While the defendants admit to the occasional mistake, the record
reflects that the plaintiff received comprehensive, ongoing care
while incarcerated at the Graham Correctional Center. He was seen
by health care staff on a daily basis, he received medication and
counseling, he underwent diagnostic tests, and the medical staff
responded to his numerous letters questioning the propriety of
his medical treatment.
The defendants' failure to provide the plaintiff with his
medicine on occasion amounted, at worst, to negligence. See
Zingmond v. Harger, 602 F. Supp. 256, 260 (N.D.Ill. 1985); Burns
v. Head Jailor of LaSalle County Jail, 576 F. Supp. 618 (N.D.Ill.
1984). Negligence, gross negligence, or even recklessness as used
in the civil tort sense, are insufficient to support an Eighth
Amendment claim. Duckworth, supra, 780 F.2d at 653. Excusable
delays in properly treating an inmate that do not stem from
deliberate indifference do not implicate the Eighth Amendment.
Shockley v. Jones, 823 F.2d 1068, 1072 (7th Cir. 1987).
The court is particularly unwilling to find a constitutional
violation since the plaintiff suffered no real harm, and since he
has failed to establish that the minor injuries he did suffer can
be attributed to the lack of medication. [To the contrary, the
record raises a strong inference that this lawsuit was entirely
concocted.] Indeed, the plaintiff himself deemed his medication
to be sufficiently unimportant that he sometimes declined to take
it. The plaintiff has failed to establish a triable issue as to
whether the defendants deliberately withheld needed medication or
The defendants are likewise entitled to judgment as a matter of
law on the plaintiff's general challenge to the provision of
medical care at the Graham Correctional Center. State prisons, of
course, are obliged to provide inmates in their custody with a
medical care system that meets minimum standards of adequacy.
Wellman v. Faulkner, 715 F.2d 269, 271 (7th Cir. 1983), cert.
denied, 468 U.S. 1217, 104 S.Ct. 3587, 82 L.Ed.2d 885 (1984).
The plaintiff, borrowing language from the pertinent case law,
alleges that there were "repeated examples of negligent acts
which disclose a pattern of conduct by the prison medical staff;"
however, the record does not support his contention that there
are "such systematic and gross deficiencies in the staffing,
facilities, equipment, or procedures that the inmate population
is effectively denied access to adequate medical care."
Wellman, 715 F.2d at 272. The prison — and specifically the
health care unit — have been accredited by independent bodies in
the very field of institutional medical care. The accreditation
was in effect during the time period the plaintiff was
incarcerated at Graham, and his voluminous medical records
reflect ample, and constitutionally adequate, medical care. The
record fails to support an inference that the prison's health
care system was so deficient as to violate the Eighth Amendment.
In any case, even assuming (without finding) that the health
care staff provided substandard care, the plaintiff has shown no
basis for assessing liability against the defendants Dobucki or
Sassatelli. The doctrine of respondeat superior (supervisory
liability) does not apply to actions filed under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir.
1983). Prison administrators, having no medical expertise, must
rely on health care professionals to assess the needs of
prisoners and initiate treatment. McEachern v. Civiletti,
502 F. Supp. 532, 534 (N.D.Ill. 1980); see also Eklund v. Hardiman,
580 F. Supp. 410, 412 (N.D.Ill. 1984). The extent of involvement
of the warden and assistant warden was to refer the plaintiff's
myriad complaints to the proper official in the health care unit
for resolution. Because the plaintiff was being treated by
medical personnel, Dobucki and Sassatelli are insulated from any
Eighth Amendment claim.
Furthermore, the amended complaint is moot insofar as the
plaintiff seeks injunctive relief. When a prisoner is transferred
to another prison, his request for injunctive relief against
officials of the first prison is moot unless he can demonstrate
that he is likely to be retransferred [back to the original
prison]. Higgason v. Farley, 83 F.3d 807, 811 (7th Cir. 1996)
(internal citations and quotations omitted). Allegations of a
likely retransfer may not be based on mere speculation. Id.; see
also Young v. Lane, 922 F.2d 370 (7th Cir. 1991). The plaintiff
has failed to demonstrate
that he has standing to obtain injunctive relief.
The plaintiff has not contested the defendant Davis' motion for
summary judgment. Davis, a correctional officer, asserts that he
"had no responsibility to dispense any medication to the
Plaintiff and in no way had any responsibility either direct or
indirect for the administration of medication to the Plaintiff."
Davis' possible misinformation to the defendant Schroll that the
plaintiff had been transferred cannot fairly be attributed to
deliberate indifference. Davis' unopposed motion for summary
judgment will be granted.
In fact, the plaintiff's entire "response" to the summary
judgment motion is simply a rehash of his myriad discovery
motions. The plaintiff continues to argue that the defendants
have withheld important discovery materials, principally results
of investigations of his grievances. The court already considered
and rejected the plaintiff's various complaints about alleged
misconduct on the part of the defendants and defense counsel.
Regardless, the court finds that the investigation results are
immaterial. Even if health care professionals were at fault on
certain occasions when the plaintiff did not receive his
medication, the court remains persuaded that the incidents did
not reflect deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.
The court has also already ruled that the defendants were
permitted to withdraw their default admissions. See Order of
April 8, 1997. The court will not continue to revisit those
In sum, no material facts are in dispute, and the court, for
the reasons discussed in the preceding paragraphs, concludes that
the defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The
record in no way supports a finding that the defendants acted
with deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's serious medical
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the defendant Davis' uncontested
motion for summary judgment is allowed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants' motion for summary
judgment is allowed. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in
favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The case is terminated. The parties are to bear
their own costs.