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Johnson v. Daugherty

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 4, 2019



          Staci M. Yandle United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Carlos Johnson, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights while at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”). Plaintiff submitted an Amended Complaint for review and a Motion to Amend Complaint was docketed and is now before the Court (Doc. 6). Plaintiff's Motion to Amend is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED as follows: to file Plaintiff's Amended Complaint on the docket; to add Dr. David, Sgt. Grear, Kim Johnston, Lt. Gentry, M. Littrell, R. Barnard, Nurse Reynolds, Nurse Blake, C/O Owens, Z. Moore, Lt. Bradford, Harry Allard, John Doe Sergeant, and Sgt. Johnson to the docket; and to correct Dr. Burrell's name to Dr. Thomas Burrell and Kasey Hughes's name to Kasey Freeman.

         Plaintiff claims Defendants failed to protect him from two inmate assaults in violation of the Eighth Amendment and retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment. He also alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the injuries resulting from the assaults, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He seeks monetary damages and declaratory 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).

         The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Amended Complaint: On February 14, 2019, Plaintiff was in the commissary when Inmate Sykes threatened him in a loud voice. C/O Ricky Daugherty was also in the commissary taking cell numbers down and overheard the threat but ignored it and continued with his count. Plaintiff left the commissary building and was struck in the mouth and knocked unconscious by Sykes. Daugherty then pulled Sykes away from Plaintiff.

         As a result of the February 14, 2019 assault, Plaintiff suffered an injury to his front tooth (tooth #9). Dr. Thomas Burrell saw Plaintiff for the injury and took an x-ray which showed moderate bone loss. Dr. Burrell also tried to push the tooth back causing Plaintiff pain. He prescribed Plaintiff amoxicillin and ibuprofen and stated that he would follow-up with Plaintiff in 7 days.

         Dr. Burrell visited Plaintiff in segregation to examine his tooth on February 21, 2019. He recommended pulling tooth #14 but Plaintiff stated that he had previously been told by a prison dentist that the tooth would need oral surgery. Plaintiff informed Sgt. Grear that he did not want treatment from Dr. Burrell and wanted to return to his cell, but Dr. Burrell grabbed Plaintiff by the throat and told him to open his mouth. Sgt. Grear yelled three times for Dr. Burrell to let go of Plaintiff's throat. Sgt. Grear failed to file an incident report, in violation of IDOC policy.

         Plaintiff saw Dr. Burrell on April 2, 2019 and he again offered to pull the tooth. As the two were discussing his teeth, Dental Hygienist James entered the office and asked Plaintiff several times “Do you know where [you're] at? We don't have to send you nowhere to get nothing done.” He then stormed out the of the office and informed a correctional officer to remove Plaintiff from the dentist office. James told Plaintiff to write a grievance about his actions. Plaintiff believes James denied him medical treatment in retaliation for writing grievances.

         On April 20, 2019, Plaintiff spoke with Officer Johnson and asked for medical care as his tooth broke in half while eating lunch. Officer Johnson called Dr. Burrell about Plaintiff's tooth. Although Dr. Burrell instructed Officer Johnson to send Plaintiff over for care, John Doe Sergeant denied Plaintiff's request to go to the healthcare unit and told him to lock up. Nurse R. Barnard falsified Plaintiff's medical records to show that he refused care and was argumentative, further denying him care.

         Plaintiff wrote grievances about his medical treatment but K. Seip kept returning them as duplicate grievances when they were not duplicates. Plaintiff also wrote K. Smoot numerous letters about his dental treatment, but she did not respond. He also wrote a grievance about his dental care and Burrell's treatment of Plaintiff, but Gladyse C. Taylor and Amy Burle denied the grievance as moot. Jeffrey Dennison also denied a grievance related to his dental care.

