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Durr v. Larson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 20, 2017

REGINALD DURR, #M-38216, Plaintiff,
v.
DENNIS LARSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This case is now before the Court for consideration of the Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Reginald Durr on September 8, 2017. (Doc. 15). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”). He brings this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims that Dennis Larson, a physician at Big Muddy, failed to properly diagnose and treat his chronic neck pain. (Doc. 15, p. 5). Plaintiff further claims that as a result, he suffered from years of unnecessary pain and eventual paralysis of his left arm and hand. Id. He now seeks monetary relief. (Doc. 15, p. 6).

         The Amended Complaint is subject to preliminary review under 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). The Amended Complaint survives screening under this standard.

         Amended Complaint

         According to the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff met with Doctor Larson to discuss chronic neck pain several times during his incarceration at Big Muddy. (Doc. 15, p. 5). Plaintiff describes years of pain, particularly when rotating his neck. Id. Doctor Larson told Plaintiff that his x-rays showed “no issues.” (Doc. 15, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff thought his neck pain was simply part of the aging process. (Doc. 15, p. 4). He used a hot towel to relieve the pain, but it made no difference. (Doc. 15, p. 5).

         In 2015, Plaintiff asked Doctor Larson to “try something new.” (Doc. 15, p. 5). Instead of x-rays, Plaintiff requested an MRI. Id. The doctor ordered the test, and it revealed “severe issues with [Plaintiff's] cervical spine.” Id. This was not something that x-rays would detect. Id.

         Plaintiff was required to undergo surgery. (Doc. 15, p. 5). The surgeon told Plaintiff that years of pain would have been avoided if Doctor Larson had timely diagnosed and treated the condition. Id. In addition, Plaintiff would have avoided paralysis of his left arm and hand. Id. Plaintiff now seeks monetary relief against Doctor Larson. (Doc. 15, p. 6).

         Discussion

         To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it appropriate to organize the claim in ...


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