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Hampton v. Osmundson

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

October 7, 2019

DR. OSMUNDSON, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, a former prisoner, filed a pro se complaint under § 1983 after having been released from custody. Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) on his deliberate indifference and conditions of confinement claims which arose at the Illinois River Correctional Center (“IRCC”). Plaintiff's petition to proceed IFP is reviewed under 28 U.S.C. §1915 (a)(1), rather than § 1915 (a)(2), which applies only to incarcerated persons. Section 1915 (a)(1) “is designed to ensure indigent litigants meaningful access to the federal courts.” Christophel v. Brandl, No. 08-755, 2008 WL 5429658, at *1 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 31, 2008) citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). Before allowing a litigant to proceed in forma pauperis, the court must determine whether the litigant is able to pay the costs of commencing the action. The court must deny an IFP request if: (1) the allegation of poverty is untrue; (2) the action is frivolous; (3) the action fails to state a claim; or (4) the action seeks monetary relief against an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2).

         Plaintiff has filed a petition for leave to proceed IFP[ ECF 3] and an updated petition [ECF 4]. In the updated petition, Plaintiff avers under oath that he has no job, that he lives with his aunt, and that his total income if $191.00 per month in public assistance. As it appears that the allegations of poverty are true, the Court now reviews the complaint to determine whether the action is frivolous, fails to state a claim or seeks monetary relief against a defendant immune from suit.

         In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649-51 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). While the pleading standard does not require “detailed factual allegations”, it requires “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx. 588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).


         On February 11, 2019, Plaintiff began experiencing significant abdominal pain which he attributes to a kidney stone. He was seen by Defendant Nurse Hanun who admitted him to the prison infirmary. Defendant Hanun also gave Plaintiff an injection of Narco, a narcotic pain medication, which provided some relief. When the pain later worsened, Defendant Hanun administered another injection. Plaintiff appears to have done better after this and, on the following day, February 12, 2019, was discharged by Defendant Dr. Osmundson.

         On the day following his discharge, February 13, 2019, Plaintiff's pain returned worse than before. He returned to the infirmary where Defendant Hanun gave him another shot of pain medication, presumably Norco. Defendant explained that there was a shortage of beds and Defendant Officer Pow provided Plaintiff with a mattress and sheets on the floor. Plaintiff claims, however, that he saw an unused bed in the hallway and, when he asked to use it, Defendant Pow refused.

         Plaintiff claims that he continued to experience pain that night and the infirmary was very cold. He asked Defendant Nurse Robinson for something other than Norco and she told him there was nothing she could do. Plaintiff complained to Defendant Officer Flutter that it was only 16 degrees outside, asking him to turn up the heat. Defendant Flutter told Plaintiff he was unable to do so. Plaintiff does not reveal whether he asked staff for blankets, indicating only that he asked that the heat be turned up. Plaintiff also complains of cold the following night, indicating that he continued to sleep on the floor and that it was only 9 degrees outside. He offers nothing, however, to establish the indoor temperature on either night.

         The following morning, Defendant Nurse Robinson administered him six pills instead of the two Norco pills he was expecting. Within 20 minutes, Plaintiff began experiencing whole-body tingling, dizziness, and trouble breathing. He pushed the emergency button which apparently did not work, as it made no audible sound. Plaintiff was unable to summon Defendant Robinson and had to wait until another nurse appeared at change of shift.

         When Defendant Nurse Power came on duty, Plaintiff told her of the symptoms he had experienced after receiving the unidentified medications from Defendant Robinson. Defendant Power checked Plaintiff's chart and apparently concluded that he had been given medication intended for another patient. Defendant Power returned with Defendant Miller, a Nurse Practitioner. Defendant Miller apologized for the error and ordered that Plaintiff undergo bloodwork. Plaintiff requested pain medication which Defendant Miller refused, pending the results of the work-up. He also asked Defendant Power for pain medication and she, too, refused until the blood results came back.

         Plaintiff alleges that over the course of several days, he complained of the cold to Defendants Miller, Smith, Robinson, Power, Armstrong, Hanun, Pow and Flutter, to no avail. He also asserts an unrelated claim that on February 15, 2019, he requested cold medication from Defendant Nurse Armstrong. Plaintiff claims that, despite the request, he did not receive the cold medication until February 17, 2019, two days later.


         “The Eighth Amendment safeguards the prisoner against a lack of medical care that may result in pain and suffering which no one suggests would serve any penological purpose.” Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011)(internal quotations and footnote omitted). “Prison officials violate the Constitution if they are deliberately indifferent to prisoners' serious medical needs.” Id. (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). “In order to prevail on a deliberate indifference claim, a plaintiff must show (1) that his condition was ‘objectively, sufficiently serious' and (2) that the ‘prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind.” Lee v. Young, 533 F.3d 505, 509 (7th Cir. 2008).

         As to Defendant Osmundson, Plaintiff pleads only that the physician discharged him from the infirmary on February 12, 2019, after his abdominal pain had subsided. This fails to plead deliberate indifference and Defendant Osmundson is dismissed. See Johnson v. Doughty,433 F.3d 1001, 1013 (7th Cir. 2006) (doctor ...

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