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Bradley v. Wexford, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 11, 2019




         Plaintiff Deandre Bradley, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was subject to excessive use of force, was denied due process, and had his serious medical needs ignored or undertreated. He also alleges he was denied access to protective custody due to his use of a wheelchair, in violation of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 794-94e, and the United States Constitution. He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a 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 must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: He is a paraplegic as a result of a stab wound that he previously suffered. (Doc. 1, pp. 4, 14). Due to his injuries, Plaintiff cannot walk, must use a wheelchair, and suffers from pressure sores. Id.

         On June 19, 2019, [1] Plaintiff was scheduled to see the Parole Review Board. Id., p. 3. Defendant Goetz came to his cell to retrieve him, and an argument ensued about Plaintiff's hair. Id. Goetz ordered Plaintiff back in his cell, stating that he had refused his Parole Review Board meeting. Id. After another exchange, Goetz assaulted Plaintiff and called for backup. Id., pp. 4-5. When Defendant Whithoft and several other officers arrived, Plaintiff was on the ground and asked for medical attention due to severe pain in his back. Id., p. 5. Whithoft ordered Plaintiff thrown back into his cell. Id. Plaintiff felt his back pop and his pain intensified, so he again requested medical attention. Id., pp. 5-6. He was taken to North 2 block's medical area, where the nurse said that because there was no redness, he would have to wait to see the doctor in a couple of days. Id., p. 6. Goetz later wrote a disciplinary report accusing Plaintiff of grabbing his pen and “using it in a stabbing motion” toward him. Id., p. 13.

         Plaintiff was apparently placed back in his cell and asked Whithoft to speak with internal affairs and a crisis team-requests which he denied. Id., p. 7. Whithoft then stated he was going to “make sure you [Plaintiff] don't eat for a while and suffer some other way[, ]” and ordered that the food port should not be opened for any reason, including giving food or medications. Id. According to his Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Plaintiff has been denied food and medication since at least June 24.[2] (Doc. 2, p. 15). In his Complaint, Plaintiff states that he was not fed or given prescribed pain and psychotropic medications for three days after the incident (June 19-21). (Doc. 1, p. 12). He alleges that Defendants Chitty, Jane Doe #1, and Otjen refused to provide him with his medications during this time, and that correctional officer John Doe #2 prevented him from getting prescribed medication on at least one occasion. Id., pp. 12-13.

         Despite his isolation, Plaintiff spoke with Defendant Cannon, a mental health worker who was doing rounds. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff informed her he was having thoughts of self-harm, but Cannon refused to put him on crisis watch. Id. He then proceeded to intentionally cut himself. Id.

         Plaintiff was placed on Elevated Security Risk (“ESR”) status by Whithoft after the incident with Goetz. Id., p. 8. Plaintiff was not given a hearing or opportunity to contest being placed on ESR status. As a result of his ESR status, unidentified officers have told Plaintiff that he cannot have his “indigent bag” of hygiene items; he was told he had to purchase them through the commissary. Id. He also was denied access to the prison yard. Id.

         Plaintiff requested to be placed in protective custody (“PC”), which was denied by Whithoft because there is no PC accommodation for prisoners in wheelchairs. Id., p. 9. Plaintiff alleges that he needs PC because it is “not out of the ordinary for security staff to retaliate against prisoners who have allegedly caused harm to a fellow officer[.]” Id., p. 11. Plaintiff is currently being held in the ADA Wing, where he is the only segregated inmate. Id., p. 12.

         Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Dr. Siddiqui, who he informed about the pain, neurological issues, and an inability to sit upright on his own. Id., pp. 14-15. Siddiqui stated the only course of treatment he could provide was an x-ray and refused to send him to an outside hospital for care or call for collegial review. Id., pp. 14-15. An x-ray was performed, which showed that Plaintiff had arthritis in his neck. Id., pp. 15-16. Siddiqui informed him that he would have to live with it because there was no cure. Id., p. 16.

         Plaintiff also complained to Siddiqui about his wheelchair, which had broken in December 2018 and was replaced with a large, heavy model that he cannot move himself. Id., pp. 16, 18, 20. Siddiqui claimed this was an issue for the ADA coordinator and a physical therapist. Id., pp. 16-17. Plaintiff then met with physical therapist John Doe #1, who told him he could not do anything about the wheelchair because it was a matter for the ADA staff and the doctor and because he was in segregation. Id., p. 17. Plaintiff blames Wexford, Menard's contracted healthcare provider, for failing to “employ a certified individual” who can “properly fit and prescribe” adequate wheelchairs. Id., pp. 22-23. Plaintiff also complains that the facility (possibly through Defendant Skidmore) is refusing to replace the specialized cushion he needs to prevent pressure sores. Id., p. 21.


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

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim for use of excessive force against Goetz in connection with the June 19, 2019 incident.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Goetz for denying him access to the Parole Review Board meeting and writing a false disciplinary report in connection with the June 19, 2019 incident.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to a serious medical need claim against Whithoft in connection with placing Plaintiff back in his cell after the June 19, 2019 incident.
Count 4: Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment and deliberate indifference claims against Whithoft for ordering that Plaintiff not be fed or given medication.
Count 5: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Whithoft for denying Plaintiff protective custody.
Count 6: Fourteenth Amendment denial of due process claim against Whithoft, Lawrence, and Jeffreys for Plaintiff's placement on ESR status.
Count 7: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Cannon for failing to respond to Plaintiff's indication that he would harm himself.
Count 8: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Chitty, Otjen, Jane Doe #1, and John Doe #2 for failing to administer Plaintiff's needed medications.
Count 9: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Siddiqui for failing send Plaintiff to an outside specialist.
Count 10: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Wexford, John Doe #1, and Skidmore related to his wheelchair and seat cushion issues.
Count 11: ADA and/or RA claim against Lawrence and Jeffreys for failing to provide access to PC for inmates in a wheelchair.
Count 12: Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim for being denied yard privileges and indigent bag hygiene items.

         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. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed ...

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