United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for merit review of the
Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C.
§1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's
complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss
any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if
warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1)
is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
a pro se prisoner, claims Defendants Dr. Jonathan Elk, Dr.
Garcia, Nurse Stephanie Dorethy, Nurse Jane Doe, Sergeant
Peel, Placement Office John Doe, Correctional Officer John
Frost, and Lois Lindorf violated his constitutional rights at
Hill Correctional Center.
injured his right knee on March 10, 2019 while playing
basketball. Plaintiff met with Defendant Dr. Elk the next day
and the doctor sent Plaintiff for an x-ray and ultimately for
an MRI. The MRI was performed at an outside hospital and
revealed “complete disruption of the reconstructed
anterior cruciate ligament, complex tear of the posterior
horn of the medial meniscus, horizontal tear of the posterior
horn and body of the lateral meniscus.” (Comp., p. 17).
The hospital recommended an evaluation by an orthopedist. Dr.
Elk submitted a request for orthopedic evaluation, but after
a collegial review with Dr. Garcia, the request was denied.
Instead, the doctors agreed Plaintiff should first receive a
physical therapy evaluation. (Comp, p. 22).
says he has suffered constant, excruciating pain since he
injured his knee and he is unable to perform the recommended
physical therapy exercises. Despite his repeated complaints
of pain, Dr. Elk and Dr. Garcia have refused to provide any
other medical care and have not referred Plaintiff to an
orthopedist. In addition, Dr. Elk canceled Plaintiff's
pain medication prescription for Ultram in March of 2019.
has reported his continued pain and spoke with Nurse Jane Doe
during sick call on September 6, 2019, but Plaintiff has
still not been scheduled to see the doctor and he has not
received any additional medical care.
has alleged Defendants Dr. Elk, Dr. Garcia, and Nurse Jane
Doe were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical
condition. It is unclear from the face of Plaintiff's
complaint whether he fully exhausted his administrative
remedies for this claim before filing his lawsuit. Plaintiff
did file an emergency grievance concerning the lack of
medical care which was denied at Hill Correctional Center on
July 10, 2019. (Comp., p. 13). Plaintiff immediately appealed
the decision to the Administrative Review Board (ARB), but
the ARB denied the grievance as untimely since Plaintiff
injured his knee in March of 2019. (Comp., p.12). However,
the ARB did not address the fact that Plaintiff was grieving
the on-going lack of medical care.
next alleges on August 2, 2019 he was transferred to another
cell. Plaintiff informed Defendant Peel he had a bottom bunk
permit due to his injured knee and the Sergeant said it
should not be a problem because Plaintiff was the only one
assigned to the cell. However, when the next shift took over,
Plaintiff was moved to a different cell with an inmate who
also had a bottom bunk permit. Plaintiff reported the
conflict to a different staff sergeant, but the unnamed
sergeant refused to take any action.
August 17, 2019, Plaintiff went to sick call and informed a
nurse he did not have a lower bunk. The nurse referred
Plaintiff to a doctor, but Plaintiff says he was forced to
sleep on the floor with his injured knee from August 2, 2019
to August 27, 2019.
Plaintiff might be able to proceed with another Eighth
Amendment claim based on the knowing denial of his bottom
bunk permit, there are two problems with the claim as stated
in his complaint.
Plaintiff has not identified the Defendant responsible for
this allegation. For instance, Plaintiff says Defendant Peel
told Plaintiff he could use the bottom bunk because he had no
cellmate. However, a different individual working a later
shift moved Plaintiff to a cell without an available bottom
bunk. Plaintiff does not allege Defendant Peel knew about the
move or that Plaintiff discussed the matter further with
Plaintiff has not clearly identified any other potential
Defendant. Plaintiff has listed Placement Officer John Doe,
but he makes no mention of this individual in the body of his
compliant. Therefore, it is unclear if the placement officer
was responsible for the move to the specific cell, or if the
officer knew about the conflict over bottom bunk assignments.
In addition, Plaintiff has not clearly indicated whether he
intended to name the Staff Sergeant John Doe or the second
Jane Doe Nurse as Defendants.
concerning, Plaintiff's second claim involving the denial
of his lower bunk permit occurred in August of 2019. It is
unclear if Plaintiff filed a second grievance addressing this
issue and it is doubtful he could have completed the
grievance process before he filed his complaint two months
later on October 11, 2019. Since Plaintiff has not clearly
identified any Defendant who was responsible for knowingly
denying him a bottom bunk and forcing him to sleep on the
floor, Plaintiff has failed to articulate a separate claim.
Plaintiff has completed the grievance process and he can
identify an appropriate Defendant, Plaintiff may file an
amended complaint including this allegation. The amended
complaint must stand complete on its own, include all claims
against all Defendants, and must not make reference to the
original complaint. If Plaintiff does not know the name of
the responsible Defendant, he may identify the individual as
a John or Jane Doe, but he must provide some description of
the individual ...