United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Peter Gakuba, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at East
Moline Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). According to the Complaint,
Plaintiff was injured during court-ordered medical testing
for sexually transmitted diseases (“STD”) at
Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”) on
September 15, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Instead of a urine test,
the nursing staff used a swab test that allegedly perforated
his urethra. Id. He was then denied medical
treatment for the resulting injury. Id. Plaintiff
names numerous known and unknown prison officials in
connection with claims asserted under the Fourth, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments as well as Illinois state law. (Doc. 1,
pp. 5, 7-8). He seeks a declaratory judgment and monetary
damages against the defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
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
Id. 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 in 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.
3:30 a.m. on September 15, 2015, Plaintiff was awakened and
ordered to go to Robinson's health care unit
(“HCU”) for court-ordered STD testing. (Doc. 1 p.
5). There, he met with two unknown nurse practitioners
(“Jane Doe ##1-2”) who drew his blood.
Id. Nurse Doe #2 then inserted a long cotton swab
into Plaintiff's penis, causing him intense pain.
strenuously objected to the procedure. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He
insisted that a urine sample could have been used in lieu of
the swab. Id. Because Nurse Doe #2 chose the more
invasive procedure, Plaintiff suffered from pain, burning and
stinging in his urethra that persisted long after the
procedure was completed. Id. Hoping to alleviate the
pain, Plaintiff tried urinating. Id. When he did so,
he noticed that his urine was tinged with blood. Id.
met with Lieutenant Brookhart and Major Rains later the same
morning. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He complained of a suspected
perforation to his urethra. Id. They instructed him
to return immediately to the HCU for treatment. Id.
did, Plaintiff was seen by two unknown nurses (“Jane
Doe ##3- 4”) and a third nurse (“Jane Doe
#5”) who he also refers to as “Nurse Kristie
Otey.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Nurse Doe #3 assured Plaintiff
that bloody urine and acute burning were normal. Id.
She recommended that he drink plenty of water. Id.
Plaintiff did not agree with this recommendation.
Id. He insisted that the procedure resulted in a
perforation or laceration of his urethra and that the
recommendation to drink more water-like the procedure
itself-was “wrong.” Id.
met with Lieutenant Brookhart again in October and/or
November 2015 and pleaded for treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
During the meeting, Plaintiff produced a Ziploc bag full of
bloody tissue that he had saved. Id. Lieutenant
Brookhart told Plaintiff that DNA evidence must be preserved
in a dry paper envelope. Id. The officer
nevertheless sent him back to the HCU for further treatment.
HCU, Plaintiff was seen by Major Erickson and Nurse John Doe
#1. (Doc. 1, p. 5). They conducted an external examination of
his penis. Id. Nurse Jane Doe #6 stood observing.
Id. Plaintiff insisted that he needed an immediate
referral to an urologist for treatment of a suspected
perforation or laceration to his urethra. Id. He was
never referred to a specialist. Id.
November or December 2015, Plaintiff received a response to
an emergency grievance he filed on the date of his injury.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). The grievance was “dismissive of
Gakuba's injury.” Id. His request for a
referral to a specialist was also denied. Id.
wrote to an unknown Washington bureaucrat (“John Doe
#2”) to complain about the incident. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He
described the medical procedure as a sexual assault that was
performed in violation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
Id. Plaintiff then asked John Doe #2 to visit him at
Robinson during a planned tour of the facility. Id.
John Doe #2 agreed to meet with Plaintiff and did so for
approximately five minutes during his tour. Id.
Plaintiff never heard from him again. Id.
filed a complaint pursuant to the Prison Rape Elimination Act
with Lieutenant Brookhart. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Sometime
thereafter, John Doe ##3-7 conducted a shakedown of his cell.
Id. During the shakedown, they seized his
“preserved DNA corroborating evidence” (the
Ziploc bag containing bloody tissue). Id.
now claims that the swabbing procedure performed on September
15, 2015 caused him to suffer from acute burning, pain and
stinging when urinating for weeks. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Years
later, he still suffers from emotional distress and
post-traumatic stress disorder. Id. He brings claims
against the defendants under the Fourth, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments, as well as Illinois state law. (Doc.
1, pp. 7-8).
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 has
organized the claims in Plaintiff's pro se
Complaint into the following enumerated counts:
Count 1 - Eighth Amendment excessive force
claim against Nurse Jane Doe #2 for using a swab test instead
or a urine test on Plaintiff on September 15, 2015.
Count 2 - Eighth Amendment claim against
Nurse Jane Doe #1 for failing to intervene and stop Nurse
Jane Doe #2 from using a swab test instead of a urine test on
September 15, 2015.
Count 3 - Fourth Amendment claim against
Nurses Jane Doe ##1-2 for carrying out court-ordered medical
testing using an invasive swab test instead of a urine test
on September 15, 2015.
Count 4 - Claim against Nurses Jane Doe
##1-2 under the Prison Rape Elimination Act for sexually
assaulting Plaintiff by using a swab test on ...