Training
Lazante is not “educated on how to preserve
life.” Id. An inmate had a seizure, and
Lazante left him on his back while he was seizing.
Id. Another inmate tended to the seizing inmate in
order to prevent him from choking. Id.
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to designate 11 counts in this pro se
action. The parties and the Court will use these designations
in all future pleadings and orders, ...