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Harrell v. Morgan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 2, 2020

QUINYATTE J. HARRELL, #180524, Plaintiff,
v.
DEREK MORGAN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Quinyatte Harrell brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Wabash County Jail. Plaintiff claims that Sheriff Morgan denied him prescription blood pressure medication and medical care for ten days in June 2018. (Id. at p. 6). He seeks monetary relief. (Id. at p. 7).

         The Complaint is subject to review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner complaints and filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The factual allegations of the pro se Complaint are liberally construed at this stage. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1, p. 6): When he was booked into Wabash County Jail on June 15, 2018, Plaintiff informed Sheriff Morgan that he suffered from high blood pressure and required Lisinopril (20 mg) to manage the condition. Sheriff Morgan instructed Plaintiff to have his family or friends bring his prescription medication to the Jail. Plaintiff told the sheriff that he had no family or friends in the area, but the sheriff said there was nothing he could do. Plaintiff's blood pressure spiraled out of control during the next ten days. On July 25, 2018, he was rushed to Wabash General Hospital for emergency treatment. When he returned to the Jail, Sheriff Morgan immediately released him from detention. (Id.).

         Based on the allegations summarized herein, the Court designates a single claim in the pro se Complaint:

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Sheriff Morgan for denying Plaintiff access to his prescription blood pressure medication at the Jail from June 15-25, 2018.

         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.

         The Complaint articulates a colorable claim against Sheriff Morgan. The sheriff was aware that Plaintiff required prescription medication to manage his hypertension when he denied Plaintiff access to medication and medical care at the Jail from June 15-25, 2018. These facts satisfy the Fourteenth Amendment's objective unreasonableness standard that is applicable to medical claims brought by pretrial detainees.[1] See Miranda v. County of Lake, 900 F.3d 335 (7th Cir. 2018) (applying objective unreasonableness inquiry to Fourteenth Amendment medical claim of pretrial detainee's estate). Count 1 is subject to further review against Defendant Morgan.

         Pending Motion

         Plaintiff's Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 5) is DENIED without prejudice. See Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007) (articulating factors court considers when evaluating motions for counsel). Plaintiff has not demonstrated sufficient efforts to locate counsel on his own. He sent letters to two attorneys and filed the instant motion before receiving a response. He also cited no impediments to self-representation that warrant the Court's intervention at this stage, given his high education level and clear ability to articulate his claim against the sheriff. Plaintiff may renew his request for counsel as the case proceeds by filing a new motion.

         Disposition

         IT IS ORDERED that the Complaint (Doc. 1) survives preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and COUNT 1 will proceed against Defendant DEREK MORGAN.

         Because this claim arises from the alleged denial of medical care, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter the standard qualified protective order pursuant to the ...


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