United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE
Marcus Watson, a former inmate of Lawrence Correctional
Center (“Lawrence”), brings this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his
constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the
defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical issues in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments, among other things. (Doc. 1). This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,  which provides:
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.
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.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed
past the threshold stage.
Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following
allegations: as late as January 28, 2018, Plaintiff submitted
request slips to Defendant John Doe, a health care
administrator at the prison, “to be seen for consent,
appointment, and major surgery” for Plaintiff's
ongoing chronic umbilical hernia. (Doc. 1, p. 3). The Tylenol
and girdle Plaintiff received from the physician had not been
effective for treating his injury. Id. John Doe did
not respond to Plaintiff's request, despite having prior
knowledge of Plaintiff's injury. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff continued to submit request slips to John Doe,
complaining of complications with physical movement,
including getting out of bed and lifting heavy objects.
Id. He also requested a lower-bunk permit.
Id. All of his requests were denied, and he
“was denied further treatment beyond said ineffective
treatment received.” Id.
Plaintiff was admitted into the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”), the Cook County Medical
Unit physician determined that Plaintiff needed surgery to
repair his umbilical hernia. Id. Plaintiff was
scheduled for surgery, but before it was performed, he was
reclassified to IDOC. Id. Plaintiff's injury was
deemed an emergency by former CAO, Nicholas Lamb, after
Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance on March 28, 2017
detailing his medical issues. Id. Sometime after
April 11, 2017, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Coe, and he
repeated to Coe what he told Lamb about his medical issues.
Id. Coe told Plaintiff that he would be prescribed
pain pills and an abdominal binder. Id. He also told
Plaintiff that there was nothing more they could do for him
because “the state does not have money for [him] to be
sent to an outside hospital to have surgery.”
had already been through treatment similar to that which was
prescribed by Coe before he was admitted into IDOC custody.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). He therefore continued to use the sick call
process to seek treatment for his condition, because the
treatment Coe gave him was ineffective. Id. In
response to his requests, Plaintiff was told by health care
unit staff that the state did not have funds and that he had
already been treated for his issue. Id. On March 15,
2018, Plaintiff filed a second emergency grievance, notifying
Defendant Kink of his issues. Id. Kink classified
Plaintiff's situation as a “non-emergency.”
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff has suffered and will continue to
suffer in pain. (Doc. 1, p. 7). His pain has been aggravated
by the inadequate treatment he has received. Id.
Wexford, Thull, Baldwin, Kink, John Doe, and Coe have
colluded to engage in a practice or policy “to deprive
Plaintiff, and those similarly situated, of medical treatment
in order to decrease the financial burden on the state,
through the defendants' actions and/or inactions, done in
bad faith.” (Doc. 1, pp. 7-9). Baldwin also may have
also established said policy, and contracted with Wexford to
engage in it. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Defendant Thull “is
required to investigate the conduct of the work of the
department with which it may be associated.”
Id. Thull neglected these duties after reviewing
Plaintiff's grievance on April 10, 2018. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
Kink and Baldwin also neglected their duties after they
received Plaintiff's grievance. Id.
individual Defendants, in a meeting of the minds, reached an
agreement amongst themselves to become deliberately
indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs . . . and to
thereby deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional
rights.” (Doc. 1, p. 13). “Defendants intended to
maliciously and willfully cause, and were in reckless
disregard to the probability that their conduct would cause,
severe emotional distress to Plaintiff; said actions, and/or
inactions, and conduct did directly and proximately cause
Plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress.” (Doc.
1, p. 16). This emotional distress included “mental and
emotional damage and trauma, humiliation, damage to his
personal reputation, loss of liberty, mental distress, and
anguish.” Id. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and
monetary relief. (Doc. 1, p. 19).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court will consider
6 counts in this pro se action. 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 regarding their merit.
Count 1 - Defendants showed deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's serious medical need involving an umbilical
hernia and pain associated therewith in violation of the
Count 2 - Defendants conspired to show deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical need
involving an umbilical hernia and pain associated therewith.
Count 3 - Defendants violated Plaintiff's due process
rights by depriving him of adequate medical treatment, in
violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Count 4 - Defendants intentionally inflicted emotional
distress on Plaintiff in violation of Illinois law by