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Jackson v. Nebraska Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

October 20, 2015

MARCO MERRANDO JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

John M. Gerrard United States District Judge

Plaintiff Marco Merrando Jackson filed his Complaint on March 12, 2015. The court conducted a pre-service screening of the Complaint on July 6, 2015, and in doing so, it ordered Jackson to file an amended complaint that states a claim for relief against a defendant who is not immune from suit. (Filing No. 11.)

Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Filing No. 12) on August 4, 2015. The court now conducts an initial review of Jackson’s Amended Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. For the reasons discussed below, the court will not allow this case to proceed to service of process.

I. SUMMARY OF AMENDED COMPLAINT

Jackson is currently incarcerated at the Lincoln Correctional Center (“LCC”) in Lincoln, Nebraska. His claims are based on incidents that occurred in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the LCC, and also at the Lancaster County Jail and the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (“DEC”). Jackson asserts Eighth Amendment claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against numerous defendants, but most are never mentioned in Jackson’s allegations. The three defendants who are mentioned in Jackson’s allegations include Catherine Pallas (a prison doctor), Chrissy Benson (a prison nurse), and Fred Britten (a prison warden).

Jackson provided an exhaustive, diary-like account of his medical needs and the medical treatment he received while incarcerated at the above-mentioned facilities between April of 2014 and March of 2015. (Filing No. 12.) His factual allegations span more than 50 pages. The court will generally summarize Jackson’s allegations in the paragraphs that follow, being careful to include those allegations that specifically pertain to Pallas, Benson, and Britten.

Jackson injured his knee and ankle while playing basketball at the Lancaster County Jail in April or March of 2014. He remained in this jail until September 4, 2014. During this time, a jail nurse and a jail doctor examined Jackson on two separate occasions and they both stated Jackson had likely torn a ligament in his right knee. In the days following Jackson’s injury, jail staff provided Jackson with an ice pack, a lower-bunk pass, and they placed him on 30-day yard/recreation restriction. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 5-9.) In addition, in response to Jackson’s questions, the above-mentioned jail doctor explained that a torn ligament was not an emergency and Jackson would not be immediately taken to the hospital for surgery or for an MRI. This doctor also explained Jackson would have to wait until he began serving his prison sentence in the state system to have his knee repaired. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 9-10.)

On September 4, 2014, Jackson’s custody was transferred to the DEC, where he resided until November 3, 2014. During this time, medical personnel examined Jackson at least three times in response to his complaints of knee, hip, and back pain. At these appointments, they prescribed a knee sleeve and pain medication. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 18-23.) In addition, Pallas ordered an x-ray of Jackson’s knee and referred him to an orthopedist, but advised him he could not have surgery until his transfer to a permanent correctional facility. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 21-22.)

On November 3, 2014, Jackson’s custody was transferred to the LCC, where he remains incarcerated at this time. An orthopedist examined Jackson’s knee on November 17, 2014, and diagnosed him with a torn ACL. He explained surgery would be required to alleviate the pain in Jackson’s knee. Jackson underwent surgery more than four months later on March 13, 2015. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 12, 24-25.) While unclear, it appears from Jackson’s allegations there may have been some delay in scheduling his surgery because the surgeon originally scheduled to perform the surgery had been suspended from practicing medicine. (See Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 30.)

In the four months leading up to Jackson’s surgery, Jackson complained numerous times about the delay in scheduling his surgery, and about his ongoing knee, hip, and back pain. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 25-43.) In response, prison medical staff examined him on at least three occasions (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 27-28, 32), and a chiropractor treated him on at least two occasions (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 25, 37). Jackson’s providers prescribed muscle relaxers, a knee sleeve, and various pain medications. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 27-28, 33). With respect to Pallas, Jackson alleged she examined and treated him on February 13, 2015. She gave Jackson a knee sleeve, prescribed a pain medication, and referred Jackson for outside medical treatment for his back pain. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 33.) In addition, Pallas conducted Jackson’s pre-surgery screening on March 5, 2015. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 41.)

Jackson underwent knee surgery on March 13, 2015. Following surgery, he spent nearly three weeks in the DEC’s hospital for recovery, from March 13, 2015, to March 31, 2015. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF pp. 44, 50.) From March 13, 2015, to March 17, 2015, Jackson was held in a “suicide room” (also referred to as a “plan room”) instead of a “recovery room” within the hospital. Jackson alleged that “suicide rooms” are stripped of all “essentials” and are equipped with only a rubber foam bed. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 43.)

Jackson’s “suicide room” initially had a mattress in it. But, on March 15, 2015, Benson removed the mattress, advising Jackson that the mattress was a health hazard because it was not properly secured within the room. As a result, Jackson was forced to sleep on the rubber foam bed instead of a mattress. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 47.) Jackson complained about this, and the condition of the room in general, in an emergency grievance. Britten responded to the grievance by stating that the subject of the grievance was not an emergency, and that Jackson had been placed in the only licensed medical room available when he returned from surgery. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 48.) Prison staff transferred Jackson to a “recovery room” on March 17, 2015. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 49.) They released Jackson from the prison hospital on March 31, 2015. (Filing No. 12 at CM/ECF p. 50.)

Jackson alleges in this action that the defendants failed to provide proper medical care. For relief, Jackson seeks $500, 000 in monetary ...


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