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Wyma v. State

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 22, 2018

CHRISTOPHER WYMA, #Y-20504, Plaintiff,
STATE OF ILLINOIS, and IDOC, Defendants.



         Plaintiff Christopher Wyma, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. 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).

         As a part of screening, the Court is also allowed to sever unrelated claims against different defendants into separate lawsuits. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). In George, the Seventh Circuit emphasized that the practice of severance is important, “not only to prevent the sort of morass” produced by multi-claim, multi-defendant suits “but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Id. This practice is encouraged. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has recently warned district courts not to allow inmates “to flout the rules for joining claims and defendants, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 18, 20, or to circumvent the Prison Litigation Reform Act's fee requirements by combining multiple lawsuits into a single complaint.” Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017). See also Wheeler v. Talbot, 695 F. App'x 151 (7th Cir. 2017) (district court should have severed unrelated and improperly joined claims or dismissed one of them). Consistent with George, Owens, and Wheeler, unrelated claims will be severed into new cases, given new case numbers, and assessed separate filing fees.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations spanning two different prisons. The Court will organize his allegations by prison.

         A. Stateville NRC

         On March 24, 2017, Plaintiff “was placed on an emergency shipment to Stateville NRC (IDOC) after receiving a sentence of 2 natural life sentences.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff did not have paperwork, medical records, or his property when he was sent to Stateville. Id. Because of this, Stateville was unprepared to process him. Id. “Even after learning [Plaintiff] had none of [his] records, they failed to have them faxed. [Plaintiff] was not seen by doctors, or screened for anything.” Id. Plaintiff told staff that he took several medications for medical and psychological problems, but one guard told Plaintiff to stop trying to tell them, threatening that if he did not stop he would “need meds for real.” Id.

         Plaintiff was told he would do intake on another day. Id. On March 27, 2017, Plaintiff was told he needed to complete intake. Id. He “did everything except medical and psych. This caused [Plaintiff] to be delayed even longer in receiving [his] medication. [He] was also never given a TB test.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff wrote multiple health slips, talked to nurses, and told corrections officers that he needed his medication. Id. He was completely ignored or told that there was nothing they could do. Id. He was eventually seen by medical on April 10, 2017, 16 days after he was processed. Id.

         Venlafaxine, which is one of the medications Plaintiff takes for severe depression, causes withdrawal symptoms if it is not taken daily. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff “experienced dizziness, loss of appetite, stomach aches/pain, weakness, throwing up, and bowel incontinence.” Id. Even after explaining that he was going through withdrawals, Plaintiff was ignored. Id. When he saw the doctor on April 10, he received a tuberculosis test and was prescribed Dicyclomine, which he takes for severe stomach pains, and Famotidine for his acid reflux. Id. After seeing the doctor, Plaintiff “still did not see psych, or receive any of [his] psychotropic medications.” Id.

         The doctor claimed they did not have Plaintiff's records, and when they called Cook County Jail to get his records, they claimed they had never heard of Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 7). The doctor told Plaintiff that he could not prescribe Plaintiff medication for his psychological issues without his records. Id.

         B. Menard ...

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