to Division 9, there are only three paramedics currently assigned
to that division. Lewis maintains that this staffing deficiency
has caused him to fear pain and to lose sleep. Lewis also
contends that he has waited several months for physical therapy,
CAT scan and thyroid tests. Finally, Lewis complains about
alleged county policies which restrict the number of procedures,
equipment, and tests that will be performed during the course of
an inmate's medical treatment.
A. Edwards' motion to dismiss
As previously explained, Edwards' motion to dismiss was
directed at Lewis' original complaint. However, Lewis has filed
an amended complaint which has replaced the original complaint.
Accordingly, the court denies Edwards' motion to dismiss Lewis'
complaint as moot.
B. Lewis' amended complaint
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the court has reviewed Lewis'
amended complaint.*fn2 For the following reasons, the court
finds that the amended complaint fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted and, accordingly, dismisses the amended
complaint without prejudice.
1. Lewis' right-of-access claims
Lewis' claims involving the mishandling of his legal mail and
the deficiencies in the law library implicate his First Amendment
right of access to the courts. See Bounds v. Smith,
430 U.S. 817, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977); Wolff v. McDonnell,
418 U.S. 539, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 41 L.Ed.2d 935 (1974). For the
following reasons, the court finds that Lewis has failed to state
a right-of-access claim.
It is well established that prisoners have a constitutional
right of access to the courts. See, e.g., Lewis v. Casey,
518 U.S. 343, 116 S.Ct. 2174, 135 L.Ed.2d 606 (1996). To state a
right-of-access claim, a prisoner must allege "`some quantum of
detriment caused by the challenged conduct of state officials
resulting in the interruption and/or delay of plaintiff's pending
or contemplated litigation.'" Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555,
558 (7th Cir. 1995) (quoting Jenkins v. Lane, 977 F.2d 266, 268
(7th Cir. 1992)). In other words, the prisoner must allege some
"actual prejudice to specific litigation." Duckworth, 65 F.3d
at 559. The following are examples of the requisite detriment:
(1) a complaint that the prisoner prepared was dismissed for
failure to satisfy some technical requirement which, because of
deficiencies in the prison's legal assistance facilities, he
could not have known, Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351, 116 S.Ct. 2174;
(2) the prisoner suffered arguably actionable harm that he wished
to bring before the courts but was so stymied by inadequacies of
the law library that he was unable even to file a complaint,
id.; and (3) the prisoner missed court dates or was unable to
make timely filings because of the state officials' conduct,
Martin v. Davies, 917 F.2d 336, 340 (7th Cir. 1990); DeMallory
v. Cullen, 855 F.2d 442, 449 (7th Cir. 1988).
In this case, Lewis has not sufficiently alleged that the
mishandling of his legal mail and the deficiencies in the Jail's
law library have caused him any actual legal injury with respect
to any present or contemplated litigation.*fn3 His fears that
of his opened mail may have been compromised to the state are too
remote and speculative to establish the necessary legal prejudice
or actual injury required. Finally, Lewis' proper remedy with
respect to Judge Gillespie's order regarding daily access to the
law library is to file a motion in state court to enforce that
2. Lewis' claim for failure to provide adequate medical
Lewis' final claim concerns his complaints regarding the
alleged shortcomings of the medical care system at Cook County
Jail. For the following reasons, the court finds that Lewis has
failed to allege a claim for failure to provide adequate medical
In order to allege a constitutional claim for failure to
provide adequate medical care, the plaintiff must allege that the
defendant was deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251
(1976). Deliberate indifference is synonymous with intentional or
criminally reckless conduct and requires the plaintiff to prove
that the defendants knew of conditions that posed an excessive
risk to the plaintiff's health and that they disregarded that
risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128
L.Ed.2d 811 (1994); Salazar v. City of Chicago, 940 F.2d 233,
239-240 (7th Cir. 1991). The dissatisfaction or disagreement with
the method of treatment or inability to effect a final cure does
not suggest that those who treat an inmate exhibited deliberate
indifference. Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586 (7th Cir. 1996);
Estate of Cole v. Fromm, 94 F.3d 254 (7th Cir. 1996);
Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d 408, 413 (7th Cir. 1987).
