United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Carl Gallo, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently
incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center
(“Big Muddy”), brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff
alleges that Nursing Director Jason and Nurse Prosise
retaliated against him for filing a grievance about
inadequate medical care by charging him a $5.00 copayment for
treatment of his gastroesophageal reflux disease. (Doc. 1,
pp. 8-11). He asserts claims against both defendants under
the First and Eighth Amendments. (Id.). Plaintiff
seeks a court order defining “chronic condition,
” refunding him for all copayments charged for his
treatment, and prohibiting future retaliation. (Id.
at p. 12).
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to
screen prisoner Complaints and 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).
following allegations are set forth in the Complaint (Doc. 1,
pp. 8-11): Plaintiff has been diagnosed by a physician with
gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”), a
chronic health condition that causes acid reflux,
indigestion, and heartburn, among other things. (Doc. 1, p.
10). He takes antacids to manage the condition.
filing a grievance to complain about inadequate medical care
he received from Big Muddy's medical staff on June 19,
2017, Plaintiff became the target of harassment and
retaliation by Nurse Prosise and Nursing Director Jason.
(Doc. 1, pp. 8, 11). On June 20, 2017, Nursing Director Jason
accused Plaintiff of giving the nurses a “hard
time.” (Id. at pp. 8-9). The same day, Nurse
Prosise met with Plaintiff at nurse sick call to discuss his
request for more antacids and to complete the indigestion /
heartburn protocol. (Id.). Prosise then instructed
Plaintiff to sign a $5.00 copayment voucher for her services.
(Id. at pp. 9-10). Plaintiff initially refused.
Plaintiff asked Nursing Director Jason about the copayment
requirement for his chronic condition, Jason assured
Plaintiff that he could obtain refills of antacids every
three days without a copayment. (Id.). Jason
nevertheless allowed the copayment voucher to be processed.
(Id. at p. 11). Since that date, Plaintiff has
regularly been required to make a $5.00 copayment for
treatment of his chronic condition. (Id.).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following enumerated counts:
Count 1: Defendants retaliated against
Plaintiff for filing a grievance against Big Muddy's
medical staff on June 19, 2017, by verbally harassing him and
charging him a $5.00 copayment for treatment of GERD
thereafter, in violation of the First Amendment.
Count 2: Defendants exhibited deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff's chronic health condition by
charging him a $5.00 copayment for treatment of GERD, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment.
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 herein is considered dismissed without prejudice
as inadequately pled under
order to proceed with a retaliation claim at this stage,
Plaintiff's allegations must at least suggest that
“(1) he engaged in activity protected by the First
Amendment; (2) he suffered a deprivation likely to deter such
activity; and (3) the First Amendment activity was at least a
motivating factor in the decision to impose the
deprivation.” Hawkins v. Mitchell, 756 F.3d
983, 996 (7th Cir. 2014) (citations ...