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Blank v. Anuligo

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

April 3, 2018

JEREMY M. BLANK, Plaintiff,
KENECHI ANULIGO, et al., Defendants.



         Jeremy M. Blank, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights at the Winnebago County Jail (“WCJ”). This matter comes before me for screening of the amended complaint. (Docket #11).

         1. Screening of the Amended Complaint

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) applies to this case because Blank was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The PLRA requires me to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a). I must dismiss part or all of a complaint if it raises claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).

         To state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, plaintiff must provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint need not plead specific facts, and need only provide "fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “Labels and conclusions” or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not do. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         The factual content of the complaint must allow me to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Allegations must “raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations, when accepted as true, must state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         I follow the two-step analysis set forth in Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a claim. Id. at 679. First, I determine whether the plaintiff's legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations. Id. Legal conclusions not support by facts “are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. Second, I determine whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. Pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” are given a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         1.1 Factual Allegations

         Blank arrived at WCJ on December 2, 2017. (Docket # 11, ¶ 1). Shortly after being booked, he noticed “a mysterious growth on his neck/throat and that his lymph nodes were swollen.” (Id., ¶ 2). The growth “ballooned to the size (approximately) of a golf ball.” (Id., ¶ 4). Blank complained about the growth during an appointment with the Health Services Unit (“HSU”) on December 14, 2017, and Nurse Amanda (not a defendant) told him that she would put him on the list to see a doctor. (Id., ¶¶ 3, 5).

         The next day, on December 15, 2017, Blank told a correctional officer (not a defendant) that he needed immediate medical care because he was having difficulty breathing and was in excruciating pain. (Id., ¶ 6). The correctional officer contacted Doctor Kenechi Anuligo by telephone, and Anuligo stated over the phone that it sounded like a “muscle of joint type issue.” (Id., ¶¶ 7-8). Anuligo authorized jail staff to administer two Aspirin. (Id., ¶ 8).

         Blank explains that the Aspirin never relieved his pain. (Id., ¶¶ 10-11). He continued to suffer in excruciating pain and have difficulty swallowing, talking, and moving his head. (Id., ¶ 11). Blank asked to see HSU for an appointment several times but jail staff told him that he would be seen by a doctor in the week to come. (Id., ¶¶ 12-15).

         The day after that, on December 16, 2017, Blank submitted an HSU slip for medical care and an “inmate request” seeking an inmate grievance form. (Id., ¶¶ 16-17). Sergeant Manthey responded to his request for a grievance form by stating “[y]ou were provided with medical attention on 3rd shift via the on call nurse and doctor. You are not being denied medical care, you just disagree on the course of action that was taken. Your request is denied.” (Id., ¶ 18).

         Sometime in early January 2018, jail staff sent Blank to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (“ENT”) specialist, and his growth had to be drained with a syringe and “packed” to allow it to continue to drain. (Id., ¶ 19). The Department of Corrections (“DOC”) then transferred Blank to the Dodge Correctional Institution (“DCI”), where he got a CT of the affected area, went to an ENT consultation, ...

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