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Fennell v. Dickson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 1, 2018

TONY N. FENNELL Y19999, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center. Plaintiff brings claims pertaining to his arrest and subsequent detention at the Madison County Jail (“Jail”). In connection with his claims, Plaintiff names Mike Dickson (Captain/Detective, Madison County Sheriff's Dept.), Dr. Blankenship (Physician, Madison County Jail), John Doe 1 (Unnamed Madison County Deputy), and John Doe 2 (Unnamed Madison County Correctional Officer).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the First Amended 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).

         The First Amended Complaint

         On September 10, 2015, following a traffic stop, Plaintiff was arrested by John Doe 1. (Doc. 10, p. 5). At the time of his arrest, Plaintiff was using crutches because he had recently undergone “major surgery” on his left patella. Id. Plaintiff was under strict instructions to not place any weight on the injured leg because doing so could cause irreparable damage. Id. Additionally, his surgeon had prescribed pain medication and antibiotics for the injured leg. Id. Although Plaintiff relayed this information to John Doe 1, he did not allow Plaintiff to use his crutches. Id. Instead, he told Plaintiff, “Just lean on me.” Id.

         Plaintiff was then transported to the Madison County Jail. Id. Plaintiff claims that after arriving at the Jail, he spoke with Captain Dickson. Id. He told Captain Dickson about his recent surgery and explained why he needed his crutches. Id. Captain Dickson told Plaintiff he did not care about his surgery or about his injury. Id. He also told Plaintiff that he would regret it if he did not find a way to walk to the interview room without his crutches. Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff “hobbled” to the interview room, experiencing excruciating pain. Id.

         Plaintiff next explained his situation to John Doe 2 and asked for his crutches. Id. John Doe 2 stated, “You made it to the interview room without them, you're fine without them, you think you can walk for a Captain and not walk for me, you can either walk or crawl I don't care.” Id. Plaintiff then asked John Doe 2 to contact his surgeon. John Doe 2 refused and said “if you can't walk then crawl.” Id.

         Several days after arriving at the Jail (between 3 and 7 days according to Plaintiff), Plaintiff met with Dr. Blankenship. Id. Plaintiff told Dr. Blankenship (1) about his recent surgery; (2) that he was in excruciating pain; (3) that he was being denied prescribed medication (pain medication, antibiotics, and “psych meds”); and (4) that he was being denied use of his crutches. (Doc. 10, p. 5). Plaintiff also showed Dr. Blankenship his surgical incision, which was still covered with a fresh dressing/bandage and asked Dr. Blankenship to contact his surgeon. (Doc. 10, pp. 5-6). Dr. Blankenship told Plaintiff to stop complaining and further stated as follows:

I don't need anyone telling me my job, not you, not your doctor, besides we only treat life threatening issues, you came in this way it's not my problem, if you wanted medical care you should have not got arrested.

(Doc. 10, p. 6).

         Plaintiff claims that, as a result of Defendants conduct, he suffered unnecessarily and has long-term, if not permanent, damage to his left knee. Id. He claims that the Defendants violated his constitutional rights as well as the Americans ...

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