United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
HARLEY M. BRADY, Y-13122, Plaintiff,
IDOC, JOHN BALDWIN, STEVE DUNCAN, NICK LAMB, JOHN DOE 1, JOHN DOE 2, LESLIE MCCORTY, WEXFORD MEDICAL PROVIDER, MRS. CUNNINGHAM, MR. MCFARLAND, DR. COE, DR. JAMES, DR. AHMED, P.A. BLANCHARD, KAMMEL, JOHN DOE 3, JOHN DOE 4, and JOHN DOE 5, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
Harley M. Brady, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) housed at Lawrence
Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this
pro se action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims against
officials at Lawrence can be roughly divided into three
groups: (1) claims that Plaintiff suggests are connected to
an excessive amount of soy in the prison diet; (2) other
medical claims directed against Defendants Coe and Ahmed; and
(3) claims pertaining to records requests in connection with
Plaintiff's criminal case. In connection with these
claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. As set
forth below, the Court finds that a number of the claims and
parties are not properly joined. Accordingly, the Court will
exercise its discretion and sever unrelated claims into
drafting his Complaint, Plaintiff utilized a standard
complaint form from the Central District of Illinois. In the
“Litigation History” section (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 6),
Plaintiff disclosed the following:
• Brady v. Towne et al, Case No. 2014-cv-3071
(N.D. of Ill.) - Stayed
• Brady v. City of Ottawa Police Dept. et al,
Case No. 2014-cv-3072 (N.D. of Ill.) -Dismissed
• Brady v. LaSalle County Municipality et al,
Case No. 2014-cv-5545 (N.D. of Ill.) -Pending
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff accurately identified his
previously filed actions. Unfortunately, however, Plaintiff
failed to disclose that he incurred a strike (his only one)
in Case No. 2014-cv-3072 (dismissed November 6, 2014).
Court relies on a party's litigation history listed in
his or her complaint to adhere to the three-strike
requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), and thus there is a
need for reliable information about prior litigation. As a
result, where a party fails to provide accurate litigation
history, the Court may appropriately dismiss the action for
providing fraudulent information to the Court. Hoskins v.
Dart, 633 F.3d 541, 543 (7th Cir. 2011).
case, the information provided was incomplete, but not
necessarily fraudulent. At this time, the Court gives
Plaintiff the benefit of the doubt and presumes the
inaccuracy was an innocent omission. However, Plaintiff is
warned that if he files any future lawsuit without fully
disclosing his litigation history, including any
“strikes, ” he will be subject to sanctions,
which may include immediate dismissal of the action.
request for relief (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11) includes at least
eighteen requests for various types of injunctive relief.
Plaintiff asks that some of the injunctive relief be provided
“immediately.” This suggests that Plaintiff is
seeking some form of immediate relief, such as a preliminary
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely
to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and
that an injunction is in the public interest.”
Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S.
7, 20 (2008) (citations omitted). See also Korte v.
Sebelius, 735 F.3d 654, 665 (7th Cir. 2013).
time, Plaintiff's request for immediate injunctive relief
shall be denied for two reasons. First, Plaintiff has not
filed a separate motion for a preliminary injunction. Second,
Plaintiff's allegations do not support this form of
drastic relief. Specifically, he has not demonstrated or
alleged that he faces any immediate or irreparable injury or
loss, and the Court cannot conclude that he is likely to
succeed on the merits.
any requests for immediate injunctive relief are
DENIED without prejudice. Should
Plaintiff's situation change, necessitating emergency
intervention by the Court, he may file a new motion for a
preliminary injunction, in the appropriate action, pursuant
to Rule 65(a).
Review - Applicable Standard
1915A provides as follows:
(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
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.
part of screening, the Court is also allowed to sever
unrelated claims against different defendants into separate
lawsuits. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607
(7th Cir. 2007). In George, the Seventh Circuit
emphasized that the practice of severance is important,
“not only to prevent the sort of morass” produced
by multi-claim, multi-defendant suits “but also to
ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees”
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Id. This
practice is encouraged. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
has recently warned district courts not to allow inmates
“to flout the rules for joining claims and defendants,
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 18, 20, or to circumvent 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, No. 15-3325, 2017 WL
2417889 (7th Cir. June 5, 2017) (district court should have
severed unrelated and improperly joined claims or dismissed
one of them). Consistent with George,
Owens, and Wheeler, improperly joined
parties and/or claims will be severed into new cases, given
new case numbers, and assessed separate filing fees.
serves food that contains large amounts of soy. (Doc. 1, p.
7). Plaintiff contends the amount of soy is well in excess of
recommended daily values (25 grams per day). Id.
According to the Complaint, IDOC does not make information
pertaining to the amount of soy in the prison diet readily
accessible. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff also claims that his
written requests for nutritional information, apparently in
connection to the amount of soy in the prison diet, have been
denied. (Doc. 1, pp. 7, 9).
claims he suffers from acid reflux, indigestion, vomiting,
dry heaving, excessive gas, intestinal cramps, thyroid
issues, kidney issues, rashes, weight gain, and difficult
bowel movements. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff also speculates
that he may have an internal stomach hernia from vomiting.
Id. Plaintiff attributes these health issues to soy
in the prison diet. Id.
sister spent time in IDOC custody and experienced adverse
health issues, including thyroid problems. Id.
Plaintiff attributes his sister's health problems to the
soy-based diet she ingested while in IDOC custody.
Id. Plaintiff has told Wexford medical staff and
doctors that his sister had thyroid issues while on a
soy-based diet. Id. However, Plaintiff's
concerns have been disregarded.
does not know if he is allergic to soy or simply
“sensitive to it due to IDOC serving prisoners well
above the daily recommended amount.” Id.
