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Teen v. Brandy

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 27, 2018

ANTRELL TEEN, # 461504, Plaintiff,


          Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee, confined at the St. Clair County Jail (“the Jail”). He originally brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 5, 2017, and it was filed as Teen v. St. Clair Cnty. Jail, et al., Case No. 17-cv-594-JPG-SCW. Based on Plaintiff's original Complaint, several claims were severed from that case into 3 new actions pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007), and the claims remaining in the original case were dismissed with leave to amend.

         On January 3, 2018, based on Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 2 in the instant action), the Court severed Plaintiff's claim for deliberate indifference to his dental condition (labeled as Count 2) into this action. (Doc. 1). Count 2 is outlined as follows:

Count 2: Deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against Brandy, Barbara, Deborah, and Robin for failing to provide adequate dental care to Plaintiff after he repeatedly complained of dental issues.

(Doc. 1, p. 8). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For clarity, the original designation of this claim as Count 2 shall be retained in this case.

         Under § 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         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 “no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.” 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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Applying these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.

         The Complaint (Doc. 2)

         As relevant to Count 2 above, Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint that during his initial medical screening, he informed the intake nurse Brandy about his “oral needs, severe pain, infection, inability to eat on either side of [his] mouth, [and] needing a soft diet.” (Doc. 2, p. 7). Plaintiff's “medical needs for dental help went unattended from December 2015 until [they were] finally treated December 2016.” Id. During that year, Plaintiff experienced agonizing pain. Id. Plaintiff sent sick call requests for help to Brandy, Barbara, and others (whom he does not identify). He also submitted sick call requests on the kiosk located on the cellblock. Id. He believes Nurses Deborah and Robin view sick call requests and are supposed to book appointments so inmates can receive help. Id. Plaintiff submitted over 20 sick call requests but did not see a dentist for a year because the nurses responsible for setting appointments disregarded his requests. Id. “This custom of disregarding the complaints of inmates causes deprivation to medical needs.” Id.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 2, p. 10).


         Based on these allegations, Count 2 shall proceed for further consideration against some of the Defendants.

         Count 2 - Deliberate Indifference to ...

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