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Bradley v. Staff

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 16, 2018

DEANDRE BRADLEY, #M05197, Plaintiff,
v.
PINCKNEYVILLE CC NURSING STAFF, NURSE LORI, NURSE SROKA, COUNSELOR ROLLA, LT. WEBB, C/O MACALAHAN, LT. KOSMA, C/O LIND, NURSE KIM, LT. WRANGLER, JANE DOE, NURSE TERA, NURSE READER, and CORRECTIONAL STAFF, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Deandre Bradley, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims among other things that the defendants have failed to accommodate his disabilities, have retaliated against him, and have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical issues, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794-794e, and the First and Eighth Amendments. (Doc. 1).

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that Plaintiff has not paid the $400 filing fee, nor has he sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in this case as he is required to do. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). As a matter of course, the Clerk of Court has sent notice that Plaintiff has 30 days to either pay or move for IFP status. (Doc. 3). Regardless, because Plaintiff seeks emergency injunctive relief, the Court will immediately take up the case. See Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 680 (7th Cir. 2012). Nonetheless, Plaintiff must still meet his obligations with regard to the filing fee. Specifically, Plaintiff must either pay the $400 filing fee or submit a motion for leave to proceed IFP in this action, together with his inmate trust fund account statement for the six-month period prior to the filing date of this case, no later than July 30, 2018. If Plaintiff fails to either pay or submit his IFP motion, this action shall be subject to dismissal for failure to comply with an order of the Court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).

         The Court next will conduct a preliminary review of the Complaint 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed past the screening stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Plaintiff is being retaliated against for his grievance writing and verbally speaking out against deprivations at the prison. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Plaintiff's life is in danger and will be in danger “unless the Plaintiff is removed from Pinckneyville” and placed in a facility with protective custody. Id. Plaintiff is wheelchair bound and cannot currently walk, even with a walker. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff also suffers from digestive issues that require him to use enemas and special assistive devices such as non-adhesive external male catheters with a urinary bag and adult male briefs that do not have the adhesive used on regular diapers because such adhesive severely irritate Plaintiff's skin, causing blisters, sores, and skin loss. (Doc. 1, p. 6). These issues can cause and have caused Plaintiff to suffer from infections. Id. Plaintiff also has a “severe respiratory issue” that requires him to be separated from mace and heavy cleaning substances that would affect his breathing. Id. He is required to keep an asthma pump on him at all times. Id.

         Plaintiff's physical condition, which requires him to sit or lie down all day, makes certain pressure reduction devices including wheelchair cushions and air or egg crate pressure reduction mattresses necessary. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Not providing Plaintiff with the accommodations he needs “will cause complications such as friction and shearing to the Plaintiff's skin and pressure sore[s]. Damaged skin not taken care of can lead quickly to infections or deadly diseases such as sepsis . . . and staph infections and medical staff are aware of this.” Id.

         Defendants know that Plaintiff has no problem with writing grievances and going to court for relief when necessary. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Writing grievances has caused Plaintiff trouble. Id. He has been assaulted by staff and false disciplinary reports have been written against him. Id. Since Plaintiff has arrived at Pinckneyville, he has been writing grievances against medical staff for refusing to do their job when Plaintiff requests necessary items. (Doc. 1, p. 9). For example, Plaintiff arrived at Pinckneyville with special supplies including non-adhesive external male catheters and adult male briefs without adhesive. (Doc. 1, p. 10) The Pinckneyville first shift nursing staff did not want to order the same supplies that Plaintiff had been receiving and instead tried to give him supplies that are dangerous to his skin. Id. Even after an emergency grievance, the nursing staff refused to provide or order the supplies, so Plaintiff had to use others which caused him “severe penis injury to his skin area.” Id. Plaintiff had to address the doctor and Assistant Warden Love to get the day shift nursing staff to cooperate. Id.

         As a result of Plaintiff's complaints and grievances, staff began to retaliate against him by claiming that he was “cheeking” his medication, which he was not. (Doc. 1, p. 11). One day, Plaintiff overheard Nurse Lori tell another nurse that she crushes Plaintiff's medication and opens his capsules, so he cannot tell what she is giving him. Id. Lori also noted that Plaintiff hates when she does this. Id. Plaintiff confronted Lori about it and received a disciplinary report for “trying to show the correctional officer the contents in the cup.” Id. Plaintiff has named those nurses that deprived him of his supplies the “Jane Doe Pinckneyville Nursing Staff, ” which is shortened to “Pinckneyville Nursing Staff” in the Court's Case Management/Electronic Filing (“CM/ECF”) system. Id. Nurse Lori and Nurse Sroka started crushing his pills and opening his capsules to retaliate against and punish Plaintiff, and the nursing staff has continued it. (Doc. 1, p. 12).

