United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Gilbert, U.S. District Judge.
Demond Christmas, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests
declaratory relief, a permanent injunction, and monetary
damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(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.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to
summary dismissal. The Court also considered Plaintiff's
Memorandum in Support of his Compliant at Doc. 1-1.
alleges that prior to arriving at Menard in 2012, he was
assaulted by an officer at Cook County Jail, which resulted
in severe facial damage, including a right orbital fracture.
(Doc. 1, p. 11). After the initial assault, Plaintiff was
taken to John Stroger Hospital in Chicago in July 2012, where
a CAT scan was performed. Id. Although the CAT scan
showed the broken bones, Plaintiff's face was still
swollen, precluding surgery, and so the specialist ordered a
follow-up visit. Id.
to receiving his follow-up visit at Stroger, Plaintiff was
transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”) and assigned to the Stateville Northern
Reception Center, where Wexford Health Sources is the
designated health care provider. Id. Plaintiff
informed Stateville officials about his facial fractures and
requested care. Id. On November 14, 2012, Plaintiff
was transferred to Menard Correctional Center. Id.
Amy Lang, who is not a defendant here, performed a screening
upon entry into Menard, but although she noted the fracture
of the right eye socket, she erroneously noted that Plaintiff
denied any pain. Id. Plaintiff alleges he was
actually experiencing facial pain, severe headaches,
dizziness, double vision, blurry vision, and ringing in his
began requesting to see the optometrist, but despite writing
a letter on December 14, 2012 and again on January 14, 2013,
Plaintiff did not actually get to see Dr. Eric Johnson until
January 30, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Upon information and
belief, Plaintiff believes that Johnson was an employee of
Eyecare Solutions, who was under contract with Wexford to
provide medical optometry services. Id. Johnson
failed to examine Plaintiff, and when Plaintiff told him that
the Stroger specialist had recommended surgery, Johnson told
Plaintiff that surgery would not fix his problems and that
Wexford would not approve surgery due to the expense.
Id. Johnson referred Plaintiff to the on-site
medical director. Id. Plaintiff submitted a sick
call slip 6 weeks later on March 15, 2013 when he still had
not been seen; an unnamed nurse said she would put him in to
see the doctor and gave him some Tylenol. (Doc. 1, pp.
March 23, 2013, Plaintiff's blurry vision caused him to
misjudge the edge of his bunk and fall off the top. (Doc. 1,
p. 13). He hit his head on the floor. Id. Plaintiff
saw Dr. Shearing on March 25, 2013. Id. Shearing
told Plaintiff that he did not need surgery and that surgery
was too costly. Id. Plaintiff told Shearing about
his medical history and his current pain and suffering.
Id. Shearing prescribed 2 weeks of ibuprofen.
Id. Plaintiff's medical records show that
Shearing received Plaintiff's records from Cook County
Jail on April 26, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 20).
saw Shearing again on April 26, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 14).
Shearing again reiterated that Plaintiff would not be
receiving surgery, no matter how many grievances he filed.
Id. Shearing denied that any treatment, including
pain medication, was necessary. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that Shearing falsified the April 26, 2013 medical
record entry to cover up his deliberate indifference.
Id. Plaintiff wrote a grievances on March 25, 2013
regarding his medical care, to which Gail Walls responded on
June 11, 2013, stating “You have seen the eye doctor,
medical doctors, and nurses for sick call since being at
Menard CC. The last time was on April 26, 2013 by Dr.
Shearing. At that time he wrote you had received all
treatment necessary for your issue and no further follow-up
was necessary. If you have further issues, please put in for
sick call.” Id. (Doc. 1, p. 47). Plaintiff
wrote a grievance on Walls' response on June 18, 2013.
(Doc. 1, p. 15).
addition to Plaintiff's pain, he also experienced
constant pus drainage from his right eye. Id.
Plaintiff continued to experience pain and suffering.
Id. He learned sometime in 2014 that Shearing had
been replaced as site medical director and submitted another
sick call request slip. Id. Plaintiff was seen on
October 5, 2014 for his eye and nasal problems, and was told
that he'd be referred to the MD and the eye doctor.
Id. Plaintiff was seen by the new Wexford Medical
Director, Dr. Trost, on October 9, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 16).
Trost prescribed Claritin, Bactrim, and Bleph to address the
pus drainage and Plaintiff's allergies and referred
Plaintiff to the eye doctor. Id.
was seen by on-site optometrist Dr. Christine Lochhead on
October 23, 2014. Id. Lochhead performed a brief eye
exam, and prescribed a warm compress. Id. She told
Plaintiff that Wexford would not prescribe surgery because
Plaintiff's condition did not meet Wexford's policy
requirements and because Plaintiff's injury had occurred
prior to his time in IDOC custody. Id.
saw on-site optometrist Lewis J. Eyrich on March 7, 2016.
(Doc. 1, pp. 16-17). Plaintiff alleges that Eyrich performed
the first complete eye examination he received at that time.
(Doc. 1, p.17). Eyrich recommended an outside referral based
on the ongoing mucus discharge that had not responded to
treatment. Id. The referral was approved on March
15, 2016. Id. Plaintiff saw Dr. Donald Unwin of
Quantum Vision Center (“QVC”) on April 12, 2016,
who recommended a surgical consult for Plaintiff's broken
right eye socket. Id. Eyrich also recommended a
follow-up for potential glaucoma. Id. Plaintiff saw
Trost again on April 29, 2016, who in turn referred Plaintiff
back to the on-site optometrist. Id. When Plaintiff
next saw the on-site optometrist, he told Plaintiff he did
not understand why the April 12, 2016 recommendation had not
been acted on and submitted a request for referral, which was
approved on July 6, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 18).
went off-site on August 15, 2016 and saw another unidentified
eye specialist with QVC who also agreed that Plaintiff needed
surgery, but declined to perform it because QVC was not
equipped for the procedure. (Doc. 1, p. 18). This optometrist
also recommended that Plaintiff be referred to a hospital for
surgery and told Plaintiff that he could go blind without the
surgery. Id. However, once Plaintiff returned to
Menard, Trost delayed following up with Plaintiff and
submitting his paperwork. Id. As a result, Wexford
Utilization review did not approve the referral until
September 23, 2016, and Plaintiff was not actually scheduled
for a consultation until October 11, 2016. Id. The
consultation was scheduled for December 1, 2016. Id.
Plaintiff also saw Dr. Sutterer on October 7, 2016.
consultation, the specialist agreed that surgery was
necessary, exactly as the specialist at Stroger had
recommended more than 4 years prior. (Doc. 1, p. 20).
Plaintiff finally had surgery on March 7, 2017. (Doc. 1, p.
21). Plaintiff was also told at the December 1 visit that the
pus draining from his eyes was due to his tear ducts being
blocked, and was the cause of fevers, headaches, dizziness,
double vision, and blurry vision. Id.
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 4 counts. The
parties and the Court will use these designations in all
future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a