United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this case pro se from his incarceration in the Lincoln
Correctional Center. He has since been released, but the
Court is still required to review the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This section requires the Court to
identify cognizable claims stated by the Complaint or dismiss
claims that are not cognizable. In reviewing the complaint, the
Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally
construing them in Plaintiff's favor and taking
Plaintiff's pro se status into account. Turley v.
Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013).
However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient.
Enough facts must be provided to "'state a claim for
relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted).
alleges that he was denied and delayed his prescription for
Gabapentin, which had been prescribed to Plaintiff outside
the IDOC to treat Plaintiff's severe pain from
degenerative disc disease and arthritis. Without the
prescription, Plaintiff suffered “severe needle-like
stabbing pain” and “severe pain from his neck
down to his leg on the right side of the body.” (Compl.
allegations state a plausible Eighth Amendment claim for
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs. However, only the medical professionals with the
authority to prescribe or approve that medicine could bear
personally responsibility for the delay or denial. The fact
that Plaintiff told all 25 Defendants about the problem does
not allow an inference that all 25 Defendants were personally
responsible for the delay or denial. The non-medical
Defendants are entitled to rely on the professional judgment
of the treating doctors and nurses, and denying a grievance
is not enough to confer liability. Greeno v. Daley,
414 F.3d 645, 656 (7th Cir. 2005)(“‘If a prisoner
is under the care of medical experts... a nonmedical prison
official will generally be justified in believing that the
prisoner is in capable hands.'”)(quoted cite
omitted); George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609-10 (7th
Cir. 2007) (“Only persons who cause or participate in
the violations are responsible. Ruling against a prisoner on
an administrative complaint does not cause or contribute to
the violation.”); Soderbeck v. Burnett County,
752 F.2d 285, 293 (7th Cir. 1985)(“Failure to take
corrective action cannot in and of itself violate section
1983. Otherwise the action of an inferior officer would
automatically be attributed up the line to his highest
superior . . . .”). Similarly, Plaintiff's
allegations that he told nurses about the problem during
medicine line does not allow a plausible inference that those
nurses had the ability to override the doctor's decision
or speed up the approval process.
Plaintiff's current allegations, Plaintiff states a
plausible Eighth Amendment claim against Plaintiff's
treating doctors (Dr. Elazegui and Dr. Kotteman), the sick
call nurses (Jane Doe #23 and Nurse Batterton), the health
care administrator (Lisa Hopp), and Wexford Health Sources,
Inc. The other Defendants will be dismissed without prejudice
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states an Eighth
Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs against the following Defendants: Dr. Elazegui,
Dr. Kotteman, Jane Doe #23, Nurse Batterton, Lisa Hopp, and
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. This case proceeds solely on the
claims identified in this paragraph. Any additional claims
shall not be included in the case, except at the Court's
discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is advised
to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before
filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice and an
opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before
Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will
generally be denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit
any evidence to the Court at this time, unless otherwise
directed by the Court.
Court will attempt service on Defendants by mailing each
Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days from
the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If Defendants
have not filed Answers or appeared through counsel within 90
days of the entry of this order, Plaintiff may file a motion
requesting the status of service. After Defendants have been
served, the Court will enter an order setting discovery and
dispositive motion deadlines.
respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the address
provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that Defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said
Defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
Defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be
used only for effectuating service. Documentation of
forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and
shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by
Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date
the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not
an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate
under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings
shall be to the issues and claims stated in this Opinion. In
general, an answer sets forth Defendants' positions. The
Court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless
and until a motion is filed by Defendants. Therefore, no
response to the answer is necessary or will be considered.
District uses electronic filing, which means that, after
Defense counsel has filed an appearance, Defense counsel will
automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or
other paper filed by Plaintiff with the Clerk. Plaintiff does
not need to mail to Defense counsel copies of motions and
other papers that Plaintiff has filed with the Clerk.
However, this does not apply to discovery requests and
responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed
with the Clerk. Plaintiff must mail his discovery requests
and responses directly to Defendants' counsel. Discovery
requests or responses sent to the Clerk will be returned
unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject of a
motion to compel. Discovery does not begin until Defense
counsel has filed an appearance and the Court has entered a
scheduling order, which will explain the discovery process in
Counsel for Defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
Plaintiff at his place of confinement, if Plaintiff is
confined at the time of his deposition. Counsel for
Defendants shall arrange the time for the deposition.
Plaintiff shall immediately notify the Court, in writing, of
any change in his mailing address and telephone number.
Plaintiff's failure to notify the Court of a change in
mailing address or phone ...