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Jones v. Roberts

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 30, 2017

CORBIN D. JONES, # 01-30-1989-46, Plaintiff,
v.
JENNIFER ROBERTS, LT. HANES, LT. BONNIE MAY, C/O SPARTEGUES, CAPT. MOUNT, C/O JEFF CLARK, NURSE SHIRLEY, DR. PAULIUS, C/O FORTAG, C/O EDWARDS, DEPUTY TRAVIS SCOTT, C/O CONWAY, and C/O McKINNIS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is now before the Court for a merits review of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 16). About a month after Plaintiff filed this pleading, he submitted a proposed “supplement.” On September 19, 2017, the Court denied Plaintiff's implied motion to add the supplementary material to the First Amended Complaint in a piecemeal fashion. (Doc. 22). Plaintiff was then given the opportunity to submit a Second Amended Complaint in which he could incorporate the material in his proposed supplement, and he was ordered to file that amended pleading no later than October 11, 2017. Plaintiff's deadline has now passed, and he has not filed a Second Amended Complaint. The First Amended Complaint, without the proposed supplementary information, is now subject to review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Section 1915A requires the Court 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). Plaintiff has been released from custody, so he is not currently a prisoner. However, he was incarcerated at the Jefferson County Jail when this action was filed, thus the screening requirement of § 1915A as well as the other provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) apply to Plaintiff's case. See Kerr v. Puckett, 138 F.3d 321, 323 (7th Cir. 1998) (a plaintiff's status as a prisoner or non-prisoner for purposes of the applicability of the PLRA must be determined as of the time the lawsuit is filed) (citing Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023 (7th Cir. 1996)).

         In the June 12, 2017, order that directed Plaintiff to file the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 14), the Court described Plaintiff's claims (based on the original Complaint which was dismissed) as follows:

Count 5: Excessive force claim against the unidentified officers who arrested Jones on February 13 or 14, 2017, for applying handcuffs to Jones' wrists so tightly that his hands were swollen for several days;
Count 6: Deliberate indifference claim against unidentified jail staff for the failure to provide Jones with medical testing for communicable diseases following his exposure to a cellmate's blood after the cellmate's suicide attempt;
Count 7: Deliberate indifference claim against unidentified jail staff for the failure to provide Jones with cleaning supplies or to clean the areas in and near his cell that were contaminated with blood;
Count 8: Deliberate indifference claim against Scott, Mount, Haynes, and Nurse Shirley for failing to provide Jones with medical treatment for burns and cuts on his arms sustained before his arrest;
Count 9: First Amendment claim for the improper opening and destruction/loss of Jones' legal mail, against Edwards, Spartegues, Jeff, and Roberts;
Count 10: Deliberate indifference claim against Haynes and Roberts for the failure to permit Jones to leave the cell for recreation;
Count 11: Deliberate indifference claim against unidentified jail staff for placing Jones in a cell with insufficient heat, bedding, or clothing; exposing him to black mold, rusty drinking water, and insects; and serving him spoiled milk and soggy food.

         When Plaintiff was ordered to file a First Amended Complaint, he was instructed to “present each claim in a separate count” in accordance with the designations above. (Doc. 14, p. 11). However, the First Amended Complaint does not refer to any of these numbered counts. He was also told to specify each Defendant by name who was alleged to be liable under each count. Id. Plaintiff does this for some of the claims, but not for others. The factual allegations in the First Amended Complaint are summarized below.

         The First Amended Complaint (Doc. 14)

         Plaintiff had injured his arms and hands at work before he was arrested in February 2017 and confined at the Jefferson County Jail. He had severe razor blade cuts on his hands and painful acid burns. Every time Plaintiff washed his hands, skin would come off the burned areas. (Doc. 16, pp. 5, 10-11). He reported his need for medical treatment for these injuries to Lt. Hanes (sometimes referred to in the narrative as Haynes), Nurse Shirley, Lt. May, C/O Conway, C/O McKinnis, C/O Edwards, C/O Clark, C/O Fortag, C/O Spartegues, C/O Roberts, Scott, and Capt. Mount. (Doc. 16, pp. 5, 9, 15). However, they refused to do anything to treat Plaintiff's wounds. Id. Hanes told Plaintiff to put his hands into the water in the toilet bowl to relieve the pain, and Plaintiff did so for about 3 hours (possibly more than once) because he had no alternative. (Doc. 16, pp. 5-6). At some point Plaintiff was put into a padded room while jail staff waited for instructions from Dr. Paulius. Somebody then gave Plaintiff 2 tablets of Tylenol, 1 Cogentine tablet, and 1 Zyprexa tablet. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff was kept for 2 days in a “freezing cold holding cell” where he was not given sufficient clothing to keep warm. (Doc. 16, p. 9). He also mentions poor ventilation, bug infestations, exposure to communicable diseases, and water contamination. (Doc. 16, p. 17).

         On a page dated April 11, 2017, Plaintiff states that he needed to have his wisdom teeth removed on both sides, top and bottom, and he had bleeding in his mouth from those areas. He reported this problem to Edwards, Hanes, and Nurse Shirley, but they refused to provide any medical care. (Doc. 16, pp. 13, 15).

         He states that his “religious freedom right” was violated because he had not been allowed to attend a religious service. (Doc. 16, p. 13).

         Plaintiff mentions an incident where others were given extra food, but does not explain further. Id. He also requested a T.B. shot but apparently did not receive it. (Doc. 16, p. 15).

         Plaintiff's cell was contaminated with another inmate's blood after a suicide attempt, and was not properly cleaned. Somebody used “sewage water” and ammonia in a cleaning attempt, and this produced fumes that persisted and caused Plaintiff to feel nauseous because of the poor ventilation. (Doc. 16, p. 16). For 6 days between March 29 and April 4, 2017, Plaintiff requested cleaning supplies, but Hanes and Conway failed to provide any. The cellmate's blood exposed Plaintiff to Hepatitis C.

         Finally, Plaintiff mentions “physical testing of prisoners bodies . . . for AIDS, Hepatitis C, HIV, ” which he was exposed to because of the blood left in the cell. (Doc. 16, p. 17). He notes problems with “privacy rights” . . . “such as my legal ...


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