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Medford v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 13, 2018

SCOTT A. MEDFORD, Y22728, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Scott Medford, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, brings this pro se action for violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that allegedly occurred at St. Clair County Jail (“Jail”). (Doc. 22). Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), six claims were severed from this action, leaving several counts regarding boil orders at the Jail, Plaintiff's need for medication and an initial mental health assessment at the Jail, and Plaintiff's access to the law library, at issue in this case.

         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 Third Amended Complaint, the Court concludes that this action will be referred past the threshold stage.

         The Third Amended Complaint

         In his Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 22), Plaintiff makes the following allegations.

         A. Unsafe Water

         On February 2, 2017, Plaintiff woke to decreased water pressure at 8:00am. (Doc. 22, p. 11). At 9:00am, the detainees were told not to drink the water. Id. They asked Nurse Barbara for clean water and were denied. Id. C/O Smith “then told the block it was safe to drink the water.” Id. Smith had been told at roll call that the inmates were not supposed to drink the water. Id. Plaintiff then got sick, with stomach pain, headache, and diarrhea for 24 to 48 hours. Id. Plaintiff “was losing more fluids and wasn't getting enough water, [and] the medical staff did not answer [Plaintiff's] complaints, knowing [they] couldn't drink the water.” Id.

         B. Medical Staff Neglect

         St. Clair County medical staff neglected to give Plaintiff medication that he was prescribed in 2010 by Dr. Onmayad prior to his transfer to the Jail. Id. When Plaintiff was screened at the Jail at the beginning of his incarceration, he told them he had mental problems and had been prescribed medication for it by Dr. Onmayad. Id. “They never gave [Plaintiff his] medication or anything else to help treat [his] mental issues which [Plaintiff] felt got worst [sic] or made [him] feel not right.” (Doc. 22, pp. 11-12). It took four months for Plaintiff to get assessed again for his mental health. (Doc. 22, p. 12). Plaintiff submitted multiple captain complaints and sick calls about medical issues to medical staff supervisors and administration. Id. Plaintiff “constantly asked nurses for help during med-pass but nothing was done.” Id. A lack of mental health medication causes Plaintiff “serious mental health harm” and made it unbearable for him to be incarcerated. Id.

         “They knew about it from day one when ‘John Doe' did the screening.” Id. St. Clair County administration Phillip McLaurin “is avoiding the grievance procedure by not acknowledging the Captain Complaint forms.” Id.

         C. Access to Law Library

         Plaintiff was denied access to the law library January 22, 2017 through April 2, 2017. Id. “Staff members are also inadequate in their assistance of detainees with respect to preparing meaningful legal documents.” Id. Mike Resporra and C/O Fordson “refuse to get inmates copies, and inmates also cannot purchase pens at commissary, which makes it difficult for them to complete legal documents.” Id. There is just one computer for 400 inmates, and it “is always not working.” (Doc. 22, pp. 12-13). There are also no books in the law library, and “there is no assistance.” (Doc. 22, p. 13). Plaintiff submitted captain complaint forms but received no response. Id. Plaintiff saw Sgt. Nichols not taking the captain complaint forms so that they would not be addressed. Id. Despite this, McLaurin “is aware of the library situation.” Id. This four-month denial of ...

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