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Mohammad v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 5, 2019

MANSOUR MOHAMMAD, #Y15873, Plaintiff,
v.
JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, IDOC, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., LIEUTENANT MORRIS, C/O WILSON, C/O REPELL, T. BRADLEY, LIEUTENANT COLEMAN, SARAH JOHNSON, JOHN DOE, Unknown Officers, JOHN DOE, Unknown Directors & Wardens of Programs, JOHN DOE, Unknown Chaplains, JOHN DOE, Unknown Doctors, JOHN DOE, Unknown Nurses, and LOUIS SHICKER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Mansour Mohammad, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred while he was in custody at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff alleges that due to overcrowding at Menard, he was subjected to unconstitutional living conditions, denied medical care, and denied the ability to practice his religion. He requests money damages.

         Plaintiff's Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review 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). The Court will also determine whether misjoinder is an issue and retains authority to sever unrelated claims against different defendants into one or more additional lawsuits. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2001).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): Due to overcrowding at Menard, Plaintiff has been subjected to inhumane living conditions and deprived of basic human needs. Id. at p. 8. Because of various reports and lawsuits pertaining to the conditions at Menard, IDOC knows that overcrowding threatens the safety of inmates and has caused understaffing in the health care unit, deterioration to the facility, inmates to be provided inadequate clothing for winter temperatures, and the lack of adequate cleaning supplies, bedding, and programming. Id. at pp. 24, 32.

         Failure to Treat Medical Condition

         Plaintiff has difficulty breathing and developed asthma because of mold in the cells and showers, asbestos and asbestos removals, lack of ventilation, and exposure to toxic substances in the air at Menard. Id. at p. 8. His health problems have also increased because he is experiencing harmful side effects from the frequent use of his inhaler, which contains Xopenex HFA. These side effects include chest pain, dizziness, fast heart rate, and shortness of breath. Id. at pp. 11-12. Several other inmates in his cell house also have trouble breathing and have had to receive emergency medical assistance because of breathing complications. Id. at p. 9.

         On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff began coughing up a thick dark colored mucous and having trouble breathing, chest pain, and throat irritation. He submitted two sick calls, and on May 26, 2017, was called to see a screening nurse who immediately sent him to a doctor at Menard. Id. at p. 8. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and had to be injected with antibiotics and steroids because his lungs were collapsing. He was prescribed breathing medications and scheduled for a follow-up visit in three days. Id. at pp. 8-9.

         Plaintiff's symptoms did not improve with the medication and he continued having trouble breathing. Id. at p. 10. On the day of Plaintiff's scheduled follow-up appointment, he was not called by the doctor, and his sick-call pass that indicated “must honor” was disregarded.

         On two different occasions, Plaintiff notified Defendants Lieutenant Morris and Officer Wilson that he was still having trouble breathing. He was told by both officers that they would notify someone, but Plaintiff did not receive medical attention. Id. at p. 10. Plaintiff also submitted an emergency grievance to Defendant Warden Lashbrook, informing her that he and several other inmates were having trouble breathing. Id. at p. 9. The grievance was returned as a non-emergency with instructions to resubmit the grievance through the normal process. Id.

         On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a sick call but did not receive an appointment until June 15, 2017. Plaintiff was seen by a nurse who told him that his difficulties breathing were due to allergies and prescribed ibuprofen and chlorphenamine for nasal congestion. Id. at p. 11, 21. Plaintiff told the nurse that he did not have nasal congestion, but nothing was done about his breathing complications.

         Plaintiff was seen on July 5, 2017 by a doctor. He told the doctor he was still having trouble breathing, but the doctor said there was nothing else that they could do for him. He was not given anything for the infection. Id. at pp. 11, 21, 22.

         In May 2018, Plaintiff got an infection in his hand from cleaning the inside of his toilet without protective gloves or a toilet brush. Id. at p. 17, 22. His fingers became swollen, filled with green fluid, throbbed, and leaked puss. Id. Plaintiff submitted two sick-calls; one on May 17, 2018 and the other May 21, 2018. but did not see a nurse until May 23, 2018. The nurse gave Plaintiff nothing for the infection, swelling, or pain. Id. The nurse dropped off band-aids the next day, but the infection did not improve. Id. at p. 23.

