The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM STIEHL, Senior District Judge
Plaintiff, an inmate in the Menard Correctional Center, brings
this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered his
initial partial filing fee as ordered.
To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in
this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 8(f) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate
to break the claims in plaintiff's pro se complaint and other
pleadings into numbered counts, as shown below. Although these
counts do not correspond directly to the legal claims as
described by Plaintiff, they are based on the Court's
determination of the claims that arise out of the facts stated in
Plaintiff's complaint. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise
directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of
these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit. COUNT 1: Against defendants Grubman and Ahmed for
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious
medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
COUNT 2: Against all defendants for violation of
the Rehabilitation Act
COUNT 3: Against defendants Spiller, Wine, Gales,
Walls, McAdory, Gross, Cravens, and Snyder for cruel
and unusual conditions of confinement in violation of
the Eighth Amendment.
COUNT 4: Against all defendants for violation of
the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth
COUNT 5: Against all defendants for violation of
his due process rights in connection with his
long-term confinement in segregation.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in
(a) Screening. The court shall review, before
docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. On review, the court
shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319
, 325 (1989). After evaluating plaintiff's
claims individually, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise
its authority under Section 1915A to dismiss those claims that
are frivolous before allowing plaintiff to proceed with his
remaining claims. See also House v. Belford, 956 F.2d 711
718-19 (7th Cir. 1992).
Plaintiff states that Defendants Grubman and Ahmed have been
negligent or deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff states that
he suffers from "extensive physical and psychological problems"
including depression anxiety, panic disorder, migraine headaches,
and atrophying of body tissue. Plaintiff further states that
Defendants Grubman and Ahmed failed to review Plaintiff's medical
and psychological condition before his was placed in a
restrictive control cell and after he was released from the
control cell, in violation of Illinois administrative rules.
The Supreme Court has recognized that "deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs of prisoners" may constitute cruel and
unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825 (1994). This encompasses a broader range of conduct than
intentional denial of necessary medical treatment, but it stops
short of "negligen[ce] in diagnosing or treating a medical
condition." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. See also Jones v.
Simek, 193 F.3d 485, 489 (7th Cir. 1999); Steele v. Choi,
82 F.3d 175, 178 (7th Cir. 1996), cert. denied,
519 U.S. 897 (1996).
A prisoner raising an Eighth Amendment claim against
a prison official therefore must satisfy two
requirements. The first one is an objective standard:
"[T]he deprivation alleged must be, objectively,
`sufficiently serious.'" Farmer, 511 U.S. at ___,
114 S.Ct. at 1977. As the Court explained in
Farmer, "a prison official's act or omission must
result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure
of life's necessities." Id. The second requirement
is a subjective one: "[A] prison official must have a
`sufficiently culpable state of mind,'" one that the
Court has defined as "deliberate indifference." Id;
see Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 5,
112 S.Ct. 995, 998, 117 L.Ed.2d 156 (1992) ("[T]he appropriate
inquiry when an inmate alleges that prison officials
failed to attend to serious medical needs is whether
the officials exhibited `deliberate indifference.'");
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct. 285,
291, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976) ("[D]eliberate
indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners
constitutes the `unnecessary and wanton infliction of
Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991-992 (7th Cir. 1996),
cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1230 (1997). However, the Supreme Court
stressed that this test is not an insurmountable hurdle for
inmates raising Eighth Amendment claims: [A]n Eighth Amendment claimant need not show that a
prison official acted or failed to act believing that
harm actually would befall an inmate; it is enough
that the official acted or failed to act despite his
knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm. . . .
Whether a prison official had the requisite
knowledge of a substantial risk is a question of fact
subject to demonstration in the usual ways, including
inference from circumstantial evidence, . . . and a
factfinder may conclude that a prison official knew
of a substantial risk from the very fact that the
risk was obvious.
The Seventh Circuit's decisions following this standard for
deliberate indifference in the denial or delay of medical care
require evidence of a defendant's actual knowledge of, or
reckless disregard for, a substantial risk of harm. The Circuit
also recognizes that a defendant's inadvertent error, negligence
or even ordinary malpractice is insufficient to rise to the level
of an Eighth Amendment constitutional violation.
Neglect of a prisoner's health becomes a violation of
the Eighth Amendment only if the prison official
named as defendant is deliberately indifferent to the
prisoner's health that is, only if he `knows of and
disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or
Williams v. O'Leary, 55 F.3d 320, 324 (7th Cir.), cert.
denied, 516 U.S. 993 (1995); see also Steele, 82 F.3d at 179
(concluding there was insufficient evidence of doctor's knowledge
of serious medical risk or of his deliberate indifference to that
risk; emphasizing that even malpractice is not enough proof under
Farmer); Miller v. Neathery, 52 F.3d 634, 638-39 (7th
Cir. 1995) (applying Farmer mandate in jury instruction).
However, a plaintiff inmate need not prove that a defendant
intended the harm that ultimately transpired or believed the harm
would occur. Haley v. Gross, 86 F.3d 630, 641 (7th Cir.
Based on these standards, Plaintiff has not stated a claim of
deliberate indifference. Plaintiff has not made sufficient
allegations under the subjective requirement outlined above.
Plaintiff has not stated how Defendants Grubman and Ahmed were
aware of a risk to his health, but ignored it. In fact, Plaintiff himself states that their conduct was
negligent. "Mere negligence or even gross negligence does not
constitute deliberate indifference." See Snipes v. DeTella,
95 F.3d 586, 590 (7th Cir. 1996). Furthermore, Plaintiff states
later in the complaint that when he receives psychological or
psychiatric counseling he is chained to a bolt in the floor. This
statement belies his assertion that he did not receive
psychological counseling while in segregation. Ultimately,
without allegations indicating that Defendants Grubman and Ahmed
were aware of the risks to Plaintiff as a result of his medical
condition and then that they deliberately ignored them, Plaintiff
has not stated a claim of constitutional dimension. Accordingly,
this claim is DISMISSED from the action with prejudice. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Plaintiff states that a serious medical need in that he is
suffering from "a mental and physical disability." Plaintiff
states that Defendants knew of this condition, but discriminated
against him in violation of the Rehabilitation Act in the
following ways. Defendants denied him adequate psychological
treatment, an alternative to prolonged segregation in the form of
a work assignment, an opportunity to participate in vocational,
rehabilitative, and educational programs, yard privileges, an
opportunity to participate in a religious congregation, telephone
privileges, psychotherapy, and art supplies and other personal
property that could enrich his quality of life.
The Seventh Circuit has found that the Rehabilitation Act
applies to prisons, following the Supreme Court's reasoning in
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206
(1998) (the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., applies to prisons). Stanley v. Litscher,
213 F.3d 340, 343 (7th Cir. 2000). Contrary to ADA claims, which
must be pursued in ...