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Daniels v. Shah

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 30, 2017

KENNARD DANIELS, #M44217, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. VIPIN SHAH, DR. VENERIO SANTOS, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., and LISA LERCHER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Staci M. Yandle United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Kennard Daniels, an inmate at Centralia Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical issues, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1). 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 Court is also encouraged to sever unrelated claims against different defendants into separate lawsuits during screening. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). This is to prevent inmates from flouting ".. .the rules for joining claims and defendants, see FED. R. Civ. P. 18, 20, or [from circumventing] the Prison Litigation Reform Act's fee requirements by combining multiple lawsuits into a single complaint." Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017). See also Wheeler v. Talbot, ___ Fed.Appx. ___, 2017 WL 2417889 (7th Cir. 2017) (district court should have severed unrelated and improperly joined claims or dismissed one of them). Thus, consistent with George, Owens and Wheeler, any unrelated claims will be severed into new cases, given new case numbers and assessed separate filing fees.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations regarding the alleged mistreatment of his medical condition at Lincoln Correctional Center ("Lincoln") and Centralia Correctional Center ("Centralia").

         Lincoln Correctional Center

         On May 20, 2014, Plaintiff notified Nurse Grady that he was having complications with his throat, including severe pain and bleeding. (Doc. 1, p. 6). At that time, "the Defendants provided very little to no medical treatment." Id. On May 27, 2014, Plaintiff told Nurse Rose about his sore throat and the pain and bleeding that he had been experiencing since April 4, 2014. Nurse Rose treated him with acetaminophen 325 and CTM 4mg, as if he had an upper respiratory infection. Id. Plaintiff complained to Nurse Tripplett about his sore throat on June 7, 2014. Id. Tripplett documented Plaintiffs pain, swallowing, history of sore throats, redness and enlarged tonsils. Id. Neither Tripplett nor the defendants provided Plaintiff with medical treatment at that time. Id.

         On June 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance requesting medical attention. (Doc. 1, p. 7). On June 12, 2014, Plaintiff complained of throat complications to Nurse Jennings. Id. At that time, Plaintiff was admitted to the infirmary at the Health Care Unit ("HCU"). Id.

         On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff complained to Nurse Hurst about his sore throat and complications. Id. Hurst treated Plaintiff as if he had an upper respiratory infection and only provided him with acetaminophen and CTM 4mg. Id.

         On September 5, 2014, Defendant Lercher responded to Plaintiffs emergency grievance by providing a summary of the days that Plaintiff has been to a nurse sick call. Id. Lercher noted that Plaintiff was diagnosed with having Chronic Tonsillitis, that he has been on different treatments, and that there is no follow up care. Id.

         Plaintiff complained about a sore throat to Nurse Alexander on September 15, 2014 and told him that he was coughing up blood and had redness, enlarged tonsils, carnal red tympanic membrane, enlarged lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). On September 22, 2014, Plaintiff complained again to a nurse about his throat being sore and enlarged. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         On September 28, 2014, Plaintiff complained of his sore throat issue to Defendant Shah. Id. Shah provided little to no treatment to Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff s medical progress notes dated October 23, 2014 indicate that his throat was sore, he had large tonsils and that his neck nodes had been swollen for over 5 months. Id. He was given Amoxicillin, Medrol and Augmentin, but none of them benefitted him. Id.

         During his visit with Dr. Shah on October 23, 2014, Shah informed Plaintiff that there was no medical procedure (such as a surgery) that could be performed to alleviate his tonsillitis, noting that this was because the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") would not pay for nor send inmates out to receive treatment for conditions such as Plaintiffs. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). However, "a tonsillectomy is the only proper procedure for" Plaintiffs condition. (Doc. 1, p. 9). After Plaintiffs family contacted Lincoln Correctional Center, IDOC and Wexford concerning his throat issue, Plaintiff was transferred to Centralia Correctional Center. Id.

         Centralia ...


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