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Rush v. Kennedy

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

January 9, 2020

DENNIS RUSH, Plaintiff,
TERRI KENNEDY, et. al., Defendants



         Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint, a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP), a motion for appointment of counsel, and a motion for emergency injunctive relief. [ 1, 3, 5, 6]. The Court denied Plaintiff's motion to proceed IFP noting he currently had $1, 175 in his Trust Fund Account. See November 15, 2019 Text Order. Plaintiff has now paid the filing fee in full.

         I. MERIT REVIEW

         Before considering Plaintiff's motion for emergency injunctive relief, the Court is first 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. §1915A.

         Plaintiff alleges 19 Defendants violated his constitutional rights at Pontiac Correctional Center including Warden Terri Kennedy; Major Leininger; Mental Health Worker Todd Nelson; Lieutenants Biros, Torres, and Whitecotton; Nurses Sherry Powers and Nicky; and Correctional Officers Farley, Dame, Bertville[1], Henson, Henkel, Pufall, Newkirk, McBride, John Doe #1, John Doe #2, and John Doe # 3.

         On July 1, 2019, Plaintiff informed a mental health worker that he had inserted a piece of metal “deep inside of his arm that was causing him excruciating pain.” (Comp, p. 11). The mental health worker notified security and health care staff.

         Plaintiff claims typically when an inmate is escorted to the Health Care Unit, the inmate is handcuffed to a waist chain. However, Defendants McBride and Newkirk told Plaintiff a new policy required them to cuff Plaintiff behind his back because of his sexual misconduct violations. Defendants claimed the policy was instituted by Warden Kennedy and Lieutenant Whitecotton.

         Plaintiff explained he was in severe pain and forcing him to cuff with his hands behind his back would cause greater pain. Plaintiff also said he had a “waist-chain permit that was in the process of being renewed.” (Comp., p. 12). Finally, Plaintiff told the officers the doctor would not be able to remove the metal from his arm with the cuffs. Nonetheless, Defendants refused to use a waist-chain.

         Plaintiff asked to speak to a supervisor and Defendant Biros responded. Biros again stated the new policy required Plaintiff to be cuffed behind his back. Biros then called Defendant Nurse Nicky and a three-man tactical team. Plaintiff refused to leave unless a waist chain restraint was used to prevent further pain and injury. The nurse and tactical team members interpreted Plaintiff's statements as a refusal for further medical treatment and left. Plaintiff says he was left to suffer in pain.

         Plaintiff next claims Defendant Leininger ordered Defendants Farley and Dame as well as unspecified tactical team members to forcefully remove Plaintiff and take him to his cell. Plaintiff does not clarify where he was in the prison, nor how long this occurred after his encounter with Defendant Biros.

         Plaintiff does allege the officers cuffed him with his hands behind his back. Plaintiff also says his leg shackles were then connected to a bolt in the floor and he was forced to sit with his head and neck in his lap. Plaintiff said the position caused extreme pain in his neck, back, arm, hands, wrist and shoulder.

         An unspecified Defendant then squeezed his buttocks and whispered in his ear, “keep your head down dick sucker.” (Comp., p. 14). Plaintiff told the officers they were hurting him and he wanted to file a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) complaint due to the alleged sexual assault. Plaintiff claims Defendants Dame, Cullman, and Nelson took no action even though they saw Plaintiff “was being assaulted.” (Comp., p. 14).

         The officers next put Plaintiff in a “wheelchair restraint” and took him back to his cell. (Comp., p. 14). Once at his cell, Plaintiff continued to yell he wanted to file a PREA report. Officers instructed Plaintiff to kneel on the floor, so they could remove his shackles. However, Plaintiff says the officers pulled the shackles through the chuckhole with such force it caused “his left and right wrists to cut open. Blood began pouring and squirting out of his wrists.” (Comp., p. 15). Plaintiff was jumping up and down, screaming from the pain, and showing his wrists to Defendant Dame and the other tactical team members. Defendants Dame and Bertville then began to taunt the Plaintiff and told him they hoped he would die. Ultimately, the officers left Plaintiff's cell without providing any medical care.

         Plaintiff says he also asked Defendant Officers Henson, Henkel, and Pufall for medical attention, but they ignored his obvious injuries.

         At some unspecified point, Correctional Officers McBrice, Newkirk, Maddox, and Leslie told Plaintiff they would get him help. Defendant Nurse Sherry responded, but Plaintiff says the nurse refused to provide any care, and instead said “let his nigga die” and walked off. (Comp., p. 17).

         Correctional Officers McBride and Newkirk then took Plaintiff to see Defendant Nurse Nicky. Plaintiff was handcuffed behind his back, and a jump suit was wrapped around his arm to stop the bleeding. Nurse Nicky sent Plaintiff to urgent care where he received stiches for his injuries.

         Plaintiff claims he has suffered with nightmares and flashbacks from the incident. Plaintiff also says he has “nonstop” pain in his wrists, arms, hands and shoulders, ” but Plaintiff also says he sometimes experiences “numbness” in his hands and wrists. (Comp., p. 18). Despite his on-going problems, officers still force Plaintiff to wear behind-the-back handcuffs whenever he is escorted to mental health group meetings, mental health sessions, or other areas in the prison. (Comp., p. 18). Plaintiff further claims he has been denied pain medication, but does not clarify which medical provider refused the medication. In addition, Plaintiff does not state whether he has ...

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