         Plaintiff submitted another sick-call slip on June 8, 2018 and saw a nurse three days later. The nurse told him the infection would heal on its own, and even though he was not given any medication or treatment, he was still charged a $5 co-pay.

         Extreme Temperature Conditions

         Menard cell houses are excessively hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter. Id. at p. 13. The heat causes Plaintiff to continually sweat and feel sluggish, fatigued, and dizzy. It also aggravates Plaintiff's asthma and he is forced to use his inhaler more than normal, subjecting him to the risk of permeant injury or death due to the side effects caused by Xopenex HFA. Plaintiff only receives a cup of ice in the morning and one cup in the evening and has a portable fan that he “has to hug all day.” Id.

         Inmates at Menard are typically in their cells for twenty-three hours a day, except for two days a week when they are allowed to go to the yard or gym. In 2017, Menard was on lockdown for most of the summer and Plaintiff was forced to sit in an extremely hot cell for twenty-four hours a day. Id. at p. 14. Because of the heat, Plaintiff showers more and goes through bars of soap faster. However, he is only allowed to buy six bars of soap a month, making it difficult for him to keep up with his hygiene. Plaintiff often skips meals because the chow hall has only one working fan making the room extremely hot. Id. Plaintiff submitted emergency grievances regarding these conditions to Warden Lashbrook on several occasions, but never received a response. Id. at p. 15.

         Plaintiff's cell house is extremely cold in the winter. In January 2019, Plaintiff spoke to Defendants Officer Repell and Lieutenant Coleman and other officers complaining about the cold, but the temperature did not increase. Id. at pp. 15, 16. When he asked Lieutenant Coleman for a blanket, he was told no. Id. at p. 16. It was so cold in the cell house that Officer Repell and other officers wore coats and winter hats or some type of extra layers. Officers also kept turning on the fans, making it even colder. Plaintiff wrote a grievance and Defendant Counselor Bradley responded that the temperature is daily monitored, but did not act to help Plaintiff or other inmates combat the cold. Due to the cold, Plaintiff became sick and suffered from cold sweats, coughing, running nose, and body aches. Id. at p. 15.

         Cleaning Supplies

         Plaintiff has not been provided adequate cleaning supplies since arriving at Menard in 2016. Id. at p. 17. He is only given cups of diluted bleach once a week. He does not receive cleaning supplies such as towels, mop, broom, toilet brush cleaner, or protective cleaning gloves. Because Plaintiff has not been given proper supplies, he contracted an infection in his hand from cleaning the toilet without gloves. Additionally, mildew and mold around the toilet, sweat from the windows, dust, food crumbs, dirt, shed hair, and skin particles collect and make for filthy living conditions, contributing to Plaintiff's poor health. Id. Plaintiff wrote an emergency grievance to Warden Lashbrook regarding the lack of adequate cleaning supplies, but the grievance was deemed a non-emergency and he did not receive any cleaning supplies. Id. at p. 18.

         Diet

         Menard serves “massive amounts” of soy in the meals and has repeatedly served expired food, which has caused Plaintiff to become ill. In June, July, and September 2018, Menard served expired yogurt on multiple occasions. Id. at p. 19. This caused Plaintiff to vomit and have irregular bowels for which he was prescribed medication. Menard also often serves spoiled milk. Plaintiff filed a grievance and dietary responded, but continues to serve unsafe food. Id.

         Footwear

         Upon arriving at Menard in 2016, Plaintiff did not receive boots to combat the cold, snowy, wet, winter weather conditions. Id. at p. 19. He has an ankle that swells and aches from a previous injury if his feet get wet. The pain from his ankle also causes the lower part of his legs to ache. Id. at p. 20. When Plaintiff requested boots, he was told that boots are only for workers. He has repeatedly submitted requests for boots, but was never provided a pair. During recreational time in the yard, the snow and rain soaked through Plaintiff's shoes and has caused him to become sick.

         In March 2018, Plaintiff showed Lieutenant Morris that the sole of his shoe was coming off. Morris told Plaintiff that he would take him to the clothing house for boots. Plaintiff again submitted a slip for boots which was placed in ...


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