         Plaintiff saw Dr. Burrell again on April 24, 2019 for the now broken tooth. During the visit, Sgt. Johnson stood over Plaintiff in a threatening manner while Plaintiff was in the dentist chair. Plaintiff again declined Dr. Burrell's request to pull the tooth and Dr. Burrell responded to Sgt. Johnson that he told Plaintiff he could pull the tooth. Plaintiff was afraid during the visit and asked to return to his cell. Plaintiff believes that Sgt. Johnson and Dr. Burrell purposefully intimidated him during the visit to prevent care and as a form of retaliation for filing grievances about his care.

         Plaintiff saw nurse Kasey Freeman in the healthcare unit on May 29, 2019 for blood pressure medication and asked for care for his back tooth as it was broken in half and causing him pain. Freeman responded that Plaintiff was blackballed from the dentist because he files too many grievances. Plaintiff did not see anyone for the injuries to his teeth again.

         Inmate Sykes and Plaintiff were both placed in segregation as a result of the assault and Sykes told other inmates in segregation that Plaintiff was a state witness and had received full immunity in a triple murder case. Plaintiff wrote an emergency grievance about the threats to Warden Jeffrey Dennison on February 14, 2019 and asked for a transfer and protective custody. He also wrote a letter to Dennison. The grievance was denied by Jeffery Dennison, grievance officer Bob Allard, K. Seip, Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) official Amy Burle, and IDOC Director Rob Jeffreys.

         Plaintiff wrote another emergency grievance on March 2, 2019 about the threats and that Plaintiff believed he was in danger because other inmates were also threatening him. The grievance was not deemed an emergency and was sent to counselor Harry Allard. Harry Allard informed Plaintiff that he needed more information, including the incident report and dates of the incident. Harry Allard improperly required Plaintiff to submit the incident report when the grievance involved threats by other inmates and not the original incident report.

         Plaintiff went before the Adjustment Committee on February 20, 2019. Adjustment Committee members Lt. Austin Laster and Christopher Housman asked Plaintiff if he feared for his safety. Plaintiff informed the committee members that Inmate Sykes was telling other inmates in segregation that he was a state witness and had received full immunity. Although Plaintiff requested a transfer, Laster and Housman only recommended that Plaintiff be kept separate from Inmate Sykes. Plaintiff also wrote Intel Officer Hughes about the threats but never received a response.

         On June 4, 2019, Plaintiff was approached by two inmates who asked Plaintiff if he was a state witness and had received immunity for a triple murder. The two inmates then stabbed Plaintiff multiple times in the face, back, arms, and chest. One of the inmates gouged his right eye with a thumb. His middle finger was dislocated in the attack and he was hit with a hotpot and a sock filled with batteries.

         Plaintiff was taken to the healthcare unit after the attack where Kasey Freeman falsified the report by stating that some of the injuries were self-inflicted by Plaintiff. He informed Freeman that his eye hurt and he believed it was cut, but she refused to treat his eye and told him to stop being a baby. Another nurse later noted on June 6, 2019 that his eye was red and had possible abrasions.

         Plaintiff met with Lt. Bradford and Z Moore in the Internal Affairs Office on June 5, 2019 after the fight. Plaintiff informed them of the assault. Lt. Bradford pointed out that he had a grievance from Plaintiff on his desk from February 4, 2019 and noted that it was funny that the grievance related to failure to protect. He then falsely wrote a disciplinary ticket for fighting despite the fact that Plaintiff was the only one that received injuries in the assault by the two inmates.

         Plaintiff saw Dr. David on June 6, 2019 for his dislocated finger. Dr David pulled on Plaintiff's finger causing him pain. Dr. David ordered a muscle relaxer, but Nurse Freeman gave Plaintiff a shot of Toridol in addition to the muscle relaxer. Dr. David returned and kept pulling on Plaintiff's finger to reduce the dislocation but fractured the finger in the process. Plaintiff was sent to the emergency room and his left hand was placed in a splint. He was ordered to follow up with an orthopedic physician. At the emergency room, he learned that his blood pressure was 200 over 166 due to the additional medicine given by Freeman.

         On June 7, 2019, M. Littrell falsified Plaintiff's medical records stating Plaintiff refused care and that she provided him with Tylenol. M. Littrell did not treat ...

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