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Parnell v. Scott

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 18, 2017

RONNIE PARNELL, #N56008, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. SCOTT, SGT. CHAPMAN, LT. PIERCE, COUNSELOR LANDIS, NURSE PEEK, C/O SMITH, OFFICER DUDEK, LOVE, JANE DOE 1, JANE DOE 2, JANE DOE 3, and JANE DOE 4, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          DAVID R. HERNDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Ronnie Parnell filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights by officials at Pinckneyville and Lawrence Correctional Centers. See Parnell v. Doe, No. 16-cv-1144-NJR (S.D. Ill.) (“original action”). The original Complaint did not survive screening, and Plaintiff was granted leave to amend. (Doc. 8). The First Amended Complaint included unrelated claims against different groups of defendants. (Doc. 11, original action). Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), the Court severed the claims that arose at Pinckneyville into the instant action. (Doc. 11, original action).

         The instant action addresses seven claims (“Counts 5 through 11”) against Pinckneyville officials. (Doc. 1, pp. 18-19). Plaintiff alleges that various prison officials responded to his serious hip injury and related needs with deliberate indifference and then retaliated against him when he attempted to complain about his mistreatment. (Doc. 2). In connection with these claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.[1] (Doc. 4, p. 13).

         Counts 5 through 11 are now subject to preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An 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 any reasonable person would find meritless. 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         First Amended Complaint

         While he was incarcerated at Lawrence, Plaintiff allegedly suffered from an infection in his hip that resulted in bone loss and necessitated hip replacement surgery. (Doc. 4, pp. 6-8). Following surgery in January 2013, Plaintiff was prescribed a cane and physical therapy. (Doc. 4, p. 8). He attended a single physical therapy session on or around March 2, 2013. Id.

         Plaintiff transferred to Pinckneyville sometime in 2015. (Doc. 4, p. 8). Sergeant Chapman placed him in a segregation unit with a healthy inmate. Id. Plaintiff maintains that he was exposed to “an ongoing unnecessary risk to future serious physical and mental harm” because of this placement arrangement. Id.

         From February until April of 2015, Sergeant Chapman, Lieutenant Pierce, Doctor Scott, and Jane Doe ##1-3 allegedly interfered with “widely circulated medical orders and recommendations” for treating inmates with physical injuries or disabilities by denying Plaintiff access to physical therapy, patient education, and proper exercise. (Doc. 4, p. 9).

         In April or May of 2015, Plaintiff asked Counselor Landis for information about preparing and filing a grievance and lawsuit against prison officials. (Doc. 4, p. 9). Counselor Landis discouraged Plaintiff from pursuing either form of relief. Id. The counselor warned Plaintiff that he would continue to be treated like a “trouble maker living a disadvantaged life” without commissary, law library, therapy, or disabled recreation gym, if he complained about staff. Id. All of Plaintiff's subsequent requests for grievances and law library access were ignored or denied. Id. With a single exception, Plaintiff's requests for physical therapy were also ignored. Id.

         On April 12, 2016, Officer Smith, Nurse Peek, and Jane Doe #4 allegedly interfered with his prescribed course of treatment when they confiscated Plaintiff's cane and prevented him from following his doctor's orders to exercise. (Doc. 4, p. 10). Two weeks later, Plaintiff slipped, fell, and injured his finger while showering, and he attributes the injury to the denial of his cane. Id.

         In October 2016, Plaintiff was reassigned to a new housing unit. (Doc. 4, p. 10). His cell was located on the second floor at the end of a long gallery. Id. Plaintiff told Officer Dudek about his hip replacement and complained of ongoing pain. (Doc. 4, pp. 10, 16-17). However, the officer ignored his complaints and ordered Plaintiff to carry his own mattress, property box, and fan up the stairs. Id. He also assigned Plaintiff to a top bunk. Id. Plaintiff was not reassigned to a new cell for two or three days. Id.

         Discussion

         This case focuses on the following seven claims that arose during ...


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