United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JAMES E. DUNMORE, #R-64188, Plaintiff,
NICHOLAS R. LAMB, WEXFORD, LORIE CUNNINGHAM, DR. STEVE MEEKS, DR. F. AHMED, CLANDIA DOWTY, SHERRY COLLINS, MS. BROOKS, JANE DOE NURSE #1, JANE DOE NURSE #2, JANE DOE NURSE #3, JOHN DOE CORRECTION OFFICERS #1, JOHN DOE CORRECTION OFFICERS #2, JOHN DOE CORRECTION OFFICERS #3, and ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
James E. Dunmore, an inmate currently housed at Lawrence
Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), filed this
pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Among other things, Plaintiff claims that
Defendants have exhibited deliberate indifference to his
chronic back pain. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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
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.
underwent back surgery in 2011. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The back
surgery left Plaintiff confined to a wheelchair. Id.
Additionally, because of his back condition, Plaintiff
suffers from serious “physical pain” and
“nerve damage pain.” Id. In 2012,
Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence. Id. At that
time, Lawrence physicians prescribed Tramadol (100 milligrams
three times a day) and Neurontin (900 milligrams in the
morning and afternoon and 1200 milligrams in the evening) to
control Plaintiff's pain. (Doc. 1, p. 6). According to
Plaintiff, this pain management regimen effectively
controlled his pain. Id. Additionally, Plaintiff
asserts that he is a mental health patient and that this pain
management regimen was an important aspect of controlling his
stress and anxiety. Id.
is a controlled medication. Id. Therefore, Plaintiff
went to the Health Care Unit to obtain his midday dose from
the nurses on duty. Id. On September 14, 2017, Dr.
Ahmed told Plaintiff “the nurses no longer want
[Plaintiff] to come to the Health Care Unit to receive his 12
noon pain meds, and wanted him (Dr. Ahmed) to take
[Plaintiff] off his 12 noon dosage.” Id.
Plaintiff objected, stating that Dr. Ahmad, and not the
nurses, should be making decisions about Plaintiff's
medication. Id. Dr. Ahmed explained that, even
though he was the medical director, he needed to get along
with the nurses because they run the Health Care Unit.
Id. Accordingly, to avoid conflict, Dr. Ahmed
complied with the nurses' request. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
after relaying this information, Dr. Ahmad had Plaintiff
speak with Nurse Brooks, “so she [could] tell
[Plaintiff] just what was going to take place from this
point, not the doctor.” Id. Nurse Brooks told
Plaintiff that, from now on, he would receive his pain
medication in two doses - morning and night. Id.
Plaintiff objected, telling Nurse Brooks that his prior
physicians prescribed the noon dosage to address breakthrough
pain. Id. Additionally, Plaintiff told Nurse Brooks
that taking the same amount of medication in two (as opposed
to three) doses would require Plaintiff to take too much
medication at one time. Id. The Complaint suggests
that Nurse Brooks disregarded Plaintiff's concerns. (Doc.
1, pp. 7, 21-22).
next few days, Plaintiff submitted several sick call requests
regarding back pain, but did not receive a response. (Doc. 1,
p. 7). At approximately 1:30 a.m. on September 19,
2017, Plaintiff began experiencing severe pain. Id.
He spoke with the on-duty correctional officer, who said he
would place Plaintiff on the sick call list. Id.
Then, on the evening of September 19, 2017, Plaintiff spoke
with Jane Doe #1 (described in the body of the Complaint as
the on duty nurse responsible for delivering medication to
inmates) about his severe back pain. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Jane Doe
#1 said she would place Plaintiff on the sick call list, but
declined to give Plaintiff additional pain medication.
Id. Plaintiff waited all day on September 20, 2017,
but was not called to see a physician. Id.
September 21, 2017,  Plaintiff called a family member, Ms.
Machado, and explained that he was in severe pain but had not
been called to see a physician. Id. Ms. Machado
contacted Assistant Warden Brookhart and told him Plaintiff
was in extreme pain and, despite several requests, had yet to
receive medical attention. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Assistant Warden
Brookhart said he would make sure Plaintiff received the
necessary medical care. Id. Ms. Machado also called
“IDOC in Springfield.” Id. “The
IDOC told Ms. Machado that they would contact the
Warden.” Id. The following day, Warden
Brookhart called Ms. Machado and, once again, assured her
Plaintiff would be given access to a doctor. Id.
September 23, 2017, Plaintiff “broke down and began
screaming as a result of the pain he was experiencing.”
(Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). A correctional officer contacted the
Health Care Unit and learned that, per Assistant Warden
Brookhart, Plaintiff was supposed to have been seen by a
doctor on the previous day. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Accordingly,
Plaintiff was taken to the Health Care Unit to be seen by Dr.
this visit, Dr. Ahmed reiterated that the nurses did not want
him to prescribe midday pain medication for Plaintiff. (Doc.
1, pp. 10, 23-24). Dr. Ahmed said he did not want to upset
the nurses or have any problems with them. Id. Dr.
Ahmed then spoke with Plaintiff's ADA Assistant, telling
him the same thing. Id. When Plaintiff objected, Dr.
Ahmed contemplated prescribing Tylenol-3. Id.
Plaintiff told Dr. Ahmed that, like Tramadol, Tylenol-3 was a
controlled medication. Id. Accordingly, Tylenol-3
also had to be dispensed by the nurses. Id. Dr.
Ahmed told Plaintiff he would have to speak with one of the
nurses. (Doc. 1, p. 24). Shortly after Dr. Ahmed made that
statement, Nurse Collins entered the examination room,
“telling the doctor what to do.” Id.
Ultimately, Dr. Ahmed did not prescribe Tylenol-3 (or any
other midday pain medication). (Doc. 1, pp. 10, 24). Instead,
“once again Dr. Ahmed did as the nurses told
him.” (Doc. 1, p. 10).
submitted emergency grievances to Warden Lamb on September
21, 22, and 23. (Doc. 1, pp. 9, 21-26). In the grievances,
Plaintiff claimed as follows: (1) following back surgery in
2011, Plaintiff had been “confined to a wheelchair with
both physical and serious nerve damage pain;” (2)
between 2011 and 2017 he had an effective pain management
regimen, which had been prescribed by previous physicians;
(3) on September 14, 2017, Dr. Ahmed and various nurses
withdrew Plaintiff's midday Tramadol prescription for
nonmedical reasons; and (4) the change in Plaintiff's
pain management regimen was causing Plaintiff severe pain.
(Doc. 1, pp. 21-26). Warden Lamb concluded the grievances
were not an emergency and directed Plaintiff to submit his
grievances in the normal manner. Id.
September and November, Plaintiff continued to experience
pain and submitted numerous sick call requests. (Doc. 1, pp.
10-11). He also “stop[p]ed everyone that he [saw] to
try and get him to see a doctor for the pain he [had] been
suffering with because Defendants at the Health Care Unit
failed to adequately manage [his] pain.” (Doc. 1, p.
11). Plaintiff claims that the ongoing pain put his
“mental stability in question[, ]” requiring him
to contact his mental health specialist. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
was not given access to the Health Care Unit again until
November 15, 2017. The examining nurse “Jane Doe”
expressed annoyance and asked what Plaintiff was crying
about. (Doc. 1, p. 11). She then said Plaintiff should see
the doctor on November 16, 2017. However, Plaintiff was not
called to see the doctor on November 16, 2017.
connection with the above allegations, Plaintiff states that
he is pursuing claims for deliberate indifference, failure to
intervene, civil conspiracy, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. (Doc. 1, pp. 11-18). Plaintiff is seeking
monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 19).
of Certain Defendants
outlining Plaintiff's claims, the Court finds it
appropriate to address Plaintiff's failure to include
sufficiently specific allegations against Health Care Unit
Administrator Cunningham, IDOC Medical Director Meeks, Nurse
Dowty, Jane Doe Nurse #2, Jane Doe Nurse #3, and the three
groups of John Doe Correction Officers. Plaintiffs are
required to associate specific defendants with specific
claims, so that defendants are put on notice of the claims
brought against them and so they can properly answer the
complaint. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
plaintiff does not include a defendant in his statement of
claim, or includes only conclusory legal statements against
him, the defendant cannot be said to be adequately put on
notice of which claims in the complaint, if any, are directed
against him. See Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331,
334 (7th Cir. 1998). See also Brooks v. Ross, 578
F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009) (courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements”).
Furthermore, merely invoking the name of a potential
defendant is not sufficient to state a claim against that
individual. Collins, 143 F.3d at 334. And in the
case of those defendants in supervisory positions, the
doctrine of respondeat superior is not applicable to
§ 1983 actions. Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266
F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted).
set forth more fully below, the Complaint does not include
sufficiently specific allegations as to Health Care Unit
Administrator Cunningham, IDOC Medical Director Meeks, Nurse
Dowty, Jane Doe Nurse #2, Jane Doe Nurse #3, or the John Doe
Correction Officers. As such, these defendants will be
dismissed without prejudice.