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Henney v. Kohn

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 12, 2019

DANIEL HENNEY, Plaintiff,
v.
KOHN, JANE DOE NURSE, CUNNINGHAM, KEVIN KINK, C/O SLOAN, C. KAMP, SARAH JOHNSON, JOHN BALDWIN, C/O JENKINS, JOHN DOE #1 FOOD SUPERVISOR, JOHN DOE #2 LT., and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Daniel Henney, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleges Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the sanitary conditions in the dining hall and to his medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment, 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

          Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): While at Lawrence, Plaintiff has experienced unsanitary conditions in the dining hall. (Id. at p. 11). The dining hall is infested with mice and seasonal flies and bugs. The cleaning in both the kitchen and the dining hall are substandard. There is an excess of water and other liquids on the floor of the dining hall and the trays, cups, and tables are not clean and are often caked with old food. (Id. at pp. 12, 14-15). For two months beginning in December 2018, a sparrow and large pigeon were stuck in the dining hall, but none of the correctional staff would capture the birds. (Id. at p. 23). Plaintiff informed both the John Doe Food Supervisor and the John Doe Lieutenant on duty about the birds and the hazards that they posed but they did nothing. Defendant Kohn was in charge of the dining hall and was aware of the unsanitary conditions but did not seek to remedy the conditions. He stated in response to Plaintiff's numerous grievances that the dietary department followed all sanitation regulations. (Id. at p. 13).

         Plaintiff developed illnesses as a result of the conditions in the dining hall. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-22). Plaintiff had vomiting on January 24, 2018 after eating in the dining hall. (Id. at p. 12). He asked an inmate to inform C/O Morgan of his illness and C/O Morgan called the healthcare unit but did not check on Plaintiff. A Jane Doe nurse later told Plaintiff to drink liquids and if he continued to feel sick to contact the healthcare unit.

         On another occasion, Plaintiff fell ill after eating food that was served “in-house”. (Id. at p. 15). Although he pushed the panic button, it took twenty minutes for C/O Morgan to respond. Plaintiff met with an unknown nurse who swabbed Plaintiff's nose to check for the flu but did not provide him with any further treatment. He continued to suffer vomiting and diarrhea and wrote to the healthcare unit but did not receive a response. (Id. at p. 16). A Jane Doe nurse finally responded to Plaintiff's request slip after he filed a grievance but informed him that he had to be throwing up for 24 hours before he could receive any help from the healthcare unit. Plaintiff alleges that this is a Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) policy which prevents an inmate from receiving care unless he has been vomiting for 24 hours. (Id. at p. 17). He finally saw a doctor two days later and was provided with medication for his nausea.

         Plaintiff again suffered from vomiting on March 28, 2019. (Doc. 1, p. 19). He pushed the panic button several times and finally a porter informed C/O Jenkins about his condition. C/O Jenkins instructed Plaintiff to write a note to the healthcare unit. He returned approximately twenty minutes later and again informed Plaintiff to write the healthcare unit after Plaintiff again requested help. He later reported to Plaintiff that he contacted the healthcare unit and no one responded. Two officers on the next shift took Plaintiff to the healthcare unit and he was provided with medication for his nausea and placed on a liquid diet. (Id.).

         Plaintiff wrote numerous grievances about the conditions in the dining hall and his various instances of illness after eating there. His counselor and Healthcare Unit Administrator Cunningham responded each time that appropriate care was given to Plaintiff for his vomiting. (Doc. 1, p. 13, 17, 19, and 20). As to the conditions of the dining hall, Kohn responded that the dietary department follows all sanitation regulations. (Id. at p. 13, 15, 17, and 20). Grievance Officer C. Kamp denied the grievances and Warden Kevin Kink signed off on them. Sarah Johnson and John Baldwin also denied the grievances.

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

Count 1:Kohn, C/O Sloan, John Doe #1 Food Supervisor, and John Doe #2 Lieutenant were deliberately indifferent under the Eighth Amendment to Plaintiff's conditions of confinement in the dining hall.
Count 2:Jane Doe Nurse and C/O Jenkins were deliberately indifferent under the Eighth Amendment to Plaintiff's request for medical care for his vomiting.
Count 3:Wexford was deliberately indifferent under the Eighth Amendment for maintaining a 24-hour policy, delaying Plaintiff care for his vomiting for twenty-four hours.
Count 4:Cunningham, Kevin Kink, C. Kamp, Sarah Johnson, and John Baldwin were deliberately indifferent under the Eighth Amendment in responding to ...

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