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Lopez v. Kink

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 17, 2019

BENIGNO LOPEZ, M51416, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN KINK, J. GARRETT, MS. BROOKS, and AMY BURLE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Benigno Lopez, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he was denied medical care for injuries he sustained in an inmate attack at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) on October 6, 2018. (Id. at pp. 1-17). He seeks money damages and a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 1, p. 10; Doc. 10).

         The Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations are liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The Complaint survives screening under this standard.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1, pp. 1-10): On October 6, 2018, Plaintiff was attacked by another inmate who struck him in the face until he lost consciousness and continued punching him until correctional officers intervened. (Id. at pp. 5-6). Plaintiff suffered a fractured cheek bone, lacerations, and bruising that required hospital treatment. (Id. at p. 6).

         After returning to Lawrence, Plaintiff was placed in segregation on investigative status.[1](Id.). He complained of dizziness and jaw pain but was not scheduled for a follow-up appointment. (Id. at p. 7). Plaintiff submitted a nurse sick call (NSC) request, but received no response. (Id. at p. 8). He submitted a second NSC request and was scheduled for an appointment that was cancelled. Brooks failed to check on him. (Id. at pp. 7-8).

         On October 29, 2018, Plaintiff filed a grievance to complain about the inadequate medical care he received for his injuries. Garrett interpreted the grievance as a third NSC request and instructed him to re-file it as such. Plaintiff appealed this response, but his appeal was denied by a grievance officer, [2] Kink, and Burle. (Id.). He filed an emergency grievance on December 10, 2018, but the grievance officer and Kink denied it. (Id. at pp. 9, 15-16). Plaintiff complains of ongoing dizziness and jaw pain. (Id.).

         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se Complaint into the following Counts:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for failing to protect Plaintiff from an inmate attack on October 6, 2018.
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for exhibiting deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's injuries (including a fractured cheek bone, dizziness, and jaw pain) sustained in the inmate attack on October 6, 2018.

         Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[3]

         Discussion

         Count 1

         Eighth Amendment claims consist of an objective and a subjective component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994); Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364 (7th Cir. 1996). In order to state an Eighth Amendment claim against the defendants for failing to prevent harm to Plaintiff, the Complaint must establish that the defendants subjected Plaintiff to conditions posing a serious risk of harm to his health or safety (an objective standard) and that they knowingly or intentionally disregarded the risk (a subjective standard). Farmer, 511 U.S. at 836-37. Plaintiff's allegations do not satisfy the subjective component of this claim ...


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