         In April 2018, Plaintiff was placed in a cell with inmate Dawson, who was also in a wheelchair, and inmate Rodriguez. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff witnessed Dawson threatening Rodriguez, stating that where he is from, they do not just fight to prove a point, they “kill to win the fight.” (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff informed “M.H.P. Mr. Smith” about these threats and the hostile environment in his cell and asked Smith to assist him in getting moved. Id. Smith denied his request. Id. Dawson eventually began to threaten Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 15). This prompted Plaintiff to seek a cell change with urgency, but all of his attempts were denied. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16). Plaintiff was told that the way to get moved was to refuse housing. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff spoke with Counselor Mr. Rolla about the issue, and he said “that they do not do cell changes unless something were to happen or take place because then everybody would just continuously want to change cells.” Id.

         While Plaintiff was searching for a way to change cells, he had a serious verbal dispute with Corrections Officer (“C/O”) Macalahan. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff requested emergency medical attention, and Macalahan denied his request. Id. Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Macalahan and the issue, and shortly thereafter, he was approached by several inmate friends of Dawson who asked Plaintiff why he wrote a grievance on “Mac Man, ” which was their name for Macalahan. Id. The inmates went on to tell Plaintiff that Macalahan told them that Plaintiff wrote a grievance on him, and if he continued writing grievances on Macalahan, he would be considered a snitch because writing a grievance on an officer who looks out for inmates is snitching. (Doc. 1, p. 18). They said if he did not stop writing grievances on “Mac Man, ” harm would come to him. Id. They also noted that Plaintiff is an easy target because he is in a wheelchair. Id.

         Dawson also threatened Plaintiff and told him: “You know you don't have to go home its ways to end all this shit. Leave these police alone, stop the grievance shit with ‘Mac Man' before something happen to you because . . . I'll make it happen.” (Doc. 1, p. 20). The next morning, Plaintiff asked Lieutenant Webb to be placed in protective custody due to safety and health concerns. Id. Lieutenant Webb told Plaintiff that they do not have protective custody-they have segregation- and asked Plaintiff if he wanted to go there. (Doc. 1, p. 21). Plaintiff said he did not want to get into trouble, he just wanted to go somewhere safe because everyone thought he was a snitch. Id. Webb responded that if Plaintiff did not lock up, he would go to segregation. Id. Plaintiff later asked Lieutenant Kosma for protective custody, and he had the same response. Id. Plaintiff believes going to segregation would have put his release date in jeopardy of being changed, and he did not want to make his time in prison any longer, so he locked up in his cell. Id. Plaintiff had to fill out a request to his counselor to get a grievance form to complain about being denied protective custody. (Doc. 1, p. 22). He requested a grievance form around the time he was denied protective custody by Webb and Kosma, approximately June 19 to June 22. (Doc. 1, p. 23).

         On June 24, 2018, Plaintiff overheard an inmate worker that he refers to in the Complaint as “Problem” speaking with Dawson at the door of Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 1, p. 24). At the time, Macalahan was the wing officer. Id. Dawson referred to Plaintiff as a “homosexual snitch” and Problem stated: “Mac Man said ‘whenever you ready handle your business, do it before your day room and try not to let him hit the button too many times because its a female in the control center.'” Id. Dawson got dressed, and right before he attacked Plaintiff, he told him that he did not have to go home. (Doc. 1, p. 25). Dawson stood up and struck Plaintiff in the head. Id. Plaintiff lunged at Dawson, knocking them both to the ground. Id. Plaintiff then got on top of Dawson and held him. Id. Rodriguez pointed out that Macalahan was in the door. (Doc. 1-1. p. 1). Macalahan looked directly at Plaintiff and Dawson but turned and walked away before Plaintiff could say anything. Id. After a few minutes, Dawson told Plaintiff that he would quit and that he was not doing anything. Id. Plaintiff climbed off Dawson and began packing his things to leave the cell. Id. Dawson began fiddling with his television and radio. Id.

