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Martin v. Siddiqui

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 24, 2019

SPENCER MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. SIDDIQUI, NURSE PRACTITIONER ZIMMERMAN and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Spencer Martin, an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of state law under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 in connection with alleged deliberate indifference to his medical condition. He seeks monetary 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). 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).

         Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): Plaintiff complained about ongoing shoulder and neck pain to Dr. Siddiqui, a doctor at Menard, in June 2017. (Id., p. 7). He was prescribed ibuprofen. (Id.). Over the course of several months, he informed Siddiqui and Nurse Practitioner Zimmerman that he was continuing to have pain, that it was interfering with his daily activities, and that the ibuprofen was ineffective. (Id.). In June 2018, Siddiqui prescribed Voltaren, which was similarly ineffective. (Id.). Siddiqui informed him there was nothing further to be done. (Id.). Additionally, Siddiqui and Zimmerman refused to recommend him for a front-cuff permit despite his condition. (Id., p. 8).

         Plaintiff later was sent for a series of MRIs by another doctor beginning in October 2018. (Id.). Both Siddqui and Zimmerman subsequently told Plaintiff he would require surgery, but “still prescribed nothing for [Plaintiff’s] pain.” (Id., p. 9). On May 4, 2019, Plaintiff was told by Zimmerman that he was being scheduled for surgery. (Id.).

         Essentially, Plaintiff claims that Siddiqui and Zimmerman delayed effective treatment of his neck and shoulder pain, persisting with treatments that they knew were ineffective. Plaintiff further alleges that the delay in treatment was part of a “pattern and practice” of delaying needed surgeries to Menard inmates in order to “achieve Wexford’s cost cutting measures.” (Id., p. 11).

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

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition 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. 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.[1]

         Discussion

         Count 1

         Plaintiff’s first claims fall under the general umbrella of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The Supreme Court has recognized that deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980). To prevail on a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, there are “two high hurdles, which every inmate-plaintiff must clear.” Dunigan ex rel. Nyman v. Winnebago Cnty., 165 F.3d 587, 590 (7th Cir. 1999). First, the plaintiff must demonstrate he suffered from an objectively serious medical condition. Id. at 591-92. Second, the plaintiff must establish the individual prison officials were deliberately indifferent to that condition. Id.

         Plaintiff’s medical condition was diagnosed by a physician as requiring surgical treatment and are therefore sufficiently serious to support a claim. Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997) (defining serious medical need to include those conditions that have been diagnosed by a physician as ...


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