United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon United States District Judge
David Robert Bentz, an inmate who is currently incarcerated
at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
deprivations of his constitutional rights at Menard. (Doc.
1). In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that prison officials
failed to treat his neck injury and broken finger at Menard
in 2017-18. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-32). He also maintains that prison
officials harassed him. Id. Plaintiff asserts claims
against more than three dozen officials for violating his
rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as
well as Illinois state law. Id. He seeks declaratory
judgment, monetary damages, and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1,
Complaint is now subject to preliminary review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(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.
is a long-term general population prisoner, who is well-known
to this Court. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He has filed dozens of civil
rights actions-primarily in this District during the past
four years. (Doc. 1, p. 5). In his Complaint, Plaintiff
asserts that he was denied medical care for a broken finger
and an aggravated neck injury at Menard in 2017-18. (Doc. 1,
pp. 1-32). He also complains of ongoing harassment by certain
staff members during this same time period. Id.
Plaintiff brings claims against more than three dozen
defendants under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments
and Illinois state law. Id.
to the allegations in the Complaint, Plaintiff broke his left
ring finger on July 29, 2017, after it “somehow got
caught” in the bars of his cell door. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
Nurse Jane Doe #5 met with him on August 2, 2017.
Id. At the time, the prison was on lockdown.
Id. The nurse informed Plaintiff that his finger
appeared to be broken, but she would not send him for an
x-ray because Wexford Health Service (“Wexford”)
and Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) did not
deem broken fingers to be sufficiently serious. Id.
Nurse Jane Doe #5 also told Plaintiff that he would have to
wait until lockdown ended to see a doctor. Id. In
the meantime, she prepared a makeshift splint for
Plaintiff's broken finger using a tongue depressor and
tape. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8).
the same day, the Orange Crush Tactical Team conducted a
shakedown of the gallery where Plaintiff was housed. (Doc. 1,
p. 8). In the process, Plaintiff was cuffed behind his back,
ordered to put his head down, escorted to the chapel, and
forced to sit in a chair for up to two hours. Id.
This caused further pain in his finger and aggravated an old
neck injury. Id. When Plaintiff asked John Doe #1
(C/O Holder) for permission to see a nurse, the officer took
his splint and told Plaintiff to “shut the fuck
returned to his cell two hours later and learned that Officer
Smith had confiscated his extra splint and pain medication.
(Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff noticed the tongue depressor and
tape on the floor outside of his cell. Id. He
informed Officer Mulholland about his broken finger and asked
him to retrieve the items. Id. Plaintiff also told
Mulholland that his pain medication was taken during the
shakedown, and his old neck injury was aggravated during his
trip to the chapel. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). Plaintiff asked the
officer to help him get medical care for both injuries.
agreed that Plaintiff's finger appeared to be broken but
refused to assist Plaintiff, saying that he “did not
have time.” (Doc. 1, p. 9). The officer told Plaintiff
he “would just have to suffer.” Id. When
Plaintiff made the same request of Mulholland the following
day, the officer threatened to discipline him for making any
additional requests for medical treatment. Id.
Plaintiff submitted another sick call request on August 3,
August 6, 2017, Nurse Jane Doe #5 again met with Plaintiff to
discuss his request for treatment of the broken finger and
chronic neck pain. (Doc. 1, p. 9). She gave Plaintiff a 3-day
supply of ibuprofen (200 mg) to “hold Plaintiff
over” until he could meet with a doctor. Id.
August 7, 2017, Plaintiff asked Counselor Allsup to assist
him in obtaining medical treatment for his broken finger and
aggravated neck injury. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Allsup told Plaintiff
that he was “not entitled to any medical care.”
Id. On August 10, 2017, Plaintiff directed the same
request to Sergeant McClure, Officer Mulholland, Officer John
Doe #2, and other unidentified individuals (John and Jane
Does), to no avail. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
August 11, 2017, Plaintiff again asked Mulholland for medical
care. (Doc. 1, p. 10). The officer refused to help.
Id. In addition, Mulholland took Plaintiff's two
call passes, wadded them up, and threw them at
Plaintiff's face. Id. Plaintiff reiterated the
same request later the same day as Mulholland escorted him to
the chapel for a legal call. Id. Mulholland
threatened to send Plaintiff to segregation if he requested
medical care “one more ‘fucking time.'”
same day, Plaintiff placed an emergency grievance for Warden
Jacqueline Lashbrook in the institutional mail. (Doc. 1, p.
10). Warden Alex Jones denied the grievance a week later, and
Plaintiff resubmitted it as a non-emergency grievance and
appealed the decision. (Doc. 1, pp. 11, 14). In addition,
Plaintiff sent a virtually identical non-emergency grievance
in a sealed envelope to Allsup. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
August 12, 2017, Mulholland again threatened Plaintiff with
punishment for “bogus” rule violations if he
continued to request medical care. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff
submitted another sick call slip on August 14, 2017, and
Plaintiff was seen by Nurse Jane Doe #6 two days later. (Doc.