         Dawson then told Plaintiff: “I'm going to make sure you don't go home now.” (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). He jumped from his wheelchair and stabbed Plaintiff in the right side of his head near his ear. Id. While Plaintiff tried to wrestle Dawson to the floor, Dawson continued to stab Plaintiff all over his body. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). Dawson also grabbed Plaintiff's left pinky finger and tried to bite it off. Id. Plaintiff then hit Dawson in the eye as hard as he could so he would let Plaintiff's pinky go. Id. Dawson then began to scream for Problem. Id. Problem came to the door and told Plaintiff to get off Dawson “or else.” (Doc. 1-1, p. 4). Plaintiff stayed where he was, so Problem left, and soon thereafter, the automatic lock went off in the cell. Id. Plaintiff got off Dawson and into his chair to try to get out of the door. Id. Plaintiff was covered in blood. Id. Several individuals blocked Plaintiff from leaving, and C/O Englan peeked in the cell. Id. Plaintiff screamed to get him out of the cell and get him medical attention, but Englan told him he needed to ask his wing officer. Id. Plaintiff believes Macalahan was trying to protect Dawson for assaulting Plaintiff. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff cleaned himself off, packed his things, went to the day room to have his hair braided, and told Lieutenant Kosma that he needed to speak to someone in mental health. Id. Other inmates told Plaintiff to leave or the assaults would continue. Id. Plaintiff was told to place himself on crisis watch and that if officers came to get Dawson, everyone in the institution would be notified that Plaintiff snitched on Dawson. Id. Plaintiff therefore told Kosma that he needed to go on a crisis watch because he had a death in the family. (Doc. 1-1, p. 6). When Kosma questioned how Plaintiff knew about the death, Plaintiff lied to him about paying someone to find out. Id. Kosma told Plaintiff that if he was lying, he would get segregation and his out date would be delayed, but he took Plaintiff to see mental health. Id.

         Plaintiff spoke with Ms. Mason about going on crisis watch and asked her to inform nursing staff that he had several injuries. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 6-7). When she asked how he got the injuries, he told her he fell out of his wheelchair. (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). Plaintiff also asked Mason to put him in protective custody, but she told him that she could not help him with that. Id. Mason did tell him that he could have everything medically necessary while he was on crisis watch, despite the usual restriction on clothing and items other than a crisis mattress and crisis blanket. Id. Crisis mattresses and blankets are very hard and rough. Id. Plaintiff was placed in Pinckneyville's Healthcare Unit Isolation Cell #3 and was given a smock and blanket. (Doc. 1-1, p. 8). When his egg crate, mattress, and medical supplies arrived, Plaintiff was denied them by medical staff and Lieutenant Kosma. Id. Plaintiff told them that mental health told him he could have everything medically necessary while on crisis watch, but they refused to provide him his items. Id. Plaintiff then asked Kosma for a crisis bed. Id. Kosma told him that there were no more. Id.

         Plaintiff asked Nurse Kim to look at his head injury and finger. (Doc. 1-1, p. 9). He told her that his head was numb in that area and that he could not feel his pinky or the finger next to it. Id. Plaintiff was told to put water on it, despite the visible blood, and that was all the treatment he received. Id. Plaintiff only had a large rectangular plastic object to lay on. Id. Nurse Kim asked Plaintiff what he needed, and he told her he needed his egg crate mattress or he could wake up with bedsores. Id. She replied that he should not have gone on crisis watch. (Doc. 1-1, p. 10). The next evening, Plaintiff had “sheared and friction-affected skin and what looked [like] several pressure sores at about stage 2.” Id. Nurse Martin put Plaintiff's skin issue in his file, and Lieutenant Tate found Plaintiff a mattress. Id. Plaintiff continued to ask for protective custody. Id.

         Plaintiff was not allowed personal hygiene items such as a toothbrush, soap, or a towel. (Doc. 1-1, p. 11). Plaintiff was not allowed to shower for over a week. Id. Plaintiff was also denied a cup, and because of the orientation of his sink and his disabilities, he was forced to drink water from his toilet for nine days. Id. Plaintiff told Lieutenant McBride about this, and he replied that Plaintiff's medical records and Christine Brown both said Plaintiff can walk. Id.

         Nurse Tera, Lieutenant Wrangler, and a female corrections officer with red hair, identified as Jane Doe in the Complaint, denied Plaintiff a diaper change, forcing him to sit in his bowel movements for two days. (Doc 1-1, p. 12). Tera claims that it was not on paper that he should be allowed to change his diaper the morning that she was the infirmary nurse. Id. Nurse Reader did not let Plaintiff change his catheter after it tore, forcing him to urinate into his diaper until the next day. Id. Because of this, Plaintiff's diaper filled up and leaked on his mattress all night. Id. Plaintiff was finally allowed to shower on the eighth day. (Doc. 1-1, p. 13). Plaintiff was taken off watch the next day, but he was kept in the same housing on segregation status. Id.

