United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge
Andrew McKinnon, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big
Muddy”), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims that Doctor
Larson has denied him adequate medical care for numerous
ailments at Big Muddy since 2014. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-10). He now
asserts several Eighth Amendment claims against Doctor Larson
and the prison. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages
against both defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 11).
Complaint is now subject to preliminary 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
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).
Complaint survives screening under this standard.
alleges that he has generally been denied adequate medical
care at Big Muddy since 2014. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-10). During the
summer of 2014, he began suffering from headaches,
stomachaches, and digestive problems. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Between
August 2014 and May 2016, Plaintiff submitted numerous sick
call slips about these health issues. Id. Rather
than meeting with Doctor Larson to discuss them, he was
routinely scheduled to meet with a physician's assistant
instead. Id. Consequently, Plaintiff never learned
what caused his symptoms, and he never received treatment for
began to wonder if the prison's water was the culprit.
(Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). On October 24, 2015, he wrote a grievance
to Counselor Kimberlee Wharton stating his concerns. (Doc. 1,
p. 5). In the grievance, he traced his symptoms and the
suspected prison water problems back to June 18, 2014.
Id. When he received no response to the grievance,
Plaintiff wrote another one. Id. When he still
received no response, Plaintiff submitted a request for water
treatment records to the City of Carbondale pursuant to the
Freedom of Information Act. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). He also wrote
to Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Id. He was unable
to obtain any information which suggested to him that the
prison's water was tainted. Id. Still, his
symptoms persisted. Id.
the summer of 2015, Plaintiff fell from his top bunk bed onto
his hands and knees. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Unable to move, he lay
in pain on the floor for more than a half hour before help
arrived. Id. When an officer took him to the
prison's health care unit for treatment, a nurse gave
Plaintiff a single pack of 8-10 ibuprofen (200 mg) and sent
him back to his cell in excruciating pain. Id.
Plaintiff requested additional treatment by submitting a
nurse sick call slip, but his request was ignored. (Doc. 1,
pp. 6-7). Meanwhile, he continued seeking treatment for his
headaches, stomachaches, and digestive problems, to no avail.
(Doc. 1, p. 7).
April 2017, Plaintiff noticed an unusual protrusion on his
chest. (Doc. 1, p. 7). He submitted a request to meet with
Doctor Larson, but he was required to meet with a
physician's assistant instead. Id. Although
x-rays were ordered, Plaintiff did not meet with Doctor
Larson to discuss the results until August 21, 2017.
Id. On that date, the doctor indicated that the
x-rays did not explain why Plaintiff had a lump on his chest.
Id. When Doctor Larson questioned Plaintiff about
recent accidents, Plaintiff could only recall the fall from
his top bunk bed in 2015 and a traffic accident in 1991.
Id. The doctor admitted that the fall could have
caused Plaintiff's injury. Id. Even so, Doctor
Larson took no further steps to diagnose or treat the
condition, and he declined to send Plaintiff to an outside
provider for this purpose. Id.
also complains of ongoing problems obtaining prescription
refills. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He has taken Claritin for sinus
problems since he was 30 years old. Id. To obtain
prescription refills, he must submit multiple written
requests to see the doctor every other month and pay a $3.00