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Thompsonn v. Lochard

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 29, 2019

SHAUN THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. HUGHES LOCHARD, and C/O JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Shaun Thompson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights while he was a detainee at the Jefferson County Justice Center. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges Defendants failed to treat his serious medical needs while in custody. He seeks monetary damages.

         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). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).[1]

         Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): On January 22, 2019, Plaintiff experienced chest pain, tingling in his fingers and “heart fluttering.” (Id., p. 1). He pushed the emergency call button (presumably in his cell) and spoke with corrections officer John Doe, asking to be taken to the emergency room. (Id.). Doe refused, but did have Plaintiff's blood pressure taken. (Id.). His blood pressure registered at 122/86. (Id., p. 3). Dr. Lochard was informed and told Doe to recheck his blood pressure in 2 hours. (Id., p. 1). After two hours, Plaintiff was still complaining of the same symptoms and registered a blood pressure of 105/77. (Id., pp. 1, 3). Lochard ordered that Plaintiff be seen by the nurse in the morning. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that he should have been take to the emergency room for an EKG because he takes multiple blood pressure medications. (Id., p. 2).

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate the pro se action as a single Count:

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim for failure to respond in an objectively reasonable manner to a serious medical need against John Doe and Dr. Lochard.

         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 First Amended Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[2]

         Discussion

         Plaintiff fails to state a claim. The Fourteenth Amendment governs a state's obligations to pretrial detainees.[3] The standard first asks whether a defendant acted purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly when they considered the consequences of their handling of the plaintiff's case. McCann v. Ogle Cty., 909 F.3d 881, 886 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing Miranda v. Cty. of Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 354 (7th Cir. 2018)). Neither negligence nor gross negligence satisfies this element. Id. With respect to the second element, looking at all of the facts and circumstances before the defendant, a court must determine whether the response was reasonable, without taking into account “any subjective belief held by the individual.” Id.

         First, Plaintiff has failed to plead any injury. “[T]here is no tort-common law, statutory, or constitutional-without an injury, actual or at least probabilistic.” Jackson v. Pollion, 733 F.3d 786, 790 (7th Cir. 2013). Plaintiff felt chest pain, tingling and fluttering. He does not allege that any medical intervention was necessary, or that he sustained any injury from not getting his desired trip to the emergency room for an EKG. The fact that Plaintiff did not get what he wanted is not, standing alone, a basis for a claim that he was deprived of a constitutional right.

         Further, Plaintiff has not alleged any facts that suggest either John Doe or Lochard acted purposefully, knowingly or recklessly with regard to Plaintiff's condition, or that their actions were objectively unreasonable. Doe provided initial medical care to Plaintiff and consulted with Dr. Lochard. Doe then followed Lochard's direction as to what was the appropriate care-continued monitoring. If a prisoner is under the care of prison medical professionals, a non-medical prison official “will generally be justified in believing that the prisoner is in capable hands.” Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 755 (7th Cir. 2011). As to Lochard, he provided instructions for medical monitoring. Plaintiff's claim is that he should have been sent for more extensive monitoring at the local hospital. At most, Plaintiff's Complaint might support a claim that this decision was negligent. But as discussed above, negligence-even gross negligence-is not adequate to support a Fourteenth Amendment claim for failure to provide healthcare. Count 1 is therefore dismissed without prejudice.

         D ...


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