Gould v. Ritz et al
MERIT REVIEW OPINION: Plaintiff's motion for the Court to appoint counsel is denied (3). The clerk is directed to enter the standard order granting Plaintiff's in forma pauperis petition and assessing an initial partial filing fee, if not already done, and to attempt service on Defendants pursuant to the standard procedures. The Clerk is directed to enter the standard qualified protective order pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Rule 16 Deadline 1/16/2018. (SEE WRITTEN MERIT REVIEW OPINION.) Entered by Judge Sue E. Myerscough on 11/16/2017. (GL, ilcd)
Thursday, 16 November, 2017 01:40:55 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
DOCTOR RITZ, et al.,
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff proceeds pro se from his incarceration in Graham
Correctional Center. His Complaint is before the Court for a merit
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This section requires the
Court to identify cognizable claims stated by the Complaint or
dismiss claims that are not cognizable.1 In reviewing the complaint,
the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally
construing them in Plaintiff's favor and taking Plaintiff’s pro se
status into account. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir.
2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient.
A prisoner who has had three prior actions dismissed for failure to state a claim or as frivolous or malicious can
no longer proceed in forma pauperis unless the prisoner is under “imminent danger of serious physical injury.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g).
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Enough facts must be provided to "'state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted).
Plaintiff alleges that he injured his left knee two years ago after
falling on uneven concrete. X-rays have been taken which show no
bony abnormalities, but Plaintiff’s knee pain and difficulty walking
have not improved, and Plaintiff’s uneven gait has caused pain in
Plaintiff’s back, calf, and foot. Plaintiff’s request to have an MRI
have been denied thus far, but according to the attachments to the
complaint, an MRI will be considered if Plaintiff’s knee pain
continues after Plaintiff loses 25-30 pounds.
These allegations state an arguable Eighth Amendment claim
for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s serious medical needs.
Plaintiff is not entitled to dictate his diagnostic tests, but whether
Defendants’ approach to diagnosing the cause of Plaintiff’s knee
pain is within accepted professional bounds cannot be determined
without a more developed record.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states an Eighth
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Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical
This case proceeds solely on the claims identified in this
paragraph. Any additional claims shall not be included in the
case, except at the Court’s discretion on motion by a party for good
cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
This case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before
filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice and an
opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before
Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be
denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the
Court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the Court.
The Court will attempt service on Defendants by mailing
each Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days from
the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If Defendants have not
filed Answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the
entry of this order, Plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status
of service. After Defendants have been served, the Court will enter
an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
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With respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the
address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that Defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said
Defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
Defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used
only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding
addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and shall not be
maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.
Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the
date the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an
answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under
the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be
to the issues and claims stated in this Opinion. In general, an
answer sets forth Defendants' positions. The Court does not rule
on the merits of those positions unless and until a motion is filed by
Defendants. Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or
will be considered.
This District uses electronic filing, which means that,
after Defense counsel has filed an appearance, Defense counsel will
automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or other paper
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filed by Plaintiff with the Clerk. Plaintiff does not need to mail to
Defense counsel copies of motions and other papers that Plaintiff
has filed with the Clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery
requests and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not
filed with the Clerk. Plaintiff must mail his discovery requests and
responses directly to Defendants' counsel. Discovery requests or
responses sent to the Clerk will be returned unfiled, unless they are
attached to and the subject of a motion to compel. Discovery does
not begin until Defense counsel has filed an appearance and the
Court has entered a scheduling order, which will explain the
discovery process in more detail.
Counsel for Defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
Plaintiff at his place of confinement. Counsel for Defendants shall
arrange the time for the deposition.
Plaintiff shall immediately notify the Court, in writing, of
any change in his mailing address and telephone number.
Plaintiff's failure to notify the Court of a change in mailing address
or phone number will result in dismissal of this lawsuit, with
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If a Defendants fails to sign and return a waiver of service
to the clerk within 30 days after the waiver is sent, the Court will
take appropriate steps to effect formal service through the U.S.
Marshal's service on that Defendant and will require that Defendant
to pay the full costs of formal service pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 4(d)(2).
Within 10 days of receiving from Defendants' counsel an
authorization to release medical records, Plaintiff is directed to sign
and return the authorization to Defendants' counsel.
Plaintiff’s motion for the Court to appoint counsel is
denied (3), with leave to renew after Plaintiff demonstrates that he
has made reasonable efforts to find counsel on his own. Pruitt v.
Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654-55 (7th Cir. 2007). This typically requires
writing to several lawyers and attaching the responses. Plaintiff
asserts that he has written numerous attorneys, but he does not
attach copies of those letters or any responses, nor does he identify
to whom he wrote. If Plaintiff renews his motion, he should set
forth how far he has gone in school, any jobs he has held inside and
outside of prison, any classes he has taken in prison, and any prior
litigation experience he has.
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The clerk is directed to enter the standard order
granting Plaintiff's in forma pauperis petition and assessing an
initial partial filing fee, if not already done, and to attempt
service on Defendants pursuant to the standard procedures.
The Clerk is directed to enter the standard qualified
protective order pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act.
ENTERED: November 16, 2017
FOR THE COURT:
s/Sue E. Myerscough
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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