United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Cortez Gillum, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at
Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for alleged
deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff asserts claims of deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, excessive force,
unsafe prison conditions, an improper strip search,
retaliation, and violations of his rights under the Americans
with Disabilities Act “ADA”) that allegedly
occurred while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional
Center (“Menard”). He seeks monetary damages and
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, 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). The Court must also consider whether any claims are
improperly joined and subject to severance or dismissal.
See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
Complaint alleges the following: In February 2018, Plaintiff
fell down a flight of stairs and injured his left shoulder.
(Doc. 1, p. 11). For nine months, Dr. Siddiqui told him that
x-rays showed nothing was wrong with his shoulder.
(Id., p. 12). Eventually, Plaintiff had an MRI which
showed damage to his shoulder. (Id.). He was taken
off-site to an orthopedic specialist for consultation; that
doctor recommended surgery within six months. (Id.).
The surgery should have been performed by June 2019, but it
has not occurred. (Id.). Plaintiff has been unable
to use his left arm since the fall. (Id.). Wexford
Health Services, Inc. (“Wexford”) has a practice
of delaying and denying off-site consultations and surgeries
based on its best interests instead of the best interests of
the inmates. (Id.).
16, 2019, Plaintiff was taken to the health care unit (HCU)
for an assessment of his shoulder injury. (Dc. 1, p. 9). The
doctor told him another consultation by an off-site physician
was required before surgery would be approved by Wexford.
(Id.). Plaintiff told the doctor that it had been 22
months since his shoulder was injured, and he had been in
unbearable pain and unable to use his left arm.
(Id., p. 10). The doctor told him that was a
personal problem and refused to give him a front cuff permit
or change his pain medication. (Id.).
that day, Plaintiff was taken to an interview room to see
Lieutenant Spiller and Lieutenant Gee from the Internal
Affairs Division to discuss a threat against his life.
(Id.). He was in danger because he had been
identified as a jailhouse informant. (Id.). After
the interview, Lieutenant Spiller and Lieutenant Gee escorted
Plaintiff to his cell in handcuffs in view of inmates in the
North 2 cellhouse, who are all convicted murderers.
(Id.). Lieutenant Spiller and Lieutenant Gee did not
ask any of the inmates to move away as they walked him
through the cellhouse. (Id.).
Spiller and Lieutenant Gee pulled Plaintiff from his cell
again three or four days later. (Id.). They
questioned him about whether he had faked a seizure.
(Id.). He told them he had been epileptic for 30
years and had not faked a seizure. (Id.). They told
him there was no record that he was epileptic, and he would
be receiving a disciplinary report. They proceeded to again
escort him to his cell through a group of unrestrained
inmates. (Id.). Plaintiff told them that they were
endangering his health and safety because other inmates were
going to think he was an informant. (Id.). It is
commonly known that when an inmate is walked to his cell in
this manner that he is an informant. (Id.).
suffers from epilepsy which causes him to have seizures.
(Id.). While at Menard, he was often housed in a
cell alone for 30 to 40 days at a time with no way of
alerting prison staff when he was having a seizure.
(Id., p. 11). He suffered multiple seizures while
housed in segregation from October 2018 to May 31, 2019, due
to inadequate medical care. (Id., p. 16). He had a
seizure in September 2018 during which he vomited all over
the floor and walls and hit his head on the floor.
(Id., p. 11). A nurse checked on him but did not
provide medical care. (Id.). He filed a grievance
due to the slow response time of the medical staff and the
inadequate medical treatment he received for the injuries he
suffered during the seizure. (Id.). He also wrote
letters to Warden Lawrence, IDOC Director Jeffreys, and
Senator Tammy Duckworth complaining about inadequate medical
care for his seizures and requesting an inquiry because Dr.
Siddiqui does not have the proper training or credentials to
treat epilepsy. (Id.). In response, Dr. Siddiqui and
the nurse who failed to provide medical care after the
September 2018 seizure informed the nursing staff that
Plaintiff did not have epilepsy to cover up their failure to
provide adequate medical care. (Id.). Now the
nursing staff is not taking his epilepsy condition seriously.
12, 2019, Plaintiff had a medical emergency and was going to
be sent off-site for medical care. (Id., p. 12).
Correctional Officer (“C/O”) Bland called two
inmates to Plaintiff's cell and ordered the inmates to
strip search Plaintiff. (Id.). While Plaintiff was
nude and lying on his back on the floor, his penis was
touched. (Id.). C/O Bland then ordered the inmates
to lift and roll Plaintiff. (Id.). While rolling
him, one of the inmates slid four fingers between
Plaintiff's buttocks and pushed a finger into his anus.
(Id.). Plaintiff later reported the sexual abuse to
Warden Lawrence and made a report pursuant to the Prison Rape
Elimination Act (“PREA”) (Id., p. 13).
was housed in the health care unit from May 31, 2019 to June
13, 2019. (Id., p. 14). When he was being discharged
by Dr. Siddiqui, they discussed the fact that the sinus
medication he had been given for a sinus infection (that he
had since February 2019) was not working. (Id.). Dr.
