Phifer v. Indiana Department of Correction et al
OPINION AND ORDER: This case is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for nonpayment of the filing fee and CLOSED. All pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Chief Judge Philip P Simon on 9/22/2016. cc: Phifer (tc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:16-CV-106-PPS-MGG
OPINION AND ORDER
Charles Phifer, a pro se prisoner, is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis
unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury because he has incurred eight
strikes. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); Phifer v. Wabash Valley, 04-2089 (7th Cir. July 8, 2004).
Based on his initial filings [DE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8], I did not conclude that he met
that standard. In response to my deficiency orders, Phifer filed four amended
complaints. [DE 14, 18, 21, and 24.] Based on the last one, I found that he had plausibly
alleged that he was in imminent danger of serious physical injury because he had an
untreated, unspecified, Sexually Transmitted Disease that caused him severe pain,
damage to his liver, stomach cancer, other cancers, heart attack, and blindness. I
granted him leave to proceed against Corizon Company for injunctive relief to obtain
medical treatment and ordered Corizon to file a report explaining Charles Phifer’s
Sexually Transmitted Disease and what treatment he has received, along with copies of
any pertinent medical records. [DE 30.]
In Corizon’s response, Dr. Noe Marandet declared that Phifer does not have a
Sexually Transmitted Disease. [DE 46-1 at 3.] He declared that when Phifer was tested
in July 2015, the lab results show that he did not have gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis,
HIV, hepatitis A, B, or C. [Id.] He declared that when Phifer was seen by medical staff
on March 13, 2016 and June 24, 2016, he did not seek treatment for—nor present
symptoms of—a Sexually Transmitted Disease. [DE 46-1 at 3-4.] Phifer’s medical
records, attached to Corizon’s filing, supported those statements. [DE 46-2.]
Based on that response, it did not appear that Phifer had a Sexually Transmitted
Disease, it did not appear that he was in need of medical treatment for a Sexually
Transmitted Disease, and it did not appear that he was in imminent danger. As a result,
I ordered Phifer to tell me what Sexually Transmitted Disease he thinks he has. I
ordered him to explain why he believes that he has a Sexually Transmitted Disease and
to name the medical staff that he has told about it this year. [DE 47.] I ordered him to
provide whatever documentation that he has. [Id..]
In his response, Phifer says that he has chlamydia. [DE 50 at 1.] He explains
“[t]he brush stick when place in the vile has a reaction if positive, plaintiff was shown
test was positive by Corizon nurse.” [Id.] He appears to be saying that, on an
unspecified date, an unnamed nurse showed him the positive test result during the
same appointment when he was tested. According to the National Institutes of Health,
however, test results for chlamydia “take 1 to 2 days to come back.”
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001345.htm. Phifer says that his arms and chest
are covered with scars that were noted by L.P.N. Myers. [DE 50 at 2.] He says that he
has headaches and dizziness. [Id.] However, the symptoms of chlamydia in men do
not include scaring, headaches, or dizziness. Rather, the symptoms are a burning
feeling during urination, discharge from the penis or rectum, tenderness or pain in the
testicles, and/or rectal discharge or pain.
Phifer attached to his response a 2014 liver sonogram test result indicating
“hepatic steatosis” and “hepatomegaly.” [DE 50-1 at 1.] First, this 2014 test result says
nothing about chlamydia and tells me nothing about whether Phifer has it now.
Second, hepatic steatosis is a fatty liver commonly caused by obesity, diabetes, high
cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood pressure.
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007657.htm. There is no reference to it being
caused by chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted disease. [Id.] Third,
hepatomegaly is an enlarged liver. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003275.htm.
There are many causes for an enlarged liver, including hepatic steatosis. [Id.] The only
sexually transmitted diseases that are listed as possible causes for hepatomegaly are
hepatitis A, B, and C. [Id.] However, neither Phifer nor his test results indicate that he
has any form of hepatitis. [DE 46-1 at 3, DE 46-2 at 14.]
Phifer attached to his response a 2016 test result indicating that he has “fatty
infiltration of liver.” [DE 50-1 at 3-4.] Again, there is no medical basis for believing that
a fatty liver is caused by chlamydia or any other Sexually Transmitted Disease.
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007657.htm. Phifer attached a 2009 blood test
result showing that his HDL/Total Cholesterol ratio places him at below average risk.
[DE 50-1 at 5.] Though the results do not explain what risk this might be, it is clear that
a seven year old test indicating that he has a lower than average risk of something is not
evidence that he has chlamydia today. Phifer attached results of five different blood
test taken from 2009 to 2014 showing that 6 of his 110 test results were abnormal. [DE
50-1 at 6-10.] All of these tests are old and none of them were for chlamydia.
Phifer argues that he has chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and a heart condition.
However he has not provided any evidence that he has chlamydia, that he needs
treatment for chlamydia, or that any of his chronic conditions could be either caused or
aggravated by chlamydia. His most recent test for chlamydia on April 14, 2015,
indicates that he did not have it. [DE 46-2 at 16.] According to the Centers for Disease
Control, there is no medical basis for believing that chlamydia causes severe pain, liver
damage, cancer, heart attack, or blindness.
Based on the allegations and record now before me, Phifer is not in imminent
danger and that means that this case is over. Phifer has not paid the filing fee and he is
barred from proceeding in forma pauperis unless he is in imminent danger of serious
physical injury. Because he is not, this case cannot proceed.
For these reasons, this case is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for
nonpayment of the filing fee and CLOSED. All pending motions are DENIED as moot.
ENTERED: September 22, 2016
s/ Philip P. Simon
PHILIP P. SIMON, CHIEF JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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