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Gomez v. Walker

September 28, 2006


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


Plaintiff, an inmate in the Hill Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that --

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal --

(I) is frivolous or malicious;

(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). 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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that none of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.


Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court has gleaned the following. Prior to his incarceration in the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"), Plaintiff was severely injured in a car accident. Plaintiff was in a coma for 30 days following the accident and he suffered many broken bones and severe internal injures that required an ileostomy and a colostomy. At some point after those surgeries, Plaintiff was placed in the Cook County Jail, in Chicago, Illinois. During his time there, Plaintiff was scheduled to receive surgery to reverse the colostomy, but before the surgery was performed, Plaintiff was taken into IDOC custody.

While Plaintiff was housed in the Big Muddy River Correctional Center, he began to experience problems, including nausea, vomiting, and pain, discomfort, inflamation, infection, and discharge at the colostomy site. He saw Doctor Obaisi (not a defendant) on June 21, 2001, and Dr. Korman (not a defendant) on July 24 and 29, 2002. He was promised a referral to a specialist by Dr. Korman, but Dr. Hamby (not a defendant) the new medical director, denied that consultation. Beginning in January 2002, Plaintiff filed grievances seeking treatment for those problems and seeking the colostomy reversal surgery that was scheduled but was never performed. Plaintiff's grievances were not adequately addressed or acted upon.

Plaintiff was later transferred to Menard Correctional Center. On April 25, 2003, Plaintiff saw Dr. Doughty (not a defendant) who took away his wheelchair, despite Plaintiff's complaints of pain and muscle spasm in his lower back, and continued difficulties at the colostomy site. While in the Menard Health Care Unit in September 2003, Defendant Ahmed stated to Plaintiff, "you come into the department with that problem and you are going to haave to live with it while you are here, so you are going to leave with it." Plaintiff claims that Defendant Ahmed falsified Plaintiff's medical records to "downplay the seriousness" of his medical conditions. Plaintiff states that the "medical directors" have denied him adequate treatment for Plaintiff's medical problems, even though they are aware of the swelling, infection, discharge, nausea, and vomiting from which Plaintiff suffers. Plaintiff states that these "medical directors" have acted with "malicious intent" and that their actions constitute deliberate indifference to his medical needs.


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 ...

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