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Bowlds v. Scott

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 16, 2018

ANDRE BOWLDS, # Y-11377, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. SCOTT, JOHN DOES #1 & #2, PHYSICAL THERAPIST, WEXFORD, and WARDEN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“BMRCC”), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's claims arose while he was confined at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Under § 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

         Plaintiff's brief statement of claim alleges that when he arrived at Pinckneyville on an unspecified date, he had a cast on his leg or foot. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7). The cast had been on for only one month, and Plaintiff was supposed to use crutches to walk. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7). Unidentified prison officials (“they”) would not allow Plaintiff to use his crutches, so he was made to walk on the broken foot. Id. As a result, Plaintiff's foot started to swell up. Plaintiff told Dr. Scott that his crutches had been taken away. Dr. Scott said he would look into the matter, but he never did. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         A couple months later, Dr. Scott removed the cast. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7). Ever since then, Plaintiff has been unable to stand on the foot, and the foot swells up. Plaintiff's leg has also started to swell. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff claims that Dr. Scott removed the cast too soon, and had Plaintiff begin walking on it too soon. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         At some point, Dr. Scott sent Plaintiff to physical therapy to help him with walking. However, Plaintiff continues to walk with a very bad limp. He also has a lot of pain when he sits. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff attaches a grievance dated June 5, 2017, in which he states that the removal of his cast took place almost a year before that date. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He went several times to the Defendant Physical Therapist, who noted blisters and other problems with Plaintiff's feet. Id. Eventually, the Physical Therapist said there was nothing more he could do for Plaintiff, and that he would refer Plaintiff back to the doctor. However, that referral was never made. Plaintiff had put in a sick call request for his foot problems but had not received a response. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). He is an “insulin-dependent diabetic” and needs to address any foot conditions promptly. At the time he wrote the grievance, Plaintiff still had blisters on his foot. (Doc. 1, p. 9).

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the violation of his rights. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         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 mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Dr. Scott and the Physical Therapist, for failing to properly treat the complications Plaintiff experienced from his broken foot;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against John Does #1 and #2 (Correctional Officers in Segregation), Wexford, and the Pinckneyville Warden, for ...

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