United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”), has brought this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff claims that the defendants have been
deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition. The
Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Section 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 some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review.
has two bumps/growths on his neck, which were diagnosed as
keloids sometime in early 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12, 18). In
approximately June 2017, he complained that the bumps were
growing in size and had become painful and irritating. (Doc.
1, pp. 8, 18). In August 2017, Plaintiff saw Dr. Siddiqui
about this problem. At Plaintiff's request, Dr. Siddiqui
sought approval to send Plaintiff to an outside doctor for
the keloids to be surgically removed. (Doc. 1, pp. 2, 22,
27). Dr. Siddiqui did not give Plaintiff any medication for
the condition. (Doc. 1, p. 2). In an apparent reference to
Dr. Siddiqui, Plaintiff says “the doctor” told
him that there was no medication that would help the pain, so
he put in a request for surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
August 18, 2017, Dr. Ritz denied the request for a surgical
evaluation. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 22, 27). Plaintiff asserts, and
his medical record reflects, that Dr. Ritz and Dr. Siddiqui
were aware that the keloids were painful, caused
“intermittent burning, stinging, and itching, ”
and were “tender to palpation.” (Doc. 1, pp. 1,
22). Dr. Ritz noted that removal of the
keloids/nodules “is considered cosmetic and does not
meet guidelines.” (Doc. 1, p. 22). Plaintiff contends
that by denying the surgery and leaving Plaintiff to suffer
in pain, Dr. Ritz violated his Eighth Amendment rights. (Doc.
1, p. 8).
to Plaintiff, Dr. Siddiqui “is trying or did stop the
process, of the mentally stress & further results I was
suppose[d] to have done, that N.P. Zimmer put me in for, an
ultrasound!” (Doc. 1, p. 8). Dr. Siddiqui told
Plaintiff he did not know why the keloids developed, when
other scars in the same area did not lead to keloids.
the other defendants, Plaintiff states that he saw Nurse Moll
about the keloids at a sick call in 2017, and he wants to sue
her. (Doc. 1, p. 2). He saw N.P. (Nurse Practitioner) Zimmer
on December 8, 2017, about the two cyst-like areas. (Doc. 1,
p. 3). Nurse Heather told Plaintiff that the bumps
“could be a fatty tumor, ” and that it didn't
“sit well with her” because it had an oval, not
circular, shape. She believed the condition was “a
problem.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff lists
“Wexford” as a defendant along with Dr. Ritz.
(Doc. 1, p. 1).
Lashbrook denied Plaintiff's emergency grievance and
returned it to Plaintiff stating his problem was not an
emergency. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The grievance stated that
Plaintiff was in daily pain, and he feared the cysts could be
relief, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief to require Dr. Ritz
to approve surgery to remove the keloids. (Doc. 1, p. 10). He
also seeks compensatory damages. Plaintiff further states
that a “Nurse Tee” (whom he does not include as a
defendant) told him on April 7, 2018, that she would
recommend steroid shots for the keloids, and he wants to have
this steroid treatment approved. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into the
following 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
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Dr. Ritz, for denying
Plaintiff's referral for possible surgery to remove his
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Wexford, in connection with
Plaintiff's request for possible surgery to remove ...