United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kenneth Hamilton, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at
East Moline Correctional Center (“East Moline”),
brings this action for alleged deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he has not received
adequate medical care for his allergy to wool blankets, and
that administrative responses to his issue have been lacking.
He seeks adequate medical care, damages, a permanent order in
his prison file that he be provided with cotton blankets, and
“any other relief the Court sees fit.”
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).
makes the following allegations in the Complaint: Plaintiff
arrived at Centralia Correctional Center
(“Centralia”) in October of 2016 after a stay at
Shawnee Correctional Center (Doc. 1 at 19-20). On November
20, 2017, Plaintiff filed a grievance asking for a non-wool
blanket because he alleged that he had a documented allergy
to wool (Doc. 1 at 11).
“wool allergy” grievance was not handled properly
at all stages of the grievance process. Plaintiff's
counselor, Defendant Rollins, did not deem his grievance a
medical emergency (Id. at 9). Rather than
considering it a medical emergency or simply ordering
Plaintiff a wool blanket, Rollins responded that since his
arrival at Centralia, Plaintiff had not seen healthcare about
itching or a rash, but he could do so or purchase a non-wool
blanket from the commissary (Id. at 9-10). Grievance
officer, Defendant Susan Walker, agreed with Rollins and
added that there were no wool allergy test results in
Plaintiff's file (Id. at 10). Walker recommended
that the grievance be denied and that any medical
determinations be left to the healthcare personnel
to Plaintiff, a prisoner can file a medical emergency
grievance directly with the Warden, who is then obligated to
review it for a substantial risk of harm and to respond in
writing (Id. at 11). A warden may, from time to
time, delegate his duties during a temporary absence or
emergency, but there shall not be permanent delegation
(Id.). Despite this delegation structure, Defendant
Warden Robert Mueller routinely designated others to review
and sign all grievances (Id.).
December 4, 2017, Defendant Dave Stock wrote a memorandum
ordering that Plaintiff be provided with a cotton blanket and
directing that the memorandum be sent to any future housing
unit upon relocation (Id. at 11-12). The memo was
placed in Plaintiff's medical file (Id.).
Despite the memorandum, Plaintiff lodged his grievances with
the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) on
December 18, 2017 (Id. at 12). Rather than tackle
the substance of Plaintiff's grievance, Defendant Debbie
Knauer parroted earlier responses and stated that he could
request assistance from the healthcare unit as needed
(Id.). On December 20, 2017, John Baldwin signed the
appeal, endorsing previous responses (Id.).
wool allergy is a long-term condition capable of producing
serious complications (Id.). Rather than treating it
as such, nonmedical prison officials unreasonably relied upon
medical personnel who were providing an insufficient response
to Plaintiff's condition (Id. at 12-13). As a
result, Plaintiff was forced to suffer cold nights with the
cover of only a sheet (Id.).
support of his Complaint, he appended the grievances he
submitted at Centralia regarding his need for a cotton
blanket (Id. at 19-28). Plaintiff seeks injunctive
relief in the form of a cotton blanket for the rest of his
time in the IDOC (Id. at 14). He asserts that
without the accommodation, he will suffer irreparable harm in
the form of pain and suffering from a swollen tongue, face,
and feet (Id. at 15).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following Counts:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference by
Defendants Rollins and Walker for their insufficient review
of Plaintiff's grievance.
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference by Mueller
for delegating his responsibility to review grievances and
blindly endorsing other's recommendations.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference by
Defendants Knauer and Baldwin for their response to