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Terrell v. Doe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 19, 2018

RONNIE TERRELL, # N-83826, Plaintiff,
JOHN/JANE DOE NURSE #2, Defendant.



         This matter is before the Court for a preliminary merits review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. On May 22, 2018, this Court ordered the claim in this pro se action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (identified as Count 4 in the original case) to be severed from Plaintiff's original case, Terrell v. Shah, No. 18-cv-710-JPG-SCW. (Doc. 1).

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). The claim in this case arose there, and was outlined by the Court in No. 18-cv-710-JPG-SCW as follows. For clarity, the Court shall continue to refer to this claim as Count 4 in this action:

Count 4: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against the John/Jane Doe Nurse #2, for failing to deliver the promised medication to treat Plaintiff for food poisoning.

         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 Count 4 survives threshold review under Section 1915A. Before the claim can proceed, however, Plaintiff must identify the unknown Nurse #2 by name.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff does not specify the date when the John/Jane Doe Nurse #2 failed to treat him. On that day, Plaintiff and many other inmates contracted food poisoning after eating dinner in the prison's dietary department. (Doc. 2, p. 11). Plaintiff was seen by the John/Jane Doe Nurse #2, and he told her about his symptoms of light-headedness, vomiting, and “constantly stool usage.” Id. The Nurse was instructed to give out medication for this problem (which the Court assumes was diarrhea). However, John/Jane Doe Nurse #2 told Plaintiff she had left the medication behind and would return with it later. Despite this promise of treatment, the Nurse never came back to give Plaintiff the medication. As a result, Plaintiff was left to suffer “a lot of discomfort” without any treatment. Id.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the violation of his rights. (Doc. 2, p. 15).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court has characterized Plaintiff's claim in this case as a single count, as set forth above. The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of this count does not constitute an opinion as to its merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice. As explained below, Count 4 shall proceed for further consideration.

         Count 4 - Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs

         In order to state a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, an inmate must show (1) that he suffered from an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) that the defendant was deliberately indifferent to a risk of serious harm from that condition. An objectively serious condition includes an ailment that significantly affects an individual's daily activities ...

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