1, p. 11). She informed Plaintiff that his finger was broken,
but nothing would be done about it. Id. When
Plaintiff asked for more pain medication for his aggravated
neck injury, she refused to give him anything for the pain.
was called to the health care unit (“HCU”) for an
appointment with Moldenhauer on August 16, 2017. (Doc. 1, p.
11). When Plaintiff arrived at the HCU, Officer Gross turned
him away. Id. Plaintiff returned to his cell, and
Officer Maue ordered him to go to the legal exchange.
Id. Maue assured Plaintiff that he could return to
the HCU to meet with Moldenhauer afterwards. Id.
When Plaintiff returned from legal exchange and asked to see
Moldenhauer, Maue refused to let him visit the HCU.
Id. Plaintiff placed a medical request slip into the
sick call box later that day, seeking medical care for his
broken finger and aggravated neck injury. Id.
August 18, 2017, Plaintiff met with Nurse Jane Doe #6 about
both of his complaints. (Doc. 1, p. 12). She agreed to
arrange an appointment for Plaintiff with Doctor Siddiqui,
but did nothing to address his complaints in the meantime.
Id. Plaintiff submitted two additional medical
requests for the diagnosis and treatment of his finger and
neck on August 20 and 22, 2017. Id. No. one
asked Officer Furlow for medical care as they passed by the
HCU on the way to and from the legal exchange on August 23,
2017. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Furlow told Plaintiff that he should
not have filed the grievance dated August 11, 2017.
Id. He then threatened Plaintiff, stating,
“Fucking file another lawsuit bitch and you'll wind
up dead like that guy in North Two.” Id.
Furlow was referring to another inmate who was beaten to
death by correctional officers six weeks earlier.
Id. The officer continued to “threaten,
harass, and assault” Plaintiff that day on the way to
and from yard. Id. Officer Fritsche led Plaintiff
back to his cell, as Furlow followed behind Plaintiff
“pushing and shoving” him, “punching him in
the back, ” and grabbing his buttocks at least twice.
Id. Fritsche later asked Plaintiff “what that
was all about.” Id. The next day, Furlow and
several unidentified defendants (John Does) threatened to
assault Plaintiff and made “sexual gestures”
toward him during lunch line movement, in the HCU, and at
Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 1, pp. 13-14).
met with Moldenhauer about his medical issues on August 24,
2017. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Although Moldenhauer assured Plaintiff
that his request for an x-ray would be denied, Moldenhauer
nevertheless submitted a request for one. Id.
Moldenhauer also agreed to prescribe Plaintiff muscle
relaxers and pain medication for his neck injury.
Id. Plaintiff received a 5-month prescription for
meloxicam (7.5 mg). (Doc. 1, p. 15). He also signed a receipt
for a 1-month supply of the medication with a prescription
refill due on September 16, 2017. Id. He received
one tablet per day from an unknown nurse. Id.
August 28, 2017, Plaintiff sent an emergency grievance to
Warden Lashbrook, a regular grievance to Allsup, and a
medical request slip. (Doc. 1, p. 15). In the grievances, he
complained of “excessive force; assault and battery;
retaliation; denial of medical care; conspiracy; state law
violations; sexual harassment; state and federal
constitutional rights violations; and other.”
Id. In the medical request slip, Plaintiff explained
that he had not yet received the muscle relaxers, and he
asked that the meloxicam be replaced with ibuprofen (600 mg).
same day, Officers Yankey and Furlow threatened Plaintiff
with excessive force and sexually harassed him without
provocation on the way to and from lunch. (Doc. 1, p. 15).
The next day, the same officers and several other unknown
officers (John Does) again threatened to beat Plaintiff and
sexually harassed him when he was released from his cell for
an x-ray of his finger. Id.
August 29, 2017, Nurse Jane Doe #7 informed Plaintiff that
the x-ray showed a fracture in his left ring finger and a
chipped bone. (Doc. 1, p. 16). She provided him with another
makeshift splint, consisting of a tongue depressor and tape.
Id. The nurse also told Plaintiff that she would
speak with Moldenhauer about a treatment plan. Id.
Plaintiff asked her to request a change in his medication
from meloxicam to ibuprofen and check on the status of his
prescription for muscle relaxers. Id. The nurse
agreed to look into these issues, after reviewing
Plaintiff's medical records and discovering that the
muscle relaxers were never ordered. Id. Plaintiff
received a 30-day pack of ibuprofen to replace his meloxicam
on August 30, 2017. Id.
Fritsche refused to let Plaintiff go to the legal exchange on
August 30, 2017, despite the fact that Plaintiff faced
numerous deadlines. (Doc. 1, p. 16). This was allegedly in
retaliation for Plaintiff's grievances and numerous
requests for medical care. Id.
