United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
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.
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 Plaintiff's claims
survive threshold review.
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
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
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
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).
seeks monetary damages for the violation of his rights. (Doc.
1, p. 8).
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.
1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Dr. Johnnie, for failing to give Plaintiff medication
to relieve his severe tooth pain, causing him to ...