         C/O Lind asked Plaintiff why he requested protective custody, and Plaintiff told him that he feared for his health and safety from inmates, security staff, and healthcare unit staff. Id. Lind asked Plaintiff if his request had anything to do with Dawson, and Plaintiff told him no because he could not ensure Plaintiff's safety. (Doc. 1-1, p. 14). Lind then had Plaintiff sign a statement saying Dawson did not cause any harm to him and that he feared for his safety from inmates, security staff, and healthcare unit staff. Id. Dawson was then brought to the Health Care Unit by Problem. Id. Lind spoke with him and returned to Plaintiff. Id. He accused Plaintiff of being dishonest because Dawson told him that Plaintiff started a fight with him. Id. Plaintiff told Lind that he had nothing to say until he was transferred and placed in protective custody. Id.

         Lind told Plaintiff that Plaintiff would be on his way if he told him the truth. (Doc. 1-1, p. 15). He also told Plaintiff that he spoke to an informant and knew what actually took place. Id. Plaintiff told him the truth and showed him his injuries. Id. Lind took pictures of his injuries. Id. Plaintiff asked Lind if pictures could be taken to show the medical staff's deliberate indifference, and Lind said no. Id. Plaintiff also asked him if he would look into Macalahan's behavior, and Lind told Plaintiff that he got what he wanted. Id. Plaintiff received a disciplinary report for fighting and giving false information. Id. Plaintiff remains in the Health Care Unit isolation cell waiting for a wheelchair accessible cell to open in segregation. (Doc. 1-1, p. 16). He is denied a shower everyday by Jane Doe and other unknown staff. Id. His asthma pump and other supplies have been taken by nursing staff who refuse or give him a hard time when he asks for them. Id. Nursing staff members also have refused to address Plaintiff's sheared skin, pressure sores, head injury, and hand injury, despite written and verbal requests from Plaintiff.

         Dawson ultimately went to segregation, so “in the eyes of every inmate” at Pinckneyville, Plaintiff is now a “verified snitch.” Id. Plaintiff has been forced into a situation where he can either allow his cellmate to kill him or suffer disciplinary action. (Doc. 1-1, p. 18). On June 9, 2018, [1]Plaintiff received another retaliatory disciplinary report by Lieutenant Kosma after Plaintiff got into a verbal altercation with C/O Mitchell about his light being left on for three hours. Id. Plaintiff should have been able to have his light turned on or off at his request because he is no longer on crisis watch. Id.

         Plaintiff claims more of the area surrounding his stab wound is becoming numb. (Doc 1-1, pp. 25-26). He also claims that his finger is broken or fractured and that he cannot feel or use it, which is made even more serious by the fact that he is left handed. (Doc. 1-1. p. 26). Plaintiff has open sores and torn skin on his legs, and he does not get showers despite the fact that he uses enemas, touches his urine bag, sweats, and does not get laundry. Id. This puts him “at a severe risk of a staph infection or worse.” Id.

         Section 501.310(a) of the IDOC Administrative Code states that “each maximum security facility shall maintain a protective custody area for placement of committed persons in protective custody.” (Doc. 1-1. p. 23). Section 501.310(b) states that the protective custody area shall not be physically located on the same gallery as disciplinary segregation, and neither general population nor disciplinary segregation individuals shall be permitted to have access to this area except as approved by the Chief Administrative Officer. Id. Plaintiff “is almost certain that the Illinois Department of Corrections does not hold such housing for wheelchair-bound individuals as protective custody status.” (Doc. 1-1. p. 24). Plaintiff also believes that he is being punished and written false major disciplinary reports so IDOC can validate his placement. Id. Plaintiff also claims the defendants are using segregation as a way to withhold legal work and materials from him while he is in the discovery stage of another civil rights suit, Bradley v. Dennison, No. 17-cv-862-MJR-SCW. (Doc. 1-1, p. 25).

         Plaintiff requests injunctive relief. (Doc. 1-1, p. 33). Among other things, Plaintiff seeks to be placed in a local, county, or federal institution if there is no protective custody for wheelchair-bound individuals in an IDOC facility, along with all of his personal property and legal work. (Doc 1-1, pp. 24-25). He also requests emergency medical attention. (Doc. 1-1, p. 25). Plaintiff wants his asthma pump and medical supplies to be returned to him and for all lines of communication between him and any inmates, healthcare staff, and security staff to be cut. (Doc. 1-1. p. 33). Further, he seeks permanent separation from various individuals while he remains in IDOC custody and an order that he never return to Pinckneyville for the remainder of his incarceration. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 34-35). Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1-1, p. 36).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint and the claims specifically articulated by the Plaintiff, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into thirteen counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of ...


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