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Nelson v. Wilson

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

April 16, 2019

SUSAN H. WILSON et al., Defendants.



         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim against Defendant Thompson.


          I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues Nurse Practitioner Susan H. Wilson, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor Connie Thompson, Corrections Officer Unknown Stabile, and Nursing Supervisor Gerald Covert.

         Plaintiff alleges that on December 19, 2017, he was sent to War Memorial Hospital for severe stomach pain. It was later determined that Plaintiff had a blockage in his large intestine. Plaintiff was informed that he required abdominal surgery in order to remove the blockage. Plaintiff states that the transporting officer called the prison to inform them of Plaintiff's condition and was told that Plaintiff's blockage might be a “balloon of drugs.” The officer asked Plaintiff if he had ingested any drugs and Plaintiff responded that he had “no idea” what the officer was talking about.

         Plaintiff was hospitalized for one week following surgery and was heavily medicated during this time because he was experiencing excruciating pain. While still in the hospital, an inspector and Deputy Warden asked Plaintiff if he had swallowed any drugs, and Plaintiff stated that he did not know what they were talking about and did not want to talk to them. They told Plaintiff that the object which had been removed from his intestines had been taken by the Michigan State Police, who were going to discover if it contained drugs. Because of the assumption that Plaintiff had been trying to smuggle drugs, his property was packed up and sent to the east side of the prison.

         On December 23, 2019, Plaintiff was released from the hospital. Plaintiff's doctor told him to avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds and any strenuous activity. The doctor also advised Plaintiff to take small walks and to splint his abdomen when getting up and down. The doctor told Plaintiff that she would like to give him something strong for his pain, but she was afraid that the prison would not give him the medication.

         Upon returning to the prison, Plaintiff was escorted to health care and was seen by a day nurse. The nurse told Plaintiff that she knew he was the prisoner who had swallowed the drugs, and said that she bet he'd learned his lesson. The nurse gave Plaintiff a little baggy of Tylenol and assigned Plaintiff to a top bunk. Plaintiff asked the nurse how he was supposed to get up and down from the top-bunk in his condition. The nurse then made a phone call and Plaintiff was given a bottom bunk. The nurse then gave Plaintiff written and oral instructions and explained that Plaintiff would be called out twice a day for bandage changes and check ups.

         Plaintiff asked to have his meals brought by tray because he was in too much pain to go to the chow hall. Defendant Stabile refused to allow Plaintiff to receive his meals on a tray in his cell, so Plaintiff went four days without eating. During a health care visit on December 26, 2017, Plaintiff was given a detail for meals on trays until December 28, 2017. The detail also provided Plaintiff a bottom bunk detail until February 28, 2018, and stated that he was not to lift more than 10 pounds until February 6, 2018.

         On January 2, 2018, Plaintiff developed excruciating pain and bleeding from his wound. Plaintiff's bandage and sheets were completely soaked with blood. Plaintiff was rebandaged in health care, but no further treatment was given. On January 7, 2018, Defendant Wilson checked Plaintiff's wound and ordered a swab to check for infection. Defendant Wilson also ordered an antibiotic for Plaintiff. On January 14, 2018, Plaintiff's test results showed that he did indeed have an infection. Plaintiff was prescribed a stronger antibiotic.

         In March of 2018, Plaintiff was moved to the prison's west side and given a top bunk, which required Plaintiff to jump between four and six feet to his bunk, all while attempting to balance himself on a flimsy plastic stool. To make things more difficult, Plaintiff could only use one arm because he needed to use his other hand to splint his stomach while moving. On March 7, 2018, Plaintiff discovered a growth on his stomach which he believed was caused by jumping to and from his bunk. Plaintiff was evaluated in health care and was told that he had developed a hernia.

         On April 17, 2018, Defendant Wilson called Plaintiff out to discuss his condition, stating that Plaintiff was suffering from an incisional hernia, which was “perfectly normal.” Plaintiff explained that he was in severe pain from jumping on and off of his bunk and requested a bottom bunk detail. Defendant Wilson merely told Plaintiff that he would be okay. Plaintiff protested, stating that he was not supposed to engage in any strenuous activity, but Defendant Wilson merely repeated that Plaintiff would be okay. Defendant Wilson issued a hernia binder for Plaintiff and ended the visit. Plaintiff continued with a top bunk until June 1, 2018, when he fell while trying to get down from his bunk using one hand. As a result of the fall, Plaintiff's abdominal wound reopened and he suffered an injury to his left ankle. Plaintiff was taken to health care, where he was given crutches, ice, an extra pillow to elevate his leg, a fiberglass splint and two ace wraps, and a bottom bunk detail.

         On June 5, 2018, Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Defendants Wilson and Covert. Defendant Covert took away Plaintiff's ice detail on the same day he wrote the grievance, despite the fact that a nurse reported that Plaintiff's foot was still swollen. ...

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