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Woods v. Rose

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 22, 2018

BILLY WOODS, # M-02055, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition. The Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         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 some of Plaintiff's claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.

         The Complaint

         On September 9, 2017, Plaintiff was working at his job in the Dietary Department. (Doc. 1, p. 3). His supervisor, Dulle, instructed Plaintiff to operate the meat slicer machine. Plaintiff told Dulle that a wheel was missing from the slicer and it may not work properly, but Dulle told Plaintiff that it had not caused any problems and he should not worry about it. As Plaintiff began cutting with the meat slicer, it jumped and cut off the top portion of Plaintiff's little finger on his left hand. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 11). Dulle immediately sent Plaintiff to the Health Care Unit (“HCU”).

         Nurses Shaw, Jane Doe #1, and Jane Doe #2 examined Plaintiff's finger. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 11). They poured saline water and peroxide on the injury to attempt to stop the bleeding, which caused severe pain. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff asked Shaw if he would be sent to an outside hospital. Jane Doe Nurse #1, at Shaw's request, called Correctional Officer Rose to ask permission to send Plaintiff to a hospital, but Rose denied the request. Rose reportedly decided that the injury “did not meet the criteria for an emergency medical furlough.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). Shaw threw away the severed tip of Plaintiff's finger after it was determined that Plaintiff would not be sent for outside treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 7, 23). Plaintiff begged Shaw and the Jane Doe Nurses #1 and #2 to explain the situation to Rose so he might allow Plaintiff to go to the hospital, but they refused. Shaw bandaged Plaintiff's finger and sent him back to the Dietary area.

         Officer Kilgore in Dietary noticed that Plaintiff's finger was “squirting out blood, ” and notified a sergeant, who immediately took Plaintiff back to the HCU. Nurses Brewer, Jane Doe #3, and Jane Doe #4 washed Plaintiff's finger with saline and peroxide again, and re-bandaged his finger. They instructed Plaintiff to keep the finger elevated and returned him to his housing unit. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 12).

         At around 9:00 p.m. that evening, Plaintiff notified the housing unit officer that his finger was bleeding uncontrollably through the bandage; Plaintiff was sent back to the HCU for the third time. Brewer and the Jane Doe Nurses #3 and #4 told him that nothing could be done, and that even changing the bandages could cause an infection. They sent him back to his cell without any treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         The next day (September 10, 2017), Plaintiff was awakened by the pain, and he had blood running down his arm. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 12). He was sent to the HCU where the same treatment was given. Later, blood began squirting through the bandage again, and he returned to the HCU. On Plaintiff's way to the HCU, Plaintiff told Sergeant Boyle that his finger was still bleeding. Boyle called the shift commander, Major MacAbee, who summoned Plaintiff to his office. (Doc. 1, p. 6). MacAbee looked at Plaintiff's finger, and immediately called the warden. The warden called in the Director of Nurses (Knebel) to examine Plaintiff's finger. When she did, she determined that emergency medical treatment was necessary, and Plaintiff was rushed to the hospital, where he received treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7, 13-18).

         Plaintiff asserts that Rose's refusal to allow him to be sent to the hospital immediately after his injury caused him unnecessary pain and blood loss by delaying proper treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Shaw, Brewer, and the Jane Doe Nurses #1-4 failed to properly treat his serious injury and delayed his access to necessary treatment. Id. Plaintiff asserts he continues to “experience painful complications in his left finger that often travels down to his hand” as a result of the injury and allegedly inadequate treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Plaintiff filed a grievance over the way his injury was handled, but Walker (grievance officer) denied it, as did Lahr (Administrative Review Board). (Doc. 1, p. 7, 19-21, 23-24).

         He requests compensatory and punitive damages against all Defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 9).

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

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following 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 designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit. Any other claim that is ...

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