United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
JARED M. SMITH, Plaintiff,
KESS ROBERSON and L. HOPP, Defendants
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court for merit review of the
Plaintiff's 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.
a pro se prisoner, claims Warden Kess Roberson and Health
Care Unit Administrator (HCUA) L. Hopp violated his
constitutional rights at the Lincoln Correctional Center.
Plaintiff says Inmate E.C. went to the Health Care Unit on an
unspecified date and was diagnosed with chickenpox. Inmate E.
C. remained in the medical unit for approximately five days
before he was allowed to come back to Plaintiff's housing
unit. Two more inmates were then diagnosed with chickenpox
and the entire housing unit was placed under quarantine.
Hopp told inmates the Illinois Department of Health required
the 21 day quarantine to make sure chickenpox “had run
its course and was no longer a threat or contagious.”
(Comp., p. 5). Warden Roberson also stopped porters from
cleaning the unit and stopped laundry and showers. However,
Plaintiff clarifies his claim is Defendants should not have
allowed Inmate E.C. back in the housing unit in the first
place. Plaintiff says he never contracted chicken pox, but
was “put in danger of possibly doing so.” (Comp.,
p. 6). In response to Plaintiff's grievance, correctional
staff claimed all proper procedures and protocols were
followed. (Comp, p. 8).
to take reasonable measures in the face of a substantial risk
of serious harm violates the Constitution. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 845 (1994); Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 754 (7th Cir. 2011). “For
instance, a prison official who ignores a serious medical
risk, such as deliberately exposing an inmate to a
‘serious communicable disease' even if the inmate
does not contract the disease, may be held liable under the
Eighth Amendment.” Koester v. Unknown Parties,
2016 WL 2851119, at *2 (S.D.Ill. May 16, 2016) quoting
Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 33 (1993). However, to
be liable for a constitutional violation, there must be both
a “substantial risk of serious harm, ” and
officials must have known of and disregarded the
“excessive” risk of harm to the inmate.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832-837; Koester, ,
2016 WL 2851119, at *2.
case, Plaintiff complains of the potential threat of
chickenpox. However, a person infected with chickenpox may
not show any symptoms for 10 to 21 days, and an infected
individual may be contagious for up to 48 hours before a rash
or any other symptoms appear. Therefore, Inmate E.C. could be
contagious before anyone knew he had chickenpox and Inmate E.
C. could spread the disease to other inmates before he
reported his symptoms to the Defendants. The Plaintiff admits
once he was diagnosed with chickenpox, Inmate E.C. was kept
in the Health Unit while he received treatment and he not
returned to his housing unit for approximately five days.
Once the Defendants knew the chickenpox had spread, the unit
was placed under quarantine to try and limit the exposure to
other inmates. Based on the allegations in Plaintiff's
complaint, the Defendants were not deliberately indifferent
to the spread of the virus. In addition, even if Plaintiff
had articulated a constitutional violation, he has not
alleged any damages. Plaintiff did not contract chickenpox,
he no longer faces a threat of chickenpox, and he is no
longer incarcerated at Lincoln Correctional Center.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. 12(b)(6)
and 28 U.S.C. Section 1915A. This case is closed. All pending
motions are denied as moot. [6, status].
This dismissal shall count as one of the Plaintiff's
three allotted strikes pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g).
The clerk of the court is directed to record the
Plaintiff's strike in the three-strike log.
If the Plaintiff wishes to appeal this dismissal, he may file
a notice of appeal with this court within 30 days of the
entry of judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). A motion for leave
to appeal in forma pauperis MUST set forth the
issues the Plaintiff plans to present on appeal. See
Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(1)(C). If the Plaintiff does choose to
appeal, he will be liable for the $505 appellate filing fee
irrespective of the outcome of the appeal.
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