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Noble v. Johnnie

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 21, 2018

KRISEAN NOBLE, # M-41490, Plaintiff,
DR. JOHNNIE, JOHN/JANE DOE #1 Nurse, and JOHN/JANE DOE #2 Nurse, Defendants.


          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants 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.

         Under 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).

         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 “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).

         Applying these standards, the Court finds that Plaintiff's claims survive threshold review.

         The Complaint

         Dr. Johnnie, the prison dentist, pulled one of Plaintiff's teeth on April 11, 2016. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 11-12). During the extraction, the tooth broke in half, leaving the root of the tooth behind in Plaintiff's jaw. Dr. Johnnie told Plaintiff that he could do nothing else, and he would send Plaintiff to an outside dentist for another procedure to correct the problem. Dr. Johnnie gave Plaintiff twelve tablets of 600 mg Ibuprofen, which would last three days. This medication was largely effective to control Plaintiff's pain.

         On April 14, 2016, Plaintiff returned to Dr. Johnnie for evaluation for any possible infection or swelling. At that time, Plaintiff's Ibuprofen had run out, and he told Dr. Johnnie that he needed more. Plaintiff reported that he was having headaches, he could barely eat because of the pain, and his pain was an “8” on a scale of 1 to 10. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 12). Dr. Johnnie told Plaintiff to keep taking his penicillin, but he did not give Plaintiff any more pain medication.

         On April 15, 2016, Plaintiff asked the nurse on the pill line to give him some pain medication. She told him that only Dr. Johnnie could give him the medication, because he had prescribed it. This nurse shall be identified as Jane Doe Nurse #1.

         On April 16, 2016, Plaintiff's housing unit officer called Health Care on Plaintiff's behalf in an attempt to get pain medication for him. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 12). Plaintiff could barely open his mouth to eat, and he was having excruciating headaches. Jane Doe Nurse #2 told the officer that she could not give Plaintiff any medication, and he would have to wait until Dr. Johnnie returned two days later, after the weekend. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff had to go without pain medication for nearly 5 days, during which he couldn't eat or sleep, and had unbearable headaches. (Doc. 1, p. 12). He suffered “the worst pain of [his] life” due to the lack of medication. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the violation of his rights. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         Based 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. Johnnie, for failing to give Plaintiff medication to relieve his severe tooth pain, causing him to ...

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