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Cordrey v. Lamb

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 22, 2018

MARK CORDREY, # R-17059, Plaintiff,


          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Mark Cordrey, currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his need for medical treatment after he was attacked by his cellmate. The Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         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

         On September 1, 2016, Plaintiff's cellmate attacked and stabbed him with a pen, injuring his left arm, right hand, and left leg. (Doc. 1 p. 7). Plaintiff pressed the panic button in his cell repeatedly during the attack, but nobody responded. At around 8:30 p.m., Plaintiff was called out of his cell to receive medication and the wing officer noticed that Plaintiff had blood on him from the wounds. However, the officer (whom Plaintiff identifies later in the Complaint as Goble), [1] delayed calling for help until the nurse departed. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8).

         Plaintiff told the nurse (Jane Doe 1) who issued his medications about his injuries, but she ignored him. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). After this nurse left, Plaintiff was taken to the Health Care Unit where he was treated and photographs were taken, but he was never given any pain medication.[2] (Doc. 1, p. 13). When Plaintiff returned from Health Care, he was placed in segregation under investigation status. (Doc. 1, pp. 7, 13, 30).

         Plaintiff remained in segregation for about a week. During that time, he was denied all access to sick call, even when he submitted request slips directly to a nurse/medical technician (Jane Doe 2). (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8, 13). Despite his daily requests for medical care, Plaintiff was given no treatment for his pain or for the wounds while in segregation. His bandages were never changed, and the wounds were not cleaned. (Doc. 1, p. 7). The tip of the pen had broken off and was still embedded in Plaintiff's arm. He had to dig it out himself because he was never seen by a medical provider for follow-up treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         Plaintiff also complains that he was denied protection from his cellmate and that officers failed to react in a reasonable time when he called for help during the assault. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff believes that Lt. Daco was the “reporting officer, ” Harris was the shift supervisor, and Jenny (whom he refers to as “Jennings” in the body of the Complaint) was the reviewing officer. (Doc. 1, p. 8). It appears that Plaintiff is naming these defendants as the officers on duty on the night he was attacked. Lamb and Gouns were wardens at Lawrence. Plaintiff alleges that they were deliberately indifferent to the actions of other staff who violated his rights. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Finally, Plaintiff asserts that he was denied his right to seek redress through the prison's grievance system, and claims that Lamb “retaliated” against him “unlawfully.” (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p. 9).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against all Defendants, for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for medical treatment of his stab wounds and pain after the September 1, 2016, attack by his cellmate;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for failure to protect Plaintiff from his cellmate's attack;
Count 3: Claim for denial of access to the prison's grievance ...

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