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Anderson v. Wexford Health Sources Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 3, 2019

STEVEN ANDERSON, #M40897, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., DOCTOR SANTOS, DAN ZECK, NURSE NALEWAJKA, NURSE SHAW, DULEY, SERGEANT SLANE, SERGEANT LOERA, LIEUTENANT JACK, C/O TONNINGS, SERGEANT JOHN DOE, L. WILLIAMS, and CENTRALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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

         Plaintiff Steven Anderson, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”) (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims prison officials, medical staff, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) exhibited deliberate indifference to his broken hand by delaying surgery for a compound fracture and regularly cuffing him behind his back. He seeks declaratory and monetary relief. (Id.).

         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

         According to the allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1, pp. 1-8): Plaintiff was involved in an altercation with another Centralia inmate on August 22, 2018. (Id. at p. 2). Following a 3-day delay, Dr. Austin[1] confirmed through x-rays that his left hand was broken.[2] Dr. Santos requested a referral to an orthopedic surgeon, but Wexford, Nalewajka, and Zeck delayed the process. (Id. at p. 3). Wexford did not approve the referral until six days after the injury. Nalewajka waited another week to alert Wexford about Plaintiff's missing Medicaid information. Zeck then produced the wrong information three days later. (Id.).

         While Plaintiff was housed in segregation[3] awaiting surgery, prison officials rear-cuffed him 3 to 4 times per week. (Id. at pp. 4-5). Plaintiff pointed out the compound fracture and significant pain caused by the cuffing, but Slane, Loera, Jack, Tonnings, and Sergeant John Doe told him they did not care. Dr. Santos ignored Plaintiff's request for a front-cuff permit. (Id.). Prison medical staff, including Shaw and Duley, ignored his pleas for help during their medication rounds. (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff's surgery was ultimately postponed until October 18, 2018.[4] (Id.).

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following two counts:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Slane, Loera, Jack, Tonnings, and John Doe for repeatedly rear-cuffing Plaintiff while he suffered from a broken hand from August 22, 2018 until October 18, 2018.
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against defendants for unnecessarily delaying Plaintiff's medical treatment for a broken hand or causing additional pain/injury while he awaited treatment for the injury from August 22, 2018 until October 18, 2018.

         Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed herein should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[5]

         Discussion

         Preliminary Dismissals

         Plaintiff cannot proceed with his claim for money damages against Centralia Correctional Center. The Supreme Court has held that “neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities are ‘persons' under [Section] 1983.” Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). The prison is a division of the IDOC and is neither a “person” within the meaning of the Civil Rights Act nor subject to a Section 1983 suit. See Will, 491 U.S. at 71. Centralia shall therefore be dismissed with prejudice from this action.

         Coun ...


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