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Spence v. Sullivan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 20, 2019




         Plaintiff Gregory Spence, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was retaliated against and denied access to his diabetes medication. He asserts claims against the defendants under the First and Eighth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         After filing his Complaint, Plaintiff filed a Supplemental Complaint (Doc. 6) which includes additional claims and allegations that occurred after the filing of his original Complaint. The Court will not accept piecemeal amendments to the original complaint. An amended complaint supersedes and replaces the original complaint. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n. 1 (7th Cir.2004). Thus, any amended complaint must stand on its own, without reference to any previous pleading. Plaintiff's Supplemental Complaint includes no such reference to the claims and allegations in his original Complaint. As Plaintiff's amended complaint is a piecemeal attempt to add additional claims which occurred after the filing of his original Complaint, the Court will not accept the filing. Instead, the Court will review Plaintiff's original 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 Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: On August 16, 2019, Plaintiff returned to his cell to find that someone had rummaged through his property. He learned from another inmate that Correctional Officer (“C/O”) Van Dyke went through his cell but failed to issue a shakedown slip. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff wrote an emergency grievance and sent a request to Warden Sullivan about staff misconduct. On August 23, 2019, Van Dyke entered Plaintiff's cell and asked why the cell door was jammed. Plaintiff's cellmate responded that he forgot to remove the towel from the top of the cell door after returning from the shower. (Id.). Van Dyke left the cell, returned with a sergeant, and informed the sergeant that something fell from the lock when he opened the door. Plaintiff's cellmate again responded that it was a towel and nothing fell from the lock. The two officers left and returned with a lieutenant. Plaintiff informed the lieutenant that Van Dyke was lying about the lock and that he was retaliating against Plaintiff for filing the August 16, 2019 grievance. Plaintiff and his cellmate were then escorted to segregation.

         When Plaintiff arrived in segregation, he informed segregation officers that he was a diabetic and needed his metformin, which was in his property box. (Doc. 1, p. 6). The officers informed Plaintiff that his property was currently being inventoried, and he would receive it later. When he finally received his property box, the metformin was missing, and officers informed him that it had been thrown away. Plaintiff wrote an emergency grievance and a letter to Warden Sullivan about his metformin. (Id.).

         Throughout his stay in segregation, from August 23 until August 27, 2019, Plaintiff asked John Doe Officers and Jane Doe Nurses about his metformin, but they refused his requests or ignored him. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-9). Plaintiff's health continued to deteriorate without the medication, and he became dizzy and had blurred vision. He continued to ask for help, for access to exercise, and for his medication, but his requests were refused. (Id.). Plaintiff also sent letters to Debbie Isaacs and requests to the healthcare unit, but he did not receive a response. (Id. at pp. 9 and 12). After being released from segregation, he was provided one dose of metformin on August 29, 2019, but he did not receive any further medication. (Id. at pp. 9-10). Two days later, Plaintiff awoke in pain and notified a John Doe C/O; he was allowed to go to the healthcare unit, but he had to walk there on his own. (Id. at p. 10). Plaintiff was required to wait in the waiting area of the healthcare unit for fifteen minutes before receiving care from a Jane Doe Nurse. She gave him Tylenol and placed him in the infirmary. (Id. at p. 11). On September 1, 2019, John Doe Nurse informed Plaintiff that Dr. Larson had been contacted about Plaintiff's condition, and Plaintiff was sent back to his cellhouse with a pack of Tylenol. (Id.).


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

Count 1: Tad Van Dyke placed Plaintiff in segregation in retaliation for Plaintiff's August 16, 2019 emergency grievance against him in violation of the First Amendment.
Count 2: Daniel Sullivan and Debbie Isaac were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's need for metformin in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         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 Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading standard.[1]

         Preliminary ...

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