Mitchell v. Shawnee Medical Staff et al
ORDER REFERRING CASE to Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly. Signed by Judge J. Phil Gilbert on 4/9/2018. (tjk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ERIC DANE MITCHELL,
SHAWNEE MEDICAL STAFF, and
Case No. 18−cv–566−JPG
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
GILBERT, District Judge:
Plaintiff Eric Dane Mitchell, an inmate in Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”),
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional
rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical issues in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1). This case is now before
the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(a) Screening – The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any
event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal – On review, the court shall identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.”
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers
to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 102627 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d
816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it
appropriate to allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.
In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: on or around
November 21, 2017, Plaintiff was brought to Shawnee. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff told staff and
nurses that he needed a hospital, could not urinate, and was feeling sick. Id. When Plaintiff
urinated, there was blood, and it “hurt really bad and there was a chunky white substance floating
around.” Id. “[T]hey put [Plaintiff] in a suicide cell in a green suit with no clothes underneath.”
Id. Hours went by, and Plaintiff “kept telling the nurse Carrol [he] had a bad infection.” Id. She
got Plaintiff a cup, and when he managed to urinate, “it had chunks of white stuff floating around
in it.” Id. It was also cloudy with bacteria from his liver not flushing right. Id. Nurse Carrol
looked at it and told him that his liver enzymes were “out of whack,” that he had an infection,
and that if Plaintiff did not stop using drugs, he was going to die. Id. Plaintiff asked for a doctor
and for antibiotics, but he did not see a doctor or get antibiotics for eight days. Id. Plaintiff was
in pain and hallucinating. Id. He could not eat or sleep. Id. He asked for a nurse, a doctor, and
a grievance. Id. He “passed out on them,” and when he woke up, the nurse told him he was ok
and gave him ibuprofen, which is “bad for your liver,” and sent him to his cell. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5).
On November 29, Plaintiff was sent to Menard Correctional Center. (Doc. 1, p. 5). As
soon as he arrived, he told a nurse about his situation. Id. She tested his urine and immediately
called a doctor. Id. They put Plaintiff on emergency antibiotics for an infection that had made
him constipated and unable to eat. Id. Plaintiff threw up for five days, but the medicine
ultimately worked, though Plaintiff’s liver had been damaged.
Tests were taken on
December 21, but Plaintiff was taken back to Shawnee where he did not receive results from the
tests and has not seen a doctor.
Plaintiff feels “weak all the time” and “urinate[s]
constantly.” Id. He requests monetary damages from the defendants. Id.
Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate a
single count in this pro se action. The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of this count does not constitute an opinion regarding its merit.
Count 1 –
Defendants showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s serious medical
need involving a liver infection and pain associated therewith in violation
of the Eighth Amendment.
As discussed in more detail below, Count 1 will be allowed to proceed past threshold.
Any other intended claim that has not been recognized by the Court is considered dismissed
without prejudice as inadequately pleaded under the Twombly pleading standard.
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects prisoners from cruel
and unusual punishment. See Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435 (7th Cir. 2010). The Supreme
Court has recognized that “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners” may
constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976);
see Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2006) (per curiam). To state a claim, a prisoner must
show that: (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical need; and (2) state officials acted
with deliberate indifference to the prisoner’s medical need, which is a subjective standard.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
Plaintiff has satisfied this standard with respect to his claims against Defendant Carrol.
His allegations suggest that she was aware he was suffering from a serious infection but did little
or nothing to treat it. The complaint also names Shawnee Medical Staff, in its entirety, as a
defendant in this action. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S.
42, 48 (1988). “A damages suit under § 1983 requires that a defendant be personally involved in
the alleged constitutional deprivation.” Matz v. Klotka, 769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th Cir. 2014); see
Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[I]ndividual liability under § 1983
requires ‘personal involvement in the alleged constitutional deprivation.’”) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). A group of people, such as Shawnee Medical Staff, is not a “person”
subject to suit pursuant to § 1983.
Thus, Shawnee Medical Staff will be dismissed with
prejudice from this action, though this dismissal is without prejudice to Plaintiff bringing a claim
against individual members of the medical staff.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2) will be addressed in
a separate order of this Court.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3) is REFERRED to a United States
Magistrate Judge for a decision.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that COUNT 1 shall PROCEED against CARROL.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that SHAWNEE MEDICAL STAFF is DISMISSED
with prejudice from this action, though this dismissal is without prejudice to Plaintiff bringing a
claim against individual members of the medical staff.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that as to COUNT 1, the Clerk of Court shall prepare for
CARROL: (1) Form 5 (Notice of a Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons), and
(2) Form 6 (Waiver of Service of Summons). The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail these forms, a
copy of the Complaint, and this Memorandum and Order to the defendant’s place of employment
as identified by Plaintiff. If the defendant fails to sign and return the Waiver of Service of
Summons (Form 6) to the Clerk within 30 days from the date the forms were sent, the Clerk shall
take appropriate steps to effect formal service on the defendant, and the Court will require that
the defendant pay the full costs of formal service, to the extent authorized by the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure.
With respect to a defendant who no longer can be found at the work address provided by
Plaintiff, the employer shall furnish the Clerk with the defendant’s current work address, or, if
not known, the defendant’s last-known address. This information shall be used only for sending
the forms as directed above or for formally effecting service. Any documentation of the address
shall be retained only by the Clerk. Address information shall not be maintained in the court file
or disclosed by the Clerk.
Defendant is ORDERED to timely file an appropriate responsive pleading to the
Complaint and shall not waive filing a reply pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g).
Pursuant to Local Rule 72.1(a)(2), this action is REFERRED to a United States
Magistrate Judge for further pre-trial proceedings.
Further, this entire matter shall be
REFERRED to a United States Magistrate Judge for disposition, pursuant to Local Rule
72.2(b)(2) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), if all parties consent to such a referral.
If judgment is rendered against Plaintiff, and the judgment includes the payment of costs
under Section 1915, Plaintiff will be required to pay the full amount of the costs, despite the fact
that his application to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted. See 28 U.S.C.
Finally, Plaintiff is ADVISED that he is under a continuing obligation to keep the
Clerk of Court and each opposing party informed of any change in his address; the Court will not
independently investigate his whereabouts. This shall be done in writing and not later than
7 days after a transfer or other change in address occurs. Failure to comply with this order will
cause a delay in the transmission of court documents and may result in dismissal of this action
for want of prosecution. See FED. R. CIV. P. 41(b).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: April 9, 2018
s/J. Phil Gilbert
U.S. District Judge
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