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Medford v. Bonjack

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 27, 2018

SCOTT A. MEDFORD, #Y22728, Plaintiff,


          Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge

         This matter is now before the Court for consideration of the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 12) filed by Plaintiff Scott Medford on February 15, 2018. The instant case was severed from a civil rights action that Plaintiff filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights at St. Clair County Jail (“Jail”). See Medford v. McLaurin, Case No. 17-cv-243-JPG (S.D. Ill.). This case addresses a single claim against Sergeant Bonjack and Nurse John or Jane Doe for exposing Plaintiff to staph infection. (“Count 8, ” original action). The Court screened the claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A in the original Complaint and First Amended Complaint, but it did not survive preliminary review either time. (Docs. 5, 11). Plaintiff now reasserts the claim in a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 12).

         Count 8 is once again 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 such relief.

See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 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).

         Second Amended Complaint

         According to the allegations in the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff was exposed to an inmate, named Arthur Hunsicker, who suffered from staph infection. (Doc. 12, p. 10). Inmate Hunsicker complained of a rapidly spreading infection for a week before receiving antibiotic treatment from a nurse. Id. He remained in Plaintiff's cell block for two weeks before being transferred to the infirmary. Id.

         During this time period, Plaintiff frequently encountered Inmate Hunsicker in the chow hall and dayroom. (Doc. 12, p. 10). Plaintiff was housed in cell #9, and Inmate Hunsicker was housed in cell #11. Id. The two inmates often sat near one another at meals. Id. Their clothing and skin frequently touched. Id. Inmate Hunsicker's staph infection was visible to Plaintiff and caused him to fear infection. Id. After each encounter with Inmate Hunsicker, Plaintiff routinely returned to his cell and washed his body with cold water. Id.

         The conditions at the Jail were generally unclean. (Doc. 12, p. 10). These conditions included moldy showers, cold showers, and weekly clothing changes. Id. Although Plaintiff is pursuing a separate suit to challenge the conditions, he maintains that the same conditions increased his risk of contracting staph infection from Inmate Hunsicker. See Medford v. Unknown Party, No. 17-cv-01012-JPG (S.D. Ill.). However, the Second Amended Complaint does not indicate that Plaintiff or any other inmates were diagnosed with staph following their exposure to Inmate Hunsicker or that they exhibited any symptoms of infection. (Doc. 12, pp. 10-11).

         On April 26, 2017, the entire block wrote a Captain Complaint to an unnamed administrator and supervisor, asking them to send Inmate Hunsicker out for treatment. (Doc. 12, p. 10). Even after the inmates complained, Inmate Hunsicker refused to lock down. Id. Sergeant Bonjack inspected him and sent him back to his cell. Id.

         An unknown nurse, identified herein as Nurse John or Jane Doe, examined Inmate Hunsicker approximately one week into the relevant time period. (Doc. 12, p. 10). The nurse bandaged his “huge boils” and gave him antibiotics before telling Inmate Hunsicker to return to his cell block. (Doc. 12, p. 11). A week later on May 11, 2017, Inmate Hunsicker was moved into the infirmary. Id ...

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