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Wainwright v. Knauer

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 1, 2017

ANTOINE WAINWRIGHT, #N20490, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. JOHN TROST, LISA ARNOLD, DR. FLEMING, DR. MOLDENHAUER, and DEBBIE KNAUER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Antoine Wainwright, an inmate in Hill Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), among other places. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint (Doc. 1): Since 2000, Plaintiff has been seeing Dr. Herbert Engelhard, a neurosurgeon at the UIC Hospital in Chicago, regarding his medication condition. (Doc. 1, p. 7). In August 2000, Plaintiff had an L5-51 discectomy performed by Dr. Engelhard. Id. In 2007, Plaintiff had an L5-51 hemilaminectomy discectomy performed by Dr. Engelhard. Id. In 2008, Plaintiff had an L3-L5 laminectomy performed by Dr. Engelhard. Id. Dr. Engelhard “has been treating the Plaintiff for over 20 years and has the knowledge and understanding of Plaintiff's medical condition and treatments.” Id.

         On May 6, 2016, Plaintiff received an Epidural Steroid Injection (“ESI”) from the UIC hospital with a follow up at the pain clinic. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). On July 11, 2016, Plaintiff returned to the pain clinic for a consultation and spoke with Dr. Ashley Barks and Dr. Konstantin Slavin regarding his cervical spine and lower back pain. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He told them that the epidural steroid injections help his back pain, but that they only last for a few weeks and when they wear off, the pain is more severe than before. Id. Dr. Barks recommended that Plaintiff continue with his current conservative management strategies for his pain, and if for some reason his pain progresses and he no longer responds to the steroid injections, “they would be happy to see him back in the clinic and they [could] discuss his surgical options further at that time.” Id. Barks also noted that Plaintiff had been seen by Engelhard at the UIC multiple times and had multiple surgeries performed by him. He recommended that Plaintiff follow up with Engelhard for further evaluation of possible surgical decompression of his cervical spine. Id.

         On November 11, 2016, Plaintiff's medical hold was lifted at Stateville Correctional Center without regard to his medical needs and the pending appointment he had at the UIC. Id. Plaintiff was then transferred to Menard Correctional Center. Id. Since he has been in Menard, Plaintiff has been denied epidural steroid injections and any kind of medical treatment for his back and cervical spine. Id.

         On November 30, 2016, Plaintiff was taken to Belleville Hospital for a CT scan of his cervical spine. Id. On December 15, 2016, he was taken to the UIC Hospital in Chicago for a consultation with Dr. Engelhard regarding his cervical spine and back pain. Id. Plaintiff told Dr. Engelhard that he had not had a cervical spine injection since May 6, 2016, that he was experiencing severe pain laying down and moving around and that he had numbness moving down his left arm from his neck pain. Id. No paperwork or records were sent from Menard regarding Plaintiff's November 30, 2016 CT scan or his cervical spine. Id. Engelhard ordered an MRI on the Plaintiff's back and cervical spine and directed Plaintiff to return for a follow up consultation with him. Id.

         On January 11, 2017, Plaintiff was returned to Menard from Stateville. Id. Plaintiff was taken to Memorial Hospital in Carbondale for an MRI on February 13, 2017. Id. On March 2, 2017, he was taken to the Brain and Spine Institute of Carbondale for a consultation. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff was seen by Lisa Arnold, a Physician Assistant, who told Plaintiff that there was nothing wrong with his cervical spine and lower back that she could see from the MRI report. Id. Plaintiff told Arnold that he was in great pain, that he could not bend over to put his socks and shoes on without being in pain, that laying down hurt, and that the sharp pain radiates down his right leg. Id. Arnold said that she was going to order an X-ray and talk to the neurosurgeon to see what he wanted to do and then notify Plaintiff. Id. Arnold did not examine Plaintiff and he was not examined by anyone at the Brain and Spine Institute. Id. Plaintiff has also not seen or spoken to a neurosurgeon about his conditions. Id. “As a result, Plaintiff has ...


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