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Fennell v. Dickson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 25, 2017

TONY N. FENNELL Y19999, Plaintiff,
v.
MIKE DICKSON, and DR. BLANKENSHIP, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center. Plaintiff brings claims pertaining to his arrest and subsequent detention at the Madison County Jail. In connection with his claims, Plaintiff names Mike Dickson (Captain, Madison County Sheriff's Dept.) and Dr. Blankenship (Physician, Madison County Jail).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint 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).

         The Complaint

         The “Madison County Sherriff's Department” arrested Plaintiff on September 10, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Approximately 35-40 days prior to being arrested, Plaintiff had surgery performed on his knee. Id. The surgery was necessary because Plaintiff had been shot and part of his kneecap was “blown off.” Id. Because of the injury and recent surgery, Plaintiff was using crutches at the time of his arrest. Id. Plaintiff contends that when he was arrested, his crutches were taken and he was forced to walk on his injured leg. Id.

         After arrest, Plaintiff was detained at the Madison County Jail. Id. Plaintiff contends his rights were violated at the jail because he could not see his knee surgeon, did not receive proper pain management, and did not receive “any proper medical attention.” Id.

         Discussion

         The Complaint suggests that Plaintiff is attempting to assert two Eighth Amendment claims for deliberate indifference. The first claims pertains to arresting officers not allowing Plaintiff to use his crutches at the time of arrest, resulting in Plaintiff walking on an injured leg. The second claim pertains to allegedly inadequate medical care for Plaintiff's injured knee when Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Madison County Jail. The alleged facts fall short of stating a claim for deliberate indifference. The fact that Plaintiff was not allowed to use his crutches, during an arrest, standing alone, does not suggest deliberate indifference. Further, the threadbare allegations pertaining to inadequate pain management and/or care while detained are insufficient to state a claim for deliberate indifference.

         The Complaint also fails to associate specific defendants with specific claims. Dickson and Blankenship are identified as defendants in the case caption and list of defendants. However, with the exception of their job descriptions (describing Dickson as “the captain of the force that arrested me” and Blankenship as “the doctor ...


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