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Wallace v. Lamb

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 25, 2018

GREGORY WALLACE, #R18196, Plaintiff,


          HERNDON, District Judge

         This matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Second Amended Complaint prepared by Attorney Edward C. Eytalis on behalf of Plaintiff Gregory Wallace. (Doc. 30). Plaintiff is incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and Illinois negligence law. In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that officials at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) refused to recognize a medical permit he was issued for a low bunk and low gallery in April 2017. (Doc. 30, pp. 1-6). As a result, Plaintiff sustained injuries when he fell down the prison's stairs. Id. He was denied medical care, as well as access to other prison programs and services. Id. Plaintiff names Lawrence's warden (Nicholas Lamb) and several unknown correctional officers (C/O John Doe ##1-3) as defendants. Id. He seeks monetary damages against them. (Doc. 30, pp. 3-4, 6).

         The Second Amended Complaint is subject to preliminary review 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. As discussed in more detail below, the Second Amended Complaint survives preliminary review.

         Second Amended Complaint

         According to the allegations set forth in the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff suffers from “serious weakness” in his left leg as a result of an old gunshot wound. (Doc. 30, pp. 2-5). Screws have been surgically placed in his left knee and hip, and a rod extends from his knee to his hip. Id. In addition, three slugs remain lodged in Plaintiff's left thigh. Id.

         Plaintiff has difficulty ascending and descending stairs. (Doc. 30, p. 4). As a result, he requires housing on the prison's lower level and assignment to a low bunk. Id. He also requires the use of assistive devices, such as a wheelchair, crutches, etc., to access programs and services at the prison. Id.

         During his incarceration at Lawrence on January 31, 2017, Plaintiff was issued a medical permit for a low gallery and low bunk assignment. (Doc. 30, pp. 2-3, 7). A medical provider at Lawrence issued the permit. (Doc. 30, p. 7). However, when Plaintiff presented it to C/O Doe #1 during the second week of April 2017, the correctional officer ignored it. (Doc. 30, p. 2). C/O Doe #1 said, “I don't make the rules and there are no open ADA cells on the low gallery.” Id. The same week, Plaintiff presented the permit to C/O Doe #2, and the second correctional officer also ignored it. Id.

         On April 18, 2017, Plaintiff fell down a flight of stairs while attempting to walk from his cell on an upper gallery. (Doc. 30, p. 2). He sustained a strain or sprain to his lower back, bruises to his inner thigh, and generalized pain. (Doc. 30, p. 3). Plaintiff was scheduled to see a doctor about his injuries the following day. Id.

         When Plaintiff presented C/O Doe #3 with his permit and asked to see the doctor the next day, the third correctional officer would not allow him to do so. (Doc. 30, p. 3). Plaintiff was instead transferred to another facility. Id. In the process, C/O Doe #3 also denied Plaintiff's request for use of a wheelchair, crutches, or ADA van. Id.

         Plaintiff now brings claims against the defendants for exhibiting deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment, violating his right to access prison programs and services under ...

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