The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAKER, District Judge
The plaintiff, currently incarcerated in the United States
Penitentiary, in McCreary, Kentucky, alleges deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs while he was
incarcerated as a pretrial detainee at Sangamon County Jail.
The court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to conduct a merit
review of the Complaint, and through such process to dismiss any
legally insufficient claims, or the entire action if warranted. A
merit review hearing was scheduled to aid the court in this
review, but will be cancelled as unnecessary. The Complaint
already clearly sets out the claims.
The merit review standard is the same as a motion to dismiss
standard. Pro se complaints are to be liberally construed.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), reh'g denied,
405 U.S. 948 (1972). The allegations are taken as true, and a claim can be
dismissed for failure to state a claim only if it appears "beyond
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
his claim which would entitle him to relief." Haines,
404 U.S. at 521.
Around March 25, 2003, the plaintiff was incarcerated in
Sangamon County Jail as a pretrial detainee. He entered with no
medical problems other than a gunshot wound to his left leg.
On April 16, 2003, pain from the plaintiff's feet awoke him
his feet were red and swollen and he could barely walk. Defendant
Dr. Maurer examined the plaintiff's feet, attributing the problem
to obesity and flat feet. Dr. Maurer told the plaintiff to stay
off his feet and gave him pain medicine.
The plaintiff's foot problems did not abate, but Dr. Maurer
persisted in his original diagnosis and treatment, prescribing other pain medicines that
were ineffective and that carried a risk of fatal side effects.
The plaintiff's requests to see a specialist were denied.
On July 12, 2004, the plaintiff was transferred to Havana
County Jail. On July 21, 2004, the plaintiff was taken to the
Havana Medical Center emergency room, and the doctor there
diagnosed him with type II diabetes and a serious risk of heart
The plaintiff alleges his medical treatment at Sangamon County
Jail amounted to medical malpractice and deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs.
A pretrial detainee's claim of inadequate medical care is
brought under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, but
the legal analysis the same as a claim of deliberate indifference
to a serious medical need under the Eighth Amendment. Chapman v.
Keltner, 241 F.3d 842, 845 (7th Cir. 2001); Chavez v. Cady,
207 F.3d 901, 904 (7th Cir. 2000). A pretrial detainee must show
that "(1) an objectively serious injury or medical need was
deprived; and (2) the official knew that the risk of injury was
substantial but nevertheless failed to take reasonable measures
to prevent it." Chapman, 241 F.3d at 845; Chavez, 207 F.3d.
at 904. An objectively serious injury or medical need is "`one
that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or
one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.'" Chapman,
241 F.3d at 845, quoting Zentmyer v. Kendall County,
220 F.3d 805, 810 (7th Cir. 2000) (other quote omitted). An objectively
serious condition also presents itself if "failure to treat [it]
could result in further significant injury or unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain." Gutierrez, 111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th
Cir. 1997). The subjective component (deliberate indifference) is
not negligence or even gross negligence. Chapman,
241 F.3d at 845 (7th Cir. 2001); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 836
(1994). The prisoner must "show that the prison official was
subjectively aware of the prisoner's serious medical needs and
disregarded an excessive risk that a lack of treatment posed to
the prisoner's health or safety." Wynn v. Southward,
251 F.3d 588, 593 (7th Cir. 2001). Malpractice is not a constitutional
violation. Steele v. Choi, 82 F.3d 175, 178-79 (7th Cir. 1996);
Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 1996). Nor is a
professional disagreement between doctors evidence of deliberate
indifference; rather, the doctor's decisions must be "such a
substantial departure from accepted professional judgment,
practice, or standards as to demonstrate the person responsible
did not base the decision on such a judgment." Estate of Cole v.
Pardue, 94 F.3d 254, 261-62 (7th Cir. 1996).
The court concludes that, under notice pleading, the plaintiff
states a Fourteenth Amendment claim against defendants Dr. Maurer
and defendant Fabish, the Jail's health care medical director,
regarding his medical care at the Jail. To hold otherwise would
require factual determinations that cannot be made at this stage.
However, the plaintiff states no constitutional claim against
Warden Poster, the City of Springfield, or Sheriff Neil
Williamson. No inference of an unconstitutional policy or
practice reasonably arises that might allow these defendants to
be held liable in their official capacities. See Monell v. New
York city Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Armstrong
v. Squadrito, 152 F.3d 564, 577 (7th Cir. 1998); Gossmeyer v.
McDonald, 128 F.3d 481, 494 (7th Cir. 1997). And, Williamson and Poster cannot be liable under Section 1983
for the misdeeds of their subordinates unless they were
personally responsible for those misdeeds. Sanville v.
McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 739 (7th Cir. 2001), citing
Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 652 (7th Cir.
2001); Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995).
That is, they cannot be liable under § 1983 just because they
were in charge of running the Jail. To be personally responsible
means participating directly in the constitutional violation,
directing the unconstitutional conduct, or approving the
violations. Sanville, 266 F.3d at 739. Additionally,
non-medical personnel are generally entitled (and required) to
rely on the professional expertise of doctors for the medical
treatment of inmates. Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 656
(7th Cir. 2005) ("`If a prisoner is under the care of medical
experts . . . a non-medical prison official will generally be
justified in believing that the prisoner is in capable hands.'")
(quoting 3rd Circuit case with approval). Accordingly,
defendants City of Springfield, Williamson and Poster will be
As to the plaintiff's claims of medical malpractice, he has
failed to attach an affidavit and physician's report as required
by 735 ILCS 5/2-622. The malpractice claim will therefore be
dismissed, with leave to refile as provided below.
735 ILCS 5/2-622(g) ("failure of the plaintiff to file an affidavit ...