United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge.
Jamal Taylor, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings
this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests
monetary damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
years, Plaintiff suffered chronic back, neck, and shoulder
pain. (Doc. 1, p. 16). On January 23, 2017, he received a CT
scan, which showed straightening of the cervical lordosis,
anterior spondylosis, degenerative disc disease, disc
bulging, and mild central canal stenosis. Id.
Plaintiff has been referred by staff physicians to an
orthopedist multiple times to address his back pain, most
recently by Dr. Siddiqui at Menard on May 22, 2017. (Doc. 1,
p. 17). Dr. Ritz denied Siddiqui's recommendation during
a collegial required by Wexford and ordered physical therapy
instead. Id. Plaintiff completed the physical
therapy, but the final report indicated that his pain had
increased with therapy. Id. As a result, Siddiqui
once again presented his request for an orthopedic referral
to Wexford's collegial board. Id. This time the
request was denied by Dr. Smith, who recommended neuropathic
pain medication in lieu of an orthopedic consult. (Doc. 1, p.
18). Plaintiff alleges that he tried such medication multiple
times during the 9 years that he has been having symptoms, to
no avail. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Ritz and Smith
are deliberately indifferent to the bulging discs in his
back. (Doc. 1, p. 19). He further alleges that they are
acting pursuant to a policy and practice of Wexford's to
prefer the most cost-effective treatment over options like
surgery. (Doc. 1, p. 20).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 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 following claims survive
Count 1 - Ritz and Smith were deliberately
indifferent to Plaintiff's back problems in violation of
the Eighth Amendment when they denied the prison medical
director's request for an orthopedic consult;
Count 2 - Wexford has a policy or practice
of denying inmates needed orthopedic consults in order to be
cost-effective in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
officials impose cruel and unusual punishment in violation of
the Eighth Amendment when they are deliberately indifferent
to a serious medical need. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Chatham v. Davis, 839 F.3d 679,
684 (7th Cir. 2016). In order to state a claim for deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need, an inmate must show
that he 1) suffered from an objectively serious medical
condition; and 2) that the defendant was deliberately
indifferent to a risk of serious harm from that condition.
Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 727 (7th Cir.
2016). An objectively serious condition includes an ailment
that has been “diagnosed by a physician as mandating
treatment, ” one that significantly affects an
individual's daily activities, or which involves chronic
and substantial pain. Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d
1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997). The subjective element requires
proof that ...