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Romans v. Butts

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 25, 2019

DEWAYNE C. ROMANS, SR., Plaintiff,
KEITH BUTTS, BRUCE IPPEL, STACY SCOTT, LERRETA DAWSON sued in his or hers - Individual & Official capacities, Defendants.



         I. Screening of the Amended Complaint

         A. Legal Standards

         Plaintiff Dewayne C. Romans, Sr. is incarcerated at the New Castle Correctional Facility (New Castle). Because the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), the Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on the defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Cesal v. Moats, 851 F.3d 714, 720 (7th Cir. 2017). To survive dismissal,

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Pro se complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff are construed liberally and held to “a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Cesal, 851 F.3d at 720.

         B. Allegations

         The amended complaint tendered on March 25, 2019, names the following defendants: 1) Warden Keith Butts; 2) Dr. Bruce Ippel; 3) Stacy Scott, Health Service Administrator; 4) Lerreta Dawson, Nurse Practitioner; and 5) Mike Smith, Quality Assurance Manager. All defendants are named in their individual and official capacities. Mr. Romans seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

         Mr. Romans alleges that the defendants all knowingly delayed and deprived him of necessary medical treatment. He recites a lengthy chronology of his medical conditions and treatment during the period of June 2016 through November 2018. Prior to being incarcerated, he was receiving Social Security Disability payments due to a gunshot wound to his left leg. He had also been prescribed an “Arizona brace on spine.” In June 2016, when at New Castle, he started requesting the Arizona brace. On or about February 2, 2017, he reinjured his left leg on his bunk, allegedly because he had not been given the brace. His left leg was swollen and very painful. Mr. Romans requested to be seen by an orthopedic doctor. He also requested pain medication and an ultrasound to check for newly formed blood clots. He submitted health care requests asking to see a doctor and complaining about the pain and swelling. He was seen by a nurse practitioner (NP) on February 27, 2017. The NP submitted a request for Mr. Romans to be seen by a physician. On March 13, 2017, he was seen again by the NP. Mr. Romans was given a bottom bunk and bottom range pass with a six week lay-in to try to limit his movement.

         On March 14, 2017, Mr. Romans was transported to an outside orthopedic clinic. He was prescribed the Arizona brace for his spine and x-rays were taken. On March 15, 2017, he had a disagreement with prison medical staff about whether he should have a wheelchair and be allowed to continue to attend vocational classes. On March 20, 2017, he submitted a grievance to the Warden about being taken out of vocational classes due to his injury. He was informed that if he missed classes he would not be able to make them up and he would have to request another referral for vocational classes. On March 21, 2017, Mr. Romans was referred for a wheelchair evaluation, but the appropriate size wheelchair was not available.

         On April 10, 2017, Mr. Romans was provided an extra large ankle brace, but it was not the correct brace. He requested a larger brace. He continued to submit numerous medical care requests for renewal of medications, an ultrasound of his veins, and other tests, in addition to the proper brace.

         In May 2017, Dr. Ippel told Mr. Romans he would order the proper Arizona brace and order a sonogram of damage to his veins. These requests were noted in the chart but were not ordered.

         Health Care Services Administrator Scott met with Mr. Romans in August 2017 and assured him that the prescribed Arizona brace would be provided. He alleges that she never provided the brace.

         Mr. Romans alleges that beginning in January 2018, Dr. Ippel decided not to renew his prescription for Neurontin. This was done because the medication was highly trafficked in prison and inmates were being bullied into giving other inmates the medication. Dr. Ippel prescribed several different medications to ...

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