August 31, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a medical request slip
for treatment of his broken finger and aggravated neck
injury. (Doc. 1, p. 16). On the way to chow the same day,
Furlow, Yankey, Gross, and McClure all threatened to
“beat . . . Plaintiff's ass” or push him down
the stairs. (Doc. 1, p. 17). They sexually harassed him,
using gestures and remarks. Id. When he returned to
his cell, Gross appeared and made sexual gestures, calling
Plaintiff a “fag” and a “bitch.”
September 1, 2017, Gary Bentz filed a complaint on
Plaintiff's behalf with Dede Short and an unknown
individual (John/Jane Doe) on the IDOC website. (Doc. 1, p.
17). Lashbrook and Short responded to the complaint two weeks
later. (Doc. 1, p. 21). On September 2, 2017, Plaintiff was
placed on “deadlock” in his cell “for no
reason other than retaliation.” (Doc. 1, p. 17). He was
then cuffed behind the back and taken to the HCU for an
appointment with an unidentified nurse. Id. He was
forced to wait for more than an hour to see the nurse.
Id. When he was finally called to meet with her,
Gross would not let the nurse speak with Plaintiff and
instead ordered him to return to his cell. Id. While
doing so, Gross, Yankey, and unidentified individuals (John
Does) pushed and shoved Plaintiff into the wall, telling him
that he would not be getting any medical care or lunch and
would remain on deadlock for filing grievances and lawsuits
against the defendants. Id.
nevertheless taken off of deadlock and returned to the HCU at
noon. (Doc. 1, p. 18). There, Plaintiff met with Doctor Shah
and requested treatment for his broken finger and aggravated
neck injury. Id. Doctor Shah told Plaintiff that he
was not seeing him for his neck problem. Id. He
further stated that Plaintiff's finger was not broken.
Id. The doctor took Plaintiff's makeshift splint
from him. Id. Plaintiff sent an emergency grievance
to Lashbrook and a nearly identical grievance to Allsup on
September 2, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 18-19). He also submitted a
request for an MRI and muscle relaxers. (Doc. 1, p. 19).
September 4, 2017, Yankey and Furlow harassed Plaintiff and
made sexual gestures toward him without any provocation by
Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 19).
September 6, 2017, Plaintiff again requested treatment of his
broken finger and chronic neck pain in a medical request
slip. (Doc. 1, p. 19). The prison subsequently went on
lockdown, and the Orange Crush Tactical Team again conducted
a shakedown of Plaintiff's cell. Id. He remained
cuffed behind the back for at least two hours and was forced
to sit in a chair in the prison's chapel. Id.
This further aggravated Plaintiff's injuries.
Id. He filed a new round of medical requests slips
and grievances on September 8 and 10, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 20).
Furlow threatened to beat Plaintiff's ass on September 10
and 12, 2017. Id.
Plaintiff saw Lashbrook making rounds on September 11, 2017,
he told the warden about all of his untreated medical issues.
(Doc. 1, p. 20). She told him to “stop suing staff and
stop filing grievances and things might get done.”
Id. Plaintiff submitted another medical request slip
the same day. (Doc. 1, p. 21).
Jane Doe #5 met with Plaintiff on September 13, 2017. (Doc.
1, p. 21). The nurse informed Plaintiff that his finger was
fractured, and a piece of bone was chipped. Id. She
examined his neck and agreed to request muscle relaxers and
pain medication. Id.
September 14, 2017, a correctional officer handcuffed
Plaintiff behind his back and took him to the HCU for a
second x-ray of his finger. (Doc. 1, p. 21). On the way,
Furlow harassed Plaintiff by bending down and placing his
head near Plaintiff's crotch. Id. When Plaintiff
stepped back, Furlow shoved him into the bars of the
sergeants' cage. (Doc. 1, p. 22).
second x-ray confirmed that Plaintiff's finger was
fractured and had not yet begun to heal. (Doc. 1, p. 21).
Nurse Jane Doe #7 informed Plaintiff of the results.
Id. However, she did not treat him. Id.
way to the shower on September 16, 2017, Yankey and Gross
both sexually harassed and threatened Plaintiff with
excessive force. (Doc. 1, p. 22).
response to still another medical request slip submitted by
Plaintiff on September 19, 2017, Moldenhauer met with him the
following day. (Doc. 1, p. 22). The nurse practitioner agreed
to request another x-ray of his finger in two weeks and again
in four weeks, in order to determine whether it was healing.
Id. Moldenhauer also put in a request for Plaintiff
to see a doctor. Id. Otherwise, nothing was done to
treat his finger or neck. Id.
this call pass, Yankey again harassed Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p.
22). This time, he told Plaintiff to bend over because he
would “love to stick his (Yankey's) dick into . . .
Plaintiff's ass.” Id. Yankey also told
Plaintiff that he would love to “suck his dick.”
September 22, 24, and 28, 2017, Plaintiff again submitted
medical request slips for treatment of his finger and neck.
(Doc. 1, p. 23). He then filed a grievance dated September
25, 2017. Id. Plaintiff showed Allsup his finger
three days later and requested treatment for the obvious
injury and his chronic neck pain. Id. Allsup