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MATHIS v. PRATT

April 17, 1974

LAWRENCE MATHIS, II, PLAINTIFF
v.
GERALD B. PRATT ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bauer, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This cause comes on the defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint.

This is a pro se action seeking to redress the alleged deprivations of the plaintiff's civil rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This Court apparently has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343(3).

The plaintiff Lawrence Mathis II is presently incarcerated in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Menard, Illinois. The defendant Gerald R. Pratt is the Sheriff of Winnebago County. The defendant Joseph Mandell is Superintendent of the Winnebago County Jail. Defendant Dr. Curtice Steffen is employed by the Winnebago County Jail to provide medical treatment for its inmates.

The plaintiff, in his complaint, alleges the following facts, inter alia:

  1. On the 17th day of November, 1972, at approximately
     10:00 A. M., defendant Steffen did refuse to treat
     the plaintiff, medically, in order that the
     plaintiff could be relieved of nervous tension.
     This nervous condition has existed since the
     plaintiff's duty in the Armed Forces of the United
     States. The plaintiff did in fact inform the
     defendant Dr. Steffen of the condition, yet the
     defendant persisted in his refusal of medical
     treatment. The defendant Dr. Steffen did refuse to
     medically treat the plaintiff in order that the
     plaintiff could be relieved of the effects of
     addiction to barbituates, refuse to continue to
     authorize the prescription for, or to prescribe by
     renewal, the plaintiff's prior prescription of
     Thorizine-75mg.
  2. On the 17th day of November, 1972, defendant Joseph
     Mandell did fail to provide adequate medical
     attention to the plaintiff, did fail to instruct
     the defendant Dr. Steffen to provide proper medical
     attention or to otherwise ensure that the plaintiff
     would receive proper medical treatment for his
     illness.
  3. On the 17th day of November, 1972, defendant Gerald
     R. Pratt, Sheriff of Winnebago County, did fail to
     provide adequate medical attention to the
     plaintiff, knowing the plaintiff to be suffering
     from an illness which required such medical
     attention. Defendant Gerald R. Pratt, on several
     occasions ordered the plaintiff to be placed in
     maximum security isolation, to avoid providing the
     plaintiff with medical attention, and any other
     requests the plaintiff may make of him, or other
     employees of the Winnebago County Jail facilities.
     Defendants Joseph Mandell and Dr. Steffen are
     employed by Gerald R. Pratt. Therefore, Gerald R.
     Pratt is also responsible for the actions of
     defendants Mandell and Steffen, while they are on
     duty as employees of the Winnebago County Jail
     facilities.
  4. Defendants Gerald R. Pratt, Joseph Mandell, and
     Dr. Steffen on many occasions referred to the
     plaintiff as a mad animal, treated the plaintiff
     with little or no respect, and denied the plaintiff
     the rights and privileges given the other inmates,
     without just cause. The actions of the defendants,
     on November 17, 1972 were unprovoked and endangered
     the health of the plaintiff. The plaintiff,
     Lawrence Mathis II, has suffered adverse affects to
     his nervous condition, and has been caused a great
     deal of mental anguish, as a result of the action
     of the defendants. The plaintiff further alleges
     that Gerald R. Pratt, Joseph Mandell and Dr.
     Steffen did conspire to oppress, intimidate, and
     cause undue hardship to the plaintiff, Lawrence
     Mathis II, in the free exercise of: (1) the right
     to the full enjoyment of the services, privileges,
     advantages and accommodations of the Winnebago
     County Jail facilities; (2) the right to the equal
     utilization, without discrimination upon the basis
     of race, of facilities and programs in the
     Winnebago County Jail facilities, Rockford,
     Illinois.

In essence, the plaintiff, appearing pro Se, alleges that on November 17, 1972 his constitutional rights were violated when the prison doctor, Dr. Curtice Steffen, refused to continue a prescription of Thorizine. The plaintiff alleges with specificity not only the date of the incident but also the purpose for which he sought the Thorizine and the results of Dr. Steffen's failure to provide the Thorizine. However, the plaintiff's complaint is void of any allegations that the defendants Gerald R. Pratt or Joseph Mandell were present or that they had any knowledge as to the activities at that time and place.

The defendants, in support of their motions to dismiss, contend that the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. It is the opinion of this Court that the motions of the defendants are meritorious.

I. THE PLAINTIFF HAS FAILED TO STATE A CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST THE
   DEFENDANTS PRATT AND MANDELL.

The plaintiff's complaint is void of any allegation of personal involvement by either Joseph Mandell or Gerald R. Pratt in making the decision as to what medical treatment was necessitated by the plaintiff's condition.

The plaintiff alleges in paragraph 3 of his complaint that the defendant Gerald R. Pratt is responsible for the acts of defendants Joseph Mandell and Dr. Curtice Steffen because he is the Sheriff of Winnebago County. Implicit in this statement is the idea the Joseph Mandell is likewise responsible for the acts of Dr. Steffen because he is the Superintendent of the County Jail. However, absent some allegation of personal ...


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