Plaintiff has complained to medical staff regarding the
soy-based diet and has requested a soy-free diet. (Doc. 1,
pp. 7-8). Although other inmates have received soy-free
diets, Plaintiff's requests have been denied. (Doc. 1, p.
8). Apparently in connection with Plaintiff's requests
for a soy-free diet, Plaintiff states that he raises a claim
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)
against Wexford for denying him a medical diet. Id.
to the Complaint, “Wexford medical staff and
doctors” have failed to properly document
Plaintiff's symptoms and adverse reactions to the
soy-diet. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Specifically, Plaintiff claims that
“Wexford medical staff and doctors, ”
“nurses, ” and “they” have exhibited
deliberate indifference to the following medical
conditions-conditions Plaintiff suggests are somehow
connected to his consumption of soy: (1) thyroid and
digestive issues; (2) severe rash; (3) lumps in his mouth and
throat; (4) stomach hernia; and (5) numbness/possible nerve
damage. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
suggests that officials exhibited deliberate indifference to
these conditions by prescribing ineffective and/or harmful
treatment, failing to perform requested testing, failing to
fully evaluate his symptoms, and/or failing to refer
Plaintiff to an outside specialist. Id.
not entirely clear, apparently in connection with the above
claims, Plaintiff has submitted various records requests that
were denied, delayed, and/or not properly answered. (Doc. 1,
p. 9). For instance, Plaintiff contends he submitted requests
to IDOC pertaining to “nutritional information.”
The requests were denied. Id. Plaintiff also has
submitted requests for medical records and lab tests.
Id. Plaintiff has either not received answers to
these requests or is dissatisfied with the answers he has
received. Id. Plaintiff contends the allegedly
deficient responses have interfered with his ability to
“complete certain facts required in [this]
complaint.” Id. Finally, Plaintiff contends
that he has filed numerous grievances that have been
mishandled, delayed, and/or lost. (Doc. 1, p. 11).
asserts additional medical claims that do not appear to be
related to his soy-diet claims. According to the Complaint,
Plaintiff suffers from chronic back and knee pain. (Doc. 1,
p. 8). Plaintiff associates these issues with his weight (265
lbs.) and a lack of arch support. Id. Plaintiff has
been issued a back brace and an athletic compression knee
sleeve. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff claims the braces provide
insufficient support and/or do not alleviate his pain.
Id. Plaintiff states that “Wexford staff
and/or doctors” have told him he cannot return to
“3rd shift dietary” because of his chronic back
and knee pain. Id. Nonetheless, they refuse to
provide him with a bottom bunk permit or appropriate work
restrictions. Id. Plaintiff also states that Wexford
is subject to liability under the ADA “over
Plaintiff's back and knee problems.” Id.
Plaintiff does not have a bottom bunk permit, he has to climb
into the top bunk. Plaintiff's knee and back issues make
it very difficult for him to do this. Id. Climbing
into the top bunk is also difficult because the bunkbeds do
not include a ladder. Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff
must use the toilet and sink in his cell to reach the top
has fallen several times while attempting to climb into the
top bunk. Id. At various times, Plaintiff has
requested a bottom bunk permit from Coe, Shah (not a
identified as a defendant in the caption), and Ahmed.
Id. All of these individuals denied Plaintiff's
requests, despite knowing he has fallen several times
attempting to climb into the top bunk. Id.
April 26, 2017, Plaintiff had a medical visit with Ahmed.
(Doc. 1, p. 9). During this visit, Plaintiff asked Ahmed for
joint supplements, an “actual” knee brace, and a
bottom bunk permit. (Doc. 1, p. 10). With the exception of
the knee brace, Plaintiff's requests were denied.
Id. On May 6, 2017, Plaintiff was called to medical
to receive his new knee brace. Id. Wexford medical
staff attempted to give Plaintiff the knee brace; he refused
it, because the new brace was another athletic compression
sleeve as opposed to an “actual” knee brace.
Id. Plaintiff asked to see Ahmed, but his request
was refused. Id. A nurse indicated she had spoken
with Ahmed and that was the brace he ordered. Id.
Plaintiff refused the knee brace and filed a grievance.
includes several additional allegations pertaining to his
medical visit with Ahmed on April 26, 2017. Specifically, he
alleges that he told Ahmed the pharmacist had not been
refilling his medication in a timely manner. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
In response, Ahmed “cut Plaintiff's medications
down.” Id. Ahmed also discontinued
Plaintiff's ibuprofen prescription. Id.
Plaintiff contends that he needs the ibuprofen for back pain,
knee pain, and headaches. Id. Over Plaintiff's
objections, Ahmed ordered Plaintiff icy-hot muscle rub for
his muscle aches. Id. Plaintiff contends Ahmed
reduced his medications and discontinued his ibuprofen as
retaliation for Plaintiff's complaint about the pharmacy.
Id. Plaintiff also states, however, that Ahmed told
Plaintiff the ibuprofen had to be discontinued because of
Plaintiff's liver enzyme numbers. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
Plaintiff contends this cannot be a viable reason for
discontinuing his ibuprofen prescription because Plaintiff
sees another physician for Hepatitis-C and that doctor is not
concerned about Plaintiff's liver enzyme levels.
also claims Ahmed forced him to choose between taking Tums or
Pepcid for heartburn. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff contends he
needs both medications but Ahmed would only prescribe one.
Id. Plaintiff chose tums, as a “Hobson's
choice, ” and regrets that decision.
Requests pertaining to Plaintiff's
officer of the Court requested Plaintiff's mental health
records in connection with Plaintiff's presentence
investigation report. (Doc. 1, p. 9). IDOC failed to respond.
Id. Plaintiff also requested records in connection
with a motion to reconsider his sentence. Id. IDOC
failed to respond.
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