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Schwartz v. Conner

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

July 26, 2017



          LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE United States District Court

         Plaintiff Jason Schwartz, an Indiana inmate incarcerated in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, commenced this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on July 20, 2017. He brings claims against seven defendants concerning an incident occurring on February 14, 2017, seeking monetary damages.

         I. Screening

         A. Legal Standard

         Because plaintiff is a prisoner, his complaint is subject to the screening requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute directs that the court shall dismiss a complaint or any claim within a complaint which “(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.” Id. To satisfy the notice-pleading standard of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” which is sufficient to provide the defendant with “fair notice” of the claim and its basis. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) and quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Wade v. Hopper, 993 F.2d 1246, 1249 (7th Cir. 1993) (noting that the main purpose of Rule 8 is rooted in fair notice: a complaint “must be presented with intelligibility sufficient for a court or opposing party to understand whether a valid claim is alleged and if so what it is.”) (quotation omitted)). The complaint “must actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Windy City Metal Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs., 536 F.3d 663, 668 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008)).

         In applying these legal standards, the Court construes the pro se pleadings liberally and holds pro se pleadings to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).

         B. Plaintiff's contentions

         Plaintiff asserts that he had a seizure on February 14, 2017, followed by heart problems. He summoned defendants Sgt. Attley and Nurse Ann Conner to his cell. Sgt. Attley and Officer Smitty carried plaintiff from his cell to a nurse bay. There Nurse Conner “noticed [he] was in seriously bad shape.” Complaint, dkt. 1, p.6. Sgt. Attley and Officer Smitty then carried plaintiff to the infirmary where he was examined by Dr. Chavez and Nurse Bobbi. During the examination, and while handcuffed and chained, plaintiff fell and landed on his face. Plaintiff contends that Dr. Chavez, Nurse Bobbi, and Nurse Alecia Huff kept saying that plaintiff was “on heroin or meth or something.” Id. at 6. Nurse Bobbi started injected plaintiff with Narcan, despite his protestations that he was not on drugs.

         Plaintiff passed out, and when he awakened, Nurse Bobbi again injected him with Narcan while “every nurse and doctor” stood around him. A drug screen officer arrived and tested plaintiff's urine, and reported that plaintiff was not on drugs.

         On February 15, 2017, plaintiff was taken from the infirmary back to his cell and placed on suicide watch by Dr. Robtoy. Plaintiff was kept on suicide watch for a week without access to clothes or his property. After a week, when outside drug testing was completed and plaintiff was found to not be on drugs, he was taken off suicide watch.

         Plaintiff asserts that since this incident he has suffered problems with his eyesight, breathing, and loss of use in his left arm from muscle and nerve damage caused by the Narcan injections. He has submitted numerous medical request forms about his conditions but defendants are doing nothing about his eyesight or arm.

         Plaintiff's first ground for relief contends that defendants violated a policy for the development and delivery of health care services and committed medical malpractice and negligence when they did not follow protocol. The Court construes this ground as presenting state law claims. The third ground for relief is also policy-based, asserting that defendants were insubordinate, were derelict in their duty, and committed nepotism.

         Plaintiff's second ground for relief asserts claims under the Eighth Amendment for cruel and unusual punishment, pain ...

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