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Lewis v. Shehorn

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 27, 2019

SYLVESTER LEWIS #B83885, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER SHEHORN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Sylvester Lewis, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for an alleged deprivation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff asserts a deliberate indifference claim under the Eighth Amendment regarding the denial of medical treatment for a spider bite that occurred when he was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center. He seeks monetary damages.

         Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint[1] is subject to 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 a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, meritless, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         Litigation History

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that Plaintiff did not fully disclose his litigation history. The form that Plaintiff used for his Complaint specifically requires that a claimant list every lawsuit he has begun in state or federal court while in jail or prison. (Doc. 1, p. 3). The form specifically warns that failure to fully disclose litigation history may result in sanctions that include dismissal of the action. Id. Despite this warning, Plaintiff failed to disclose that he filed another prisoner civil rights case in this Court in December 2018. See Lewis v. Stout, 3:18-cv-02209-SMY (S.D. Il). In that case, Plaintiff also failed to fully disclose his litigation history and was warned that failing to disclose that case in future proceedings would result in summary dismissal for attempted fraud on the Court. Id. at Doc. 14, p. 4.

         The Court will not dismiss this case based on that warning, because it appears Plaintiff did not receive that Order prior to signing the Complaint. The Order in 18-cv-02209 was entered on April 5, 2019. This case was received by the Court on April 11, 2019 (Doc. 1), but in the Complaint there is a notary acknowledgement of Plaintiff's signature dated April 4, 2019 (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff is, however, WARNED that failing to disclose his litigation history including Lewis v. Tina, 3:13-cv-797-MJR (S.D. Il), Lewis v. Stout, 3:18-cv-02209-SMY (S.D. Il), or the present case in future proceedings will result in summary dismissal for attempted fraud on the Court.

         First Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the First Amended Complaint: Plaintiff was bitten by a spider bite while sleeping. The bite woke him, and he killed the spider. His face became swollen, irritated, and painful. He notified Correctional Officer Shehorn about the spider bite and showed him the dead spider. He asked Shehorn for medical treatment numerous times over the next several hours, but Shehorn refused to allow him to go to the health care unit.

         Based on the allegations in the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single count:

         Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against Defendant for denying Plaintiff medical treatment for a spider bite.

         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 does not constitute an opinion regarding its merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the First Amended Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading standard.[2]

         Discussion

         The Eighth Amendment “imposes a duty on government officials to provide medical care to prisoners.” Townsend v. Cooper, 759 F.3d 678, 689 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976)). Prison officials violate the Eighth Amendment when they respond to a prisoner's serious medical needs with deliberate indifference. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104). For screening purposes, Plaintiff's spider bite, which resulted in swelling, irritation, and pain, will be considered a serious medical need. The allegations suggest that Shehorn responded to Plaintiff's spider bite with deliberate indifference. At this stage, Count 1 will proceed against Shehorn.

         D ...


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