Siddiqui told him there was no other medication he could
provide and walked away. (Id.).
preparing to leave the HCU, Plaintiff asked C/O Bland to get
Sergeant Bebout for him. (Id.). C/O Brandt told
Plaintiff there was no time for that and to turn around to
get handcuffed. (Id.). Then C/O Brandt exhibited the
handcuffs and his fist in a “menacing manner”
causing Plaintiff to fear for his safety. (Id., pp.
14, 15). Plaintiff stated that it is IDOC policy that if he
has a problem with staff, he has a right to request that a
supervisor be called to handle the issue. (Id., p.
15). Sergeant Bebout was called and spoke with him.
(Id.). While they were talking, Lieutenant Lee
arrived and told Plaintiff he was going to segregation.
(Id., p. 16). Plaintiff asked why, and Lieutenant
Lee told him to read the disciplinary report. (Id.).
He was placed in a stripped cell in segregation for eleven
days without any hygiene items, clothing, or a bedroll.
Plaintiff received the disciplinary report, he wrote a
grievance and a letter to the Warden advising him that C/O
Brandt lied and provided misleading information in the
disciplinary report. (Id., pp. 16, 17). He did not
receive a response. (Id., p. 17). On July 24, 2019,
C/O Brandt came to Plaintiff's cell to take him for a
mental health interview. (Id.). C/O Brandt told him
to drop the grievance or things would get very bad for him.
(Id.). C/O Brandt told Plaintiff that he was lucky
they were on camera or else he would show him he was not
playing around, and this was his only warning.
(Id.). C/O Brandt handcuffed Plaintiff, then twisted
and pulled on the handcuffs in order to intentionally cause
Plaintiff pain. (Id.).
also alleges the following in a Memorandum of Law attached to
his Complaint: Following his incarceration at Menard, in June
2014, Plaintiff wrote to Warden Kimberly Butler advising her
that he suffered from epilepsy, a convulsive seizure
disorder, and explaining that Menard is not designed to house
epileptic inmates. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). He further advised her
that he qualified for a medical transfer pursuant to the ADA
because his epilepsy was a qualified disability.
(Id., p. 3). Butler did not respond. (Id.).
Plaintiff sent Butler another letter two weeks later but
“this problem still hasn't been dealt with.”
makes allegations against Kimberly Butler, but she is not
identified as a defendant in the case caption. The Court will
not treat an individual not listed in the caption as a
defendant and, therefore, any claim against Butler is
dismissed without prejudice. Myles v. United States,
416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (holding that to be
properly considered a party, a defendant must be specified in
Complaint includes allegations that are not associated with
any defendant. Plaintiff alleges some doctor denied him a
front cuff permit and refused to change his pain medication.
He alleges some nurse failed to provide him medical care
after a seizure and later she participated in retaliatory
conduct. He also alleges he spent eleven days in segregation
in a stripped cell without any hygiene items, clothing, or a
bedroll. To the extent Plaintiff seeks to raise claims based
on these allegations, they are dismissed without prejudice
for failure to state a claim.
names Jeffreys, Crain, and Lawrence in his deliberate
indifference claim for failure to provide adequate medical
care for his shoulder injury. He does not make any
allegations against these defendants individually. Instead,
he alleges only that the defendants are liable for
“failure to act in response to repeated
complaints.” Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8
pleading standards, the Complaint must include a short, plain
statement of the case against each individual. An allegation
that a group of defendants violated a plaintiff's rights
fails to comply with Rule 8. See also Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (plaintiff must
plead “enough facts to state a claim that is plausible
on its face”); Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574
(7th Cir. 2009) (threadbare, conclusory allegations are
insufficient to state a claim). Because Plaintiff fails to
allege specific acts of wrongdoing by each individual, he
fails to plead the personal involvement requirement necessary
for Section 1983 liability. Gentry v. Duckworth, 65
F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995). Accordingly, Crain and
Lawrence will be dismissed without prejudice. Jeffreys will
be dismissed in his individual capacity but, to the extent
Plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, Jeffreys will remain
in the case in his official capacity. See Gonzalez v.
Feinerman, 663 F.3d 311, 315 (7th Cir. 2011) (proper
defendant in a claim for injunctive relief is the government
official responsible for ensuring any injunctive relief is
mentioned above, Plaintiff references the Prison Rape
Elimination Act (“PREA”) in his Complaint. To the
extent he is attempting to bring a PREA claim, it is
dismissed, because PREA does not support a private cause of
action. Truly v. Moore, No. 16-cv-00783-NJR, 2017 WL
661507 (S.D. Ill. 2017) (collecting cases and dismissing PREA
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court divides this
action into the following counts:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference
to a serious medical need against Siddiqui and Wexford for
delaying and denying medical treatment for Plaintiff's
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference
to a serious medical need against Siddiqui for denying
Plaintiff further medical treatment for a sinus infection
after previously prescribed medication had been ineffective.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment claim against Spiller and Gee for
leading other inmates to believe Plaintiff was an informant
which exposed him to a risk of physical harm and ...