United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JAMES T. RICHARDSON, # Y-21562, Plaintiff,
WHITE COUNTY JAIL, RANDY COBB, OFFICER KALEENA, DEPUTY McKENZIE, and DEPUTY STOKES, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge
currently incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center
(“Graham”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His
claims arose while he was detained at the White County Jail
(“the Jail”). Plaintiff claims that Defendants
were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical
conditions, and that he was subjected to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement. 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 finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
was in custody at the White County Jail during April and May
2017, until he was transferred to Graham on May 10, 2017.
(Doc. 1, pp. 6-11). When Plaintiff was booked into the Jail,
he advised the booking officer that he takes anti-epileptic
prescription medication (Gabapentin 800 mg, 4 times daily) to
control seizures. (Doc. 1, p. 8). The officer said this
information would be relayed to the Jail's medical
office. However, Plaintiff did not receive his seizure
medication for the next 5 days. Plaintiff notes that he had
previously been in custody in the White County Jail in 2015,
and was prescribed the same 800 mg dosage of Gabapentin at
that time. Medical Officer Kaleena was the medical officer
during Plaintiff's 2015 custody, and was still in that
position during Plaintiff's 2017 stay at the Jail. (Doc.
1, p. 12).
5th day without medication, Plaintiff suffered a
seizure that caused him to urinate on himself and on his
bedding. He notified Jail staff (whom he does not identify by
name), but they took an hour and a half to respond with clean
clothes. Plaintiff still received no seizure medication and
did not see a medical provider. Plaintiff submitted
approximately 6 medical requests between April 21 and April
27, 2017, but never received a response. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
8th day without medication, Plaintiff had another
seizure while he was in cell #4. When he “came
back” from this seizure, his cellmates warned him not
to move, and Plaintiff immediately felt intense pain in his
right hand. Id. Plaintiff notified Deputies McKenzie
and Stokes that his hand appeared swollen, he was in intense
pain, and the bone appeared to be broken. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
McKenzie and Stokes took Plaintiff to a medical observation
room, where Plaintiff told Medical Officer Kaleena about his
hand injury and pain. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Kaleena gave him an 800
mg dose of Gabapentin, but gave him no medication for the
pain. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 9). Plaintiff tried to get her to treat
his hand and asked to see a doctor, but Kaleena said,
“Unless it's a life threatening emergency the Jail
wasn't required to treat [him].” (Doc. 1, p. 9).
was then placed into a cell that contained nothing but a mat,
and was contaminated with urine and feces on the toilet and
floor. Plaintiff asked McKenzie and Stokes to have the cell
cleaned, but they told him to lie down and shut up. Plaintiff
asked another officer for pain medication. That unidentified
officer gave Plaintiff ice, but did not provide medication
for the pain.
asked McKenzie and Stokes for a grievance. McKenzie
responded, “We don't do grievances here.”
(Doc. 1, p. 10). When Plaintiff asked to speak to the jailer
or sergeant, McKenzie told him, “If you don't want
something worse than a broke[n] hand, you better lay the f**k
down and shut up.” Id. Plaintiff complied.
Later, Plaintiff obtained a medical request form, which he
submitted to seek treatment for his injured hand.
next day, Plaintiff still had received no medication for the
pain. Kaleena called him out of the cell and returned him to
his previous cell (#4) in general population. She apologized
for the events of the previous day and told him he was
scheduled for his hand to be examined. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
However, Plaintiff was never taken to see another medical
provider, and he received no pain medication for his hand
over the next 7 days. (Doc. 1, p. 11). He did receive his
regular seizure medications during that time.
8th day after his injury (May 10, 2017), Plaintiff
was transferred to Graham, and he showed his injured hand to
officials there. Graham officials prescribed ibuprofen and an
ace bandage for Plaintiff, and an x-ray showed the hand was
fractured. (Doc. 1, pp. 13-14). Plaintiff later saw an
orthopedic specialist and learned that the bone had healed
but was “crooked.” (Doc. 1, p. 11). He claims
that his hand is disfigured and will have to be re-broken so
that it can be reset. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
adds that during April 2017, Jailer Randy Cobb
“disregarded” Plaintiff's health by smoking
inside the Jail, with no ventilation other than an open door.
(Doc. 1, p. 7). On several occasions, Plaintiff had to
“walk through a cloud of smoke to move through the
seeks monetary damages for his pain and suffering, and to
cover future medical bills stemming from the hand injury.
(Doc. 1, p. 15).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following counts. The parties and the Court will use
these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Medical Officer Kaleena was
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs for
his seizure disorder, by failing to give Plaintiff his
prescribed anti-seizure medication for at least 8 days after
Plaintiff entered the White County Jail;
Count 2: Kaleena was deliberately
indifferent to Plaintiff's serious hand injury, when she
refused to treat Plaintiff's hand or provide him with any
pain medication, and failed to refer him to a doctor or nurse
for further examination of the injury;
Count 3: McKenzie and Stokes were
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's severe pain from
his hand injury, when they failed to respond to
Plaintiff's requests for pain medication after he was
placed in the single cell;
Count 4: McKenzie and Stokes housed
Plaintiff under unconstitutional conditions when they failed
to remedy the contamination with human waste ...