United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
is a federal prisoner, currently incarcerated at Butner
Federal Medical Center in North Carolina
(“Butner”). He brings this pro se action
for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by
persons acting under the color of federal authority. See
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).
His claims arose while he was detained at the USP-Marion
(“Marion”). Plaintiff claims that Defendants, all
medical providers at Marion, were deliberately indifferent to
a serious medical condition. This case is now before the
Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 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).
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).
these standards, the Court finds that Plaintiff's
deliberate indifference claim survives threshold review under
suffers from “stage 4” kidney failure, and is now
dependent on dialysis for his survival. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 4).
He has been a federal prisoner since 2009, and was initially
housed at MDC-Puerto Rico. Id. In June of 2010 he
was transferred to Marion, and he remained there until May
2014, when he was moved to another institution. (Doc. 1, pp.
the time Plaintiff spent at Marion, he underwent blood
testing and urinalysis in June 2010, June 2012, and August
2013. Plaintiff asserts that his test results showed high
levels of creatinine and cholesterol, and indicated that he
was developing kidney problems, yet he was led to believe
that all his lab results were normal. Specifically, Physician
Assistant Castillo ordered tests in June 2012, which showed
creatinine of 1.9 and cholesterol of 237. (Doc. 1, p. 3).
Plaintiff alleges that from these results, Castillo
“knew” that Plaintiff was at risk of harm from
his kidney condition, yet failed to order monthly tests to
monitor his condition, and failed to refer him to a
Szoke (clinical director) reviewed Plaintiff's June 2012
test results, which showed high levels of blood and protein
in Plaintiff's urine, indicating kidney failure. However,
Szoke did not order a nephrologist consultation or any
further testing or treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4).
August 2013, blood tests ordered by Physician Assistant
Duncan showed a higher creatinine level of 2.1, which
indicated kidney failure, according to Plaintiff. Duncan did
nothing to address the risk to Plaintiff's health,
failing to refer Plaintiff to Dr. Szoke or to a specialist,
and did not schedule additional testing. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
asserts that Szoke was aware from his medical records that
Plaintiff was experiencing kidney failure in 2012 and 2013,
yet disregarded the risk to his health and never informed
Plaintiff of the problem. Szoke's failure to treat
Plaintiff's condition or refer him to a specialist during
the 3 years Plaintiff was at Marion, led to Plaintiff
developing irreversible stage 4 kidney failure. (Doc. 1, pp.
4-5). In May 2014, Szoke “allowed Plaintiff to be
transferred . . . while he knew Plaintiff's kidneys were
rapidly deteriorating[.]” (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Plaintiff's transfer to FCI-Jesup, his medical providers
there diagnosed him with kidney disease and sent him to a
nephrologist who concluded that his disease was chronic and
serious, eventually worsening to stage 5. (Doc. 1, pp. 5,
18-19). The Jesup providers informed Plaintiff that the
Defendants at Marion knew from his 2012 and 2013 lab reports
that he was experiencing kidney failure. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
also includes records from his current institution from 2016,
indicating that he continued to suffer from kidney disease.
(Doc. 1, pp. 20-23).
relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, and an injunction
to allow him to undergo a kidney transplant, transfer him to
FMC-Devins to receive the ...