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Njos v. Coe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 12, 2018

CHRIS NJOS, Plaintiff,


          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Chris Njos, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 4). 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

          In December 2016, Plaintiff began to experience health issues, which he alleges have been met with deliberate indifference by the staff at Menard. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Specifically, Plaintiff has had a swollen lymph node behind his left ear since December 2016, which has caused him pain, pressure in his neck, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Id. He has also consistently experienced high blood pressure. Id.

         On April 9, 2017, a non-defendant guard, Sgt. Smith, noticed that Plaintiff was dizzy and asked the health care unit to send a wheelchair and admit Plaintiff on an emergency basis. Defendant Jane Doe refused to send a wheelchair because Plaintiff “had been to health care too many times already.” (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Plaintiff was eventually escorted to the health care unit where he was examined by Defendant Marshall. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Despite reading Plaintiff's blood pressure as 170/100, Marshall, contrary to the health care unit's policy, declined to issue an emergency referral for Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff also told Marshall that his blood pressure medication was not working; Marshall instructed Plaintiff to “take it easy” and sent him back to his cell house. Id.

         Plaintiff had a pass to see Defendant Dr. Coe on May 4, 2017, but when he arrived in the health care unit, Coe informed him that his pass should have been cancelled. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Coe conducted a perfunctory exam of Plaintiff's neck and took his blood pressure. Id. Coe told Plaintiff there would be a follow-up visit the following week, but he never followed up with Plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff saw Marshall again on May 13, 2017. Id. Marshall put Plaintiff on the doctor's call list, but despite multiple sick call slips, Plaintiff did not see Coe again until May 26, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff alleges that John/Jane Does did not “do their jobs” in refusing to process Plaintiff's sick call slips. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         During the May 26, 2017 visit with Dr. Coe (which was Plaintiff's annual physical), Plaintiff tried to raise his swollen lymph node and blood pressure issues, but Dr. Coe refused to discuss them. He told Plaintiff “this place is going to shit” and that he planned on leaving soon. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff was escorted to the health care unit again, where Coe refused to listen to him, painfully squeezed his swollen neck, and made his ear bleed. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Coe diagnosed an ear infection. When Plaintiff complained that it had taken 6 months to get a diagnosis, Coe screamed, “You have aids! We're done!” Id.

         Two days later, Plaintiff suffered what he believed to be a seizure, and was taken to the health care unit with high blood pressure. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). He was placed on a 24-hour hold, but Defendant Walters released him back to general population to make room, despite the fact that the 24 hours had not elapsed. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Walters told Plaintiff that a doctor would check on him right away, but no one came. (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11). A med tech referred Plaintiff to the doctor the next day on June 11, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 11).

         Plaintiff saw Defendant Dr. Siddiqui on June 14, 2017. Id. He recommended a CT scan on Plaintiff's neck and a neurology evaluation. Id. The CT scan was performed on July 18, 2017. Id.

         Plaintiff did not have a follow-up visit to discuss the results of the CT scan until August 13, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Dr. Siddiqui told Plaintiff that there was nothing wrong with him, but Plaintiff pointed out that the CT scan showed 1) lesions on his major salivary glands, 2) mild bilateral maxillary sinus disease; and 3) mild scoliosis of ...

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