The allegations in Lewis' amended complaint fail to state a
claim for failure to provide adequate medical care. First, Lewis
has failed to sufficiently identify a serious medical need that
required treatment. Further, Lewis merely alleges that he has
waited several months for appointment for physical therapy, a CAT
scan, and thyroid tests. These vague allegations of delay fail to
establish that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to
plaintiff's medical needs. See Gutierrez v. Peters,
111 F.3d 1364, 1374 (7th Cir. 1997) (finding that delays in receiving
treatment for infected cyst did not amount to deliberate
indifference despite the fact that inmate's cyst burst and he
suffered considerable pain); Shockley v.. Jones, 823 F.2d 1068,
1072 (7th Cir. 1987) (finding that delay in providing paraplegic
medical supplies did not amount to deliberate indifference
despite the fact inmate lost substantial amounts of bone from his
buttock). Finally, the Jail's failure to follow its own policy of
staffing five paramedics in Division 9 does not state a cause of
action under § 1983. Violations of state law or procedures in and
of themselves are not cognizable under § 1983. See Archie v.
City of Racine, 847 F.2d 1211, 1217 (7th Cir. 1988); Azeez v.
Fairman, 795 F.2d 1296, 1299 (7th Cir. 1986). Therefore, the
court dismisses Lewis' claims concerning the inadequacies of the
Jail's medical care system.
Because Lewis has filed an amended complaint which has replaced
his original complaint, the court denies defendant Edwards'
motion to dismiss as moot. Lewis' amended complaint is dismissed
without prejudice to filing a proposed second amended complaint
which cures the deficiencies identified by the court. Lewis
should name only those defendants who had personal knowledge of
the alleged constitutional violations because, as the court has
previously advised Lewis in its June 26, 1998 order, claims of
supervisor liability are not cognizable under § 1983. Lewis is
given until March 5, 1999 to file his proposed second amended
complaint. If plaintiff fails to timely comply with this order,
this case will be dismissed. The clerk is directed to send
plaintiff a copy of the amended complaint form.
In addition to submitting a proposed second amended complaint,
Lewis must provide the court with a copy for each named defendant
and a copy for the court. Lewis must
also provide defendant Edwards' counsel, David Adelman, a copy if
he intends to pursue claims against Edwards in the proposed
second amended complaint.
With respect to future submissions to the court, Lewis must
keep in mind Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure and
Local General Rule 9(D). Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure requires a plaintiff to file a "short and plain"
statement of his claim showing that he is entitled to relief.
FED.R.CIV.P. 8(A) (emphasis added). Local General Rule 9(D)
limits legal briefs and memoranda to fifteen pages without prior
approval of the court. LOCAL GEN.R. 9(D). Lewis' amended
complaint consisted of thirty-one pages plus an additional
twenty-six pages of exhibits. Lewis' responsive brief totaled
twenty-seven pages and included an additional twenty-three pages
of exhibits. Both of these pleadings violate the spirit of Rule
8(a) and Local General Rule 9(D). The court warns Lewis that he
should be more concise in his future pleadings submitted to this
court. The court will exercise its discretion to strike his
future pleadings if they violate Rule 8(a) or Local General Rule
Finally, Lewis has submitted a motion for request to produce
the provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act requiring that
an action brought by a prisoner allege a physical injury,
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). At this time the court denies this motion
without prejudice to renewal. As the court has previously
dismissed Edwards' motion to dismiss, Lewis does not require a
copy of this provision unless the defendant raises this argument
in the future. Finally, the court advises Lewis that he should
direct discovery requests to defendant's counsel in the future
and attempt to resolve any discovery disputes with counsel before
filing a motion to compel or produce with the court.