United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge United States District Court
matter is now before the Court for consideration of the First
Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Bryan McClurkin on
November 30, 2017. (Doc. 11). Plaintiff is currently
incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center
("Stateville"). He brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. §1983 against current and former employees of
Menard Correctional Center ("Menard") and the
Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") who
allegedly denied him medical care for injuries he sustained
when his chair collapsed during a "shakedown" at
Menard on or around April 8, 2014. (Doc. 11, pp. 11-20).
Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment and monetary damages
against the defendants. (Doc. 11, pp. 20-21).
First Amended Complaint is now subject to review 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). Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint survives
screening under this standard.
alleges that he was badly injured during a shakedown that was
conducted by Menard's Orange Crush Tactical Team on or
around April 8, 2014. (Doc. 11, pp. 11-20). At the time, he
was cuffed behind his back and seated in a chair in the
prison's auditorium. (Doc. 11, p. 11). The chair suddenly
collapsed, and Plaintiff fell to the floor. Id. As
he fell, Plaintiffs lower neck and shoulder hit a metal brace
that supported several adjoined chairs. Id. He
landed on his cuffed wrists. Id. Plaintiff
immediately felt intense pain in his wrists and neck.
Winters helped Plaintiff up and asked him if he needed
medical treatment. (Doc. 11, p. 11). Plaintiff stated that he
did. Id. The officer escorted Plaintiff to see Mike
Nelson, a medical technician who was stationed in the area.
Id. Despite the emergency nature of Plaintiffs
injuries, Nelson took his blood pressure but explained that
there was nothing else he could do during the ongoing
tactical operation. (Doc. 11, p. 12). He told Plaintiff that
someone would "follow up" with him later, but no
one ever did. Id.
filed an inmate grievance two days later. (Doc. 11, p. 12).
He sent it directly to the Office of Inmate Issues on April
10, 2014. Id. Hearing nothing, he filed an emergency
grievance with Warden Kimberly Butler on or around April 17,
2014. Id. He complained of intense pain and
numbness. Id. Warden Butler agreed that the
grievance presented an emergency. Id. Even so, a
grievance officer later determined that the grievance was
"moot, " and Butler concurred with the decision.
Id. Plaintiff blames this decision on an unnamed
nurse who incorrectly stated that Plaintiff refused medical
attention and "chose to go to yard" on a day that
yard was cancelled. (Doc. 11, p. 13).
saw Doctor Fuentes on April 22, 2014. (Doc. 11, pp. 13, 25).
He was given naproxen for pain at the appointment, but it was
ineffective. Id. On May 11, 2014, Nurse Martha
Oakley noted Plaintiffs complaints of persistent neck pain
and numbness in his fingers and hand, but she allegedly
"sat idly by as ibuprofen was prescribed again [and]
again with full knowledge it didn't work." (Doc. 11,
pp. 4, 13).
continued to request medical treatment for his injuries, but
his appointments were "constantly being cancelled."
(Doc. 11, p. 13). When he was seen, Plaintiff regularly
complained that his pain was "constant" and
"spreading, " and his treatment with naproxen and
ibuprofen was ineffective. Id. His medical records
reflected the onset of additional symptoms, including a
"gait disturbance, limitation of movement[, ] and
distress and/or pain with movement." (Doc. 11, pp.
13-14). However, no changes were made to his treatment plan.
20, 2014, Nurse Practitioner M. Moldenhauer examined
Plaintiff after he complained of "spreading pain."
(Doc. 11, p. 14). Although Moldenhauer charged Plaintiff a
$5.00 copayment for services, "no action" was taken
to treat him. Id. An x-ray was taken of Plaintiffs
back and spine on June 24, 2014, and Nurse Rupport noted that
the x-ray was "done." (Doc. 11, p. 30). It showed
"'multi-level' degeneration" that was
"most prominent in [his] mid[-] to lower[-] thoracic
region, " according to Doctor Ha's interpretation of
the test results. (Doc. 11, p. 14). Despite these results,
Doctor Ha and Nurse Rupport made no recommendations for
treatment, and Moldenhauer reduced Plaintiffs prescription
for pain relievers from 400 milligrams of ibuprofen to 325
milligrams of Tylenol on July 3, 2014. (Doc. 11, pp. 6, 14,
filed another grievance on September 22, 2014. (Doc. 11, p.
14). He complained of "constant neck [and] back pain, a
numb finger on his right hand[, ] and an entire left arm that
[wa]s numb." Id. Plaintiff explained that his
past treatment with pain relievers was ineffective, and he
requested an MRI to determine the cause of his increasing
pain and numbness. Id. Nursing Supervisor Charlotte
Miget noted Plaintiffs complaints and his request for an MRI
on October 10, 2014, but she took no action on the request.
(Doc. 11, p. 15). The grievance officer declared the issue
"moot, " and Warden Butler concurred. Id.
Plaintiff appealed, and the Administrative Review Board
("ARB") and IDOC Director Salvadore Godinez denied
the appeal. Id. In a "desperate attempt to
allev[iate] the pain, " Plaintiff purchased additional