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Chambers v. Allen

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 31, 2017

ROSCOE CHAMBERS, #13495-030, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. ALLEN, JAMES CROSS, DR. UNKNOWN, PA SCHNERDER, MS. POLLMAN, and DR. DOUGLAS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Roscoe Chambers, an inmate who is currently incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary located in Victorville, California ("USP-Victorville"), brings this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). (Doc. 1). In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims that he was denied adequate medical care for a broken bone in his right knee and a bony growth in his foot during his incarceration at the Federal Correctional Institution located in Greenville, Illinois ("FCI-Greenville"). (Doc. 1, pp. 3-5). He now brings an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against the following prison officials at FCI-Greenville: Warden James Cross, Doctor Allen, Doctor Douglas, Doctor Unknown ("Doctor John/Jane Doe"), P.A. Schnerder, and Ms. Pollman (health administrator). (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). In connection with this claim, Plaintiff seeks monetary relief. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He also seeks injunctive relief, in the form of a medical transfer and surgery. Id.

         This matter is now subject to preliminary review 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 survives screening under this standard.

         The Complaint

         According to the Complaint, Plaintiff suffered from a broken bone in his right knee and a bony growth in his foot during his incarceration at FCI-Greenville. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He was allegedly denied surgery and other forms of treatment for both injuries. Id. Plaintiff claims that the defendants' failure to address his injuries only exacerbated them. Id.

         An orthopedic specialist allegedly recommended right knee replacement surgery following an MRI on an undisclosed date. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Despite the recommendation, Doctor John/Jane Doe refused to refer Plaintiff for surgery, issue him a knee brace, or authorize his use of a wheelchair. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 5). Instead, the doctor gave him medication that caused an allergic reaction. Id. Administrator Pollman also refused to refer Plaintiff for surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Instead, she forged a letter from Doctor Allen, which indicated that Plaintiff would need to lose weight before he would receive surgery. Id. P.A. Schnerder took matters into her own hands and cut at the growth on Plaintiffs foot, instead of referring him to a specialist. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff claims that P.A. Schnerder was not qualified to perform this procedure and caused him to suffer from an infection. Id. Finally, Warden Cross authorized Plaintiffs transfer to a non-medical facility, by omitting any mention of these health conditions in his transfer paperwork. Id.

         Plaintiff claims that the denial of adequate medical care at FCI-Greenville only caused both conditions to grow worse. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Instead of right knee replacement surgery, he now needs bilateral knee replacement surgery. Id. In addition to foot surgery, he now suffers from an infection that may cause him to lose his foot. Id. In addition to monetary relief, Plaintiff seeks a medical transfer, knee surgery, foot surgery, and hand surgery.[1] (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Discussion

         To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it appropriate to organize the claim in ...


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