United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon, United States District Judge.
currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
claims that he was subjected to retaliation; was deprived of
clothing, bedding, and necessary hygiene supplies, which
aggravated a serious medical condition; and was denied
medical attention. This case is now before the Court for a
preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 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.
background for his retaliation claim, Plaintiff states that
on March 29, 2015, he filed a grievance alleging that C/O
Brace used excessive force against him. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Two
days later, Brace confronted Plaintiff while escorting him to
the diabetic line, telling Plaintiff that his grievance was
going nowhere and he was wasting his time. Id.
Later, Brace and other officers including Lt. Welborn
verbally mocked Plaintiff. On April 7, 2015, Plaintiff
resubmitted the Brace grievance to his counselor after
learning that she had not received it.
on April 7, 2015, while the prison was on lockdown, Plaintiff
gave his marked laundry bag containing all his clothing and
bedding to Officer Grace (who is not a Defendant) to deliver
to the laundry. The next day, Plaintiff's laundry bag and
contents were not returned to him. Plaintiff's
cellmate's laundry bag had been ripped open and was
missing some items, but all other inmates received their
laundry. Hood (who is not listed among the Defendants)
searched for Plaintiff's laundry but reported it was
lost. Plaintiff asserts that Brace caused the disappearance
of Plaintiff's clothing and bedding in retaliation for
the grievance Plaintiff had filed against him only days
before. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
April 9, Plaintiff informed several officers that his
clothing and bedding had been missing since April 7, but the
items were not found and nobody would assist Plaintiff in
replacing them. On April 10, 2015, Eoavaldi was called to
Plaintiff's cell in response to Plaintiff's request
to be placed on a hunger strike. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Eoavaldi
had Plaintiff fill out a requisition form to receive more
clothing and bedding.
April 16, 2015, Plaintiff had not received any replacement
items. He was suffering from an “untreated MRSA
infection.” (Doc. 1, p. 11). While at the infirmary,
Plaintiff informed Morris and Welborn that he was still
without clothing or bedding; Morris promised to inform Major
Monje of the problem. The nurse who gave Plaintiff his
insulin saw that half of Plaintiff's face was extremely
swollen, and referred him to be temporarily quarantined
because of the MRSA infection. Morris and Welborn saw
Plaintiff's condition and his state of uncleanliness due
to his lack of clothing and hygiene items. (Doc. 1, p. 12).
on April 16, 2015, after Plaintiff was moved to the
quarantine cell, he informed Dunbar that his cell was filthy
and he was in need of a change of clothing, bedding, personal
hygiene items, and disinfectant for the cell. (Doc. 1, p.
12). Dunbar failed to provide any of these items. Plaintiff
saw Eoavaldi that day and told him that he had not received
any clothing or bedding despite submitting the request slip
to him on April 10. Eoavaldi told Plaintiff he would just
have to wait.
April 22, 2015, Plaintiff told Dunbar that he still was
without clothing, bedding, or hygiene products, but Dunbar
just shrugged and walked away. (Doc. 1, p. 12). He also
informed a mental health team member (Ms. Thomas) of his
predicament, and Thomas promised to inform then-Warden
Butler. (Doc. 1, p. 13).
April 28 and May 8, 2015, Plaintiff had three more encounters
with Eoavaldi and two with Dunbar, in which he informed those
Defendants that he had still never been provided with
replacement clothing or bedding, had been without toothpaste,
soap, or a washcloth for many days, and that the lack of
these items had aggravated his MRSA infection. (Doc. 1, pp.
13-14). Eoavaldi took another clothing request slip from
Plaintiff, but Plaintiff still received nothing. Finally on
May 13, 2015, Officer Phillips had Plaintiff fill out another
clothing slip and personally brought Plaintiff new clothing
items and a state-issued hygiene package. Until that time,
Plaintiff had been without a change of clothing or bedding
for 35 days, and was deprived of hygiene items for 57 days.
