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Lovett v. Foster

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 14, 2018

TERRANCE LOVETT, # R08116, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Terrance Lovett, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently housed at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that, when he was incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center (“Vandalia”), Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the injuries he sustained on February 8, 2016, when he was assaulted by another inmate, resulting in multiple facial fractures. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues Craig A. Foster (Prior Warden, Vandalia), Dr. Atuwape (Medical Doctor, Vandalia), Jane Doe (Nurse, Vandalia), and John Doe (Correctional Officer, Segregation Housing Unit, 11:00 pm to 7:00 am Shift, Vandalia). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         The original Complaint (Doc. 1) did not survive preliminary review, and the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 9) is now before the Court for screening 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 such relief.

         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 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. 2009).

         The First Amended Complaint

         On February 8, 2016, Plaintiff was assaulted by another inmate. (Doc. 9, p. 3). Plaintiff was kicked in the face, resulting in multiple fractures and leaving Plaintiff nearly unconscious. Id. Plaintiff was taken to the healthcare unit where he was examined by “several members of the nursing staff” and Dr. Atuwape. Id. After being examined, Plaintiff was transported to the Fayette County Hospital. Id. Plaintiff did not receive any treatment at Fayette County Hospital. Id. Instead, a CT scan was performed, and Plaintiff was returned to Vandalia with a copy of his test results (to be reviewed by “the doctor at Vandalia”). Id. After returning to Vandalia, Plaintiff was placed in the infirmary, where he remained for two days and three nights. Id. Plaintiff was then transferred to disciplinary segregation. Id. Plaintiff was in disciplinary segregation for two weeks. Id. During this time, Plaintiff complained about his painful injuries, but he only received Ibuprofen.

         Plaintiff was released to the general population for a brief period and then returned to segregation on investigative status. Id. Plaintiff claims that his facial injuries were “obvious” and that he repeatedly complained about pain. Id. One or more unidentified correctional officers commented that Plaintiff looked like he had a broken jaw, and another correctional officer opined that Plaintiff should be transferred to the infirmary (it is unclear whether any of the referenced correctional officers is the John Doe correctional officer identified as a defendant). (Doc. 9, p. 4).

         Although Plaintiff occasionally received Ibuprofen for his pain, various unidentified nurses often denied Plaintiff's requests for pain medication. (Doc. 9, p. 3). According to Plaintiff, he complained to Jane Doe (a nurse) about his injuries and associated pain. Id. Jane Doe told Plaintiff she could not do anything. (Doc. 9, p. 4). She also said she was only obligated to give Plaintiff Ibuprofen as she felt was appropriate. Id.

         Dr. Atuwape saw Plaintiff several times while he was in segregation. Id. Plaintiff told Dr. Atuwape he was suffering from severe pain and discomfort in the left side of his face. Id. He also told him his facial injuries were interfering with his ability to eat and sleep. Id. Dr. Atuwape told Plaintiff nothing could be done unless and until the administration authorized a medical furlough. Id.

         Plaintiff also saw Warden Foster several times while he was in segregation. (Doc. 9, p. 5). Warden Foster observed Plaintiff's injuries, and Plaintiff repeatedly complained to him (both in person and in writing) about his severe pain. Id. Warden Foster told Plaintiff he could not do anything and said it was up to the medical staff ...

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