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Phillipss v. Riggs

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 11, 2018

WESLEY PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,
v.
RIGGS, and JOHN DOE Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. District Judge.

         Plaintiff Wesley Phillips, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the 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 Complaint

         Plaintiff suffered a seizure and was transferred to an outside hospital on March 15, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 9). His restraints were removed for a doctor's examination, but after the examination was over, Riggs handcuffed him too tightly. Id. Plaintiff told Riggs that the handcuffs were cutting off his circulation, but his pleas were ignored. Id. Doe also examined the handcuffs and told Riggs that they looked tight, but took no action. Id.

         Plaintiff asked Riggs again to loosen the cuffs, at which point Riggs grabbed the restraints and clicked them tighter, causing severe pain in Plaintiff's hands and fingers. Id. Doe failed to intervene. Id.

         Plaintiff was then airlifted to Champaign, Illinois. (Doc. 1, p. 10). He told the tech that he was in unbearable pain due to the handcuffs, but Riggs told the technician that Plaintiff would be fine. Id. Plaintiff was strapped to a gurney for the flight; the gurney made his restraints more painful. Id. Plaintiff lost feeling in his right hand during the flight. Id. Upon arrival at the hospital, Plaintiff asked Riggs for medical personnel to examine his hands; Riggs ignored the request. Id. Plaintiff experienced spasms and pain in his right hand for the next 4 days. Id.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 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 following claims survive threshold review:

Count 1 - Riggs and John Doe used excessive force on Plaintiff in violation of the Eighth Amendment when Riggs applied overly tight handcuffs to Plaintiff and ...

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