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Carson v. Illinois Dept. of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 6, 2018

JAMES CARSON, # B-04516, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, ROBINSON CORRECTIONAL CTR., WEXFORD MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, VIPIN SHAH, PHILLIP MARTIN, and MONICA CARRELL, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition. The Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review 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 some of Plaintiff's claims survive threshold review under Section 1915A.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from an eye condition (which he does not name) that has caused his eyesight to deteriorate. (Doc. 1, p. 5). While he was in the Cook County Jail, he was referred to Stroger Hospital for treatment with shots in his eyes. The doctor there told Plaintiff that if he did not get those shots, he would go blind. Id. According to Plaintiff, the IDOC and “Wexford Medical Department” have medical records documenting Plaintiff's treatment at Stroger Hospital.

         In July 2017, Plaintiff was transferred to Robinson. He has seen a doctor several times, and was taken to an outside hospital, but he has never been given the shots that he needs to prevent blindness. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). His eyes have become worse, and for nine months Plaintiff has never been sent to an outside doctor for the injections he needs. Plaintiff alleges that he has asked for help numerous times, but help has been denied. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         In the “Grievance Procedure” section of the form Complaint, Plaintiff states that he talked to Martin (the Robinson Health Care Administrator) about a referral. Martin told Plaintiff “it was up to Springfield” to approve his treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Dr. Shah repeated this same information when Plaintiff spoke to him. Id.

         Plaintiff appears to be seeking injunctive relief to be given treatment for his eye condition, as well as money damages. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         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 two 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 Martin and Shah, for failing to pursue timely authorization for Plaintiff to receive specialist treatment for his serious eye condition;
Count 2: Claims against the Illinois Department of Corrections, Robinson Correctional Center, Wexford Medical Department, and Carrell, in connection with Plaintiff's need for specialist ...

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