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Grimsley v. Wexford Health Source

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 29, 2019

AARON D. GRIMSLEY, #S09620, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Aaron D. Grimsley, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Danville Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred while he was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). He asserts claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments for deficient medical care. 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, which requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious 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 of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint: Plaintiff was an inmate at Lawrence from May 2018 to April 2019. (Doc. 1, p. 6). During that time, he suffered from a severe ear infection that caused bleeding, wax buildup, hearing issues, burning sensations, and green drainage. (Id.). He sought proper medical treatment from Wexford Health Source, Health Administrator Lorie Cunningham, Nurse Practitioner Stove, [1] Dr. Shaw, and Dr. Lynn Pittman. He was prescribed antibiotics for nearly a year that did work and caused issues with his internal organs. Each defendant chose to blatantly ignore and disregard his pleas for proper medical care.

         On December 1, 2018, Plaintiff saw Dr. Shaw and was told his ear was fine-even though it was draining green fluid and smelled bad. On January 7, 2019, Nurse Practitioner Stove saw his ear draining green fluid. On January 20, 2019, his ear was bleeding, and a C/O arranged for him to be seen at the Health Care Unit (“HCU”). On January 21, 2019, Dr. Shaw ordered a culture but was dismissive and refused to look in Plaintiff's ear to determine why it is was bleeding.

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

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by denying Plaintiff proper medical care for an ear infection.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment “discrimination-equal protection” claim against Defendants.

         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. The designations do not constitute an opinion regarding their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading standard.[2]


         For the reasons explained below, the Complaint does not survive preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and will be dismissed. Section 1983 creates a cause of action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault. Therefore, “to be liable under § 1983, the individual defendant must have caused or participated in a constitutional deprivation.” Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d 805, 810 (7th Cir. 2005). To state a claim against a defendant, a plaintiff must describe what the defendant did or failed to do that violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights. The plaintiff is also required to associate specific defendants with specific claims so that defendants are put on notice of the claims brought against them and they can properly answer the Complaint. Twombly, 550 at 555; FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, the Complaint must include a short, plain statement of the case against each individual. Allegations made collectively against a group of defendants fails to comply with Rule 8. Further, threadbare, conclusory allegations are insufficient to state a claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Count 1

         Prison officials impose cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment when they are deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Chatham v. Davis, 839 F.3d 679, 684 (7th Cir. 2016). To state a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, an inmate must show that (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) the defendant was deliberately indifferent to a risk of serious harm from that condition. Rasho v. Elyea, 856 F.3d 469, 475-76 (7th Cir. 2017).

         Plaintiff's claim against Defendants Shaw, Stove, Pittman, and Cunningham fails on the second element. Although the Complaint suggests that Plaintiff did not receive proper medical treatment for an ear infection, it does not include allegations sufficient to establish that the individual Defendants failed to appropriately treat Plaintiff's medical condition and acted with the requisite state of mind regarding his medical care. Plaintiff provides the dates of two visits with Dr. Shaw and one with Nurse Practitioner Stove and minimal information on what transpired during those visits. Apart from that limited information, the Complaint contains conclusory and collective allegations against Defendants. Additionally, the Complaint does ...

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