(Doc. 1, p. 15).
same time that Plaintiff was attempting to get his clothing
and bedding replaced, he was unable to obtain sufficient
personal hygiene supplies, and medical care for his MRSA
infection was delayed and denied. Plaintiff has a chronic
MRSA infection which regularly flares up, and his inability
to adequately wash himself (he had no soap) or change into
clean clothing complicated that condition.
April 12, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a commissary request for
hygiene items including soap, but the paperwork was lost.
(Doc. 1, p. 16). On April 17, 2015, Plaintiff received
indigent supplies of miniature shampoo bottles, toothpaste,
and toothbrush, but those items only lasted one week, and he
was out of soap. He tried again to get soap from the
commissary, seeking Dunbar's help on April 23. (Doc. 1,
pp. 17-18). Another officer (Warhausen) told John Doe #1
(Commissary Officer) that Plaintiff needed soap for his MRSA
condition and had not been allowed to shop at commissary for
several weeks. Warhausen reported back to Plaintiff that John
Doe #1 refused to allow Plaintiff to purchase the hygiene
items, because the commissary was doing inventory at the
time. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Also on April 23, 2015, Plaintiff told
Sgt. Harris that he needed soap and toothpaste from
commissary and had been wearing the same soiled clothing
since April 7. Harris refused to take any action to help
Plaintiff, telling him he was a “whiner and
complainer.” (Doc. 1, p. 19). Plaintiff sent a letter
to Dr. Trost requesting a special medical permit allowing him
to purchase extra soap from the commissary, with no result.
April 10, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request
because he believed his MRSA was worsening. The next day
(April 11), the left side of Plaintiff's face was
swollen. Officer Griffin conveyed Plaintiff's request for
antibiotics to Nurse Maciura, who responded that Plaintiff
was scheduled for a sick call visit on April 12. (Doc. 1, pp.
19-20). On April 12, Maciura examined Plaintiff and saw the
large sore and swelling on the left side of Plaintiff's
face. He explained it was extremely painful, and his
outbreaks had been occurring more frequently as documented in
his medical records. Maciura denied Plaintiff's request
for pain medication and antibacterial ointment, stating that
he could ask for those when he sees the doctor.
April 13, the left side of Plaintiff's face was swollen
to twice its size, his eye was nearly swollen shut, and his
pain was extreme. (Doc. 1, p. 21). He was not seen by any
medical staff on that day. On April 14, Plaintiff learned he
had a doctor's visit scheduled that day, but it was later
cancelled. Plaintiff sought help from Officer Hood (who is
not named as a Defendant). Hood conveyed Plaintiff's
request for urgent medical care to Sgt. Pelker, but Pelker
took no action. (Doc. 1, p. 22). On April 15, Plaintiff's
doctor visit was cancelled again; both Pelker and Eoavaldi
refused to request medical attention for Plaintiff despite
being informed of his condition. (Doc. 1, p. 23).
April 16, 2015, Plaintiff finally saw Dr. Trost and received
treatment for his facial wound and infection. He learned that
Maciura (or possibly some other individual) had written in
his medical records that Plaintiff had been prescribed
antibiotics some days earlier, and had refused to attend a
doctor's appointment - neither of which was true. (Doc.
1, p. 24). He faults Maciura and Trost for a 4-day delay
before he received any medical treatment. (Doc. 1, pp.
24-25). Furthermore, he asserts that John Doe #2 (a doctor)
failed to order antibiotics for him when Maciura allegedly
requested them, and cancelled his doctor's call- line
passes. (Doc. 1, p. 26). He also names John Doe #3 (medical
official) for falsely stating in his medical chart that
Plaintiff had received antibiotics and that he went to the
yard instead of attending one of his doctor's
claims that Wexford, the corporation that employs Dr. Trost
and Health Care Administrator Walls, maintained a policy or
custom of failing to employ sufficient staff to provide
adequate medical care to inmates, and this policy caused the
delays and cancellations of Plaintiff's appointments.
(Doc. 1, pp. ...