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Brady v. Coe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 4, 2017

HARLEY M. BRADY, # R-13122, Plaintiff,
DR. COE, and DR. AHMED, Defendants.


          J. Phil Gilbert, United States District Judge.

         In Brady v. IDOC, Case No. 17-cv-883-NJR (S.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2017), Plaintiff Harley Brady, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brought suit for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), four claims against Coe and Ahmed were severed from that initial action to form the basis for this action, Case No. 17-cv-1202-JPG.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of those claims 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).

         After fully considering the relevant allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court concludes that two claims in this action survive threshold review.

         The Complaint

         The allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 2) relevant to this severed action are as follows: Plaintiff suffers from chronic back and knee pain. (Doc. 2, 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. 2, 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.

         Because 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 bunk. Id. Plaintiff 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 defendant), 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.

         On April 26, 2017, Plaintiff had a medical visit with Ahmed. (Doc. 2, p. 9). During this visit, Plaintiff asked Ahmed for joint supplements, an “actual” knee brace, and a bottom bunk permit. (Doc. 2, 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. Id.

         Plaintiff 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. 2, 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. 2, p. 10). ...

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