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Farley v. Illinois Dep't of Corrections

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


June 25, 2007

RENNY FARLEY, INMATE #R33023, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DEFENDANTS.

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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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

(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 governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff states simply that the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") has been charging him a $2 co-pay every time he receives non-emergency health care. Plaintiff argues that this removal of funds from his account is improper under an Illinois Supreme Court case, Hadley v. Illinois Department of Corrections, 864 N.E.2d 162 (Ill. 2007). In Hadley, an Illinois inmate challenged the IDOC practice of charging a $2 co-pay to inmates prior to receipt of non-emergency medical treatment as conflicting with an Illinois statute under which indigent inmates are exempt from the co-payment. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the IDOC improperly interpreted the statute, and as a result, that the IDOC's rule governing removal of the co-pay from inmate trust fund accounts was invalid. Id. at 173.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under that provision, a plaintiff "must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988).

Courts have consistently held that co-payments for inmate medical treatment are not unconstitutional. See Reynolds v. Wagner, 128 F.3d 166, 174 (3rd Cir. 1997) (prisoner co-payment plan does not violate the Eighth Amendment); Shapley v. Nevada Bd. of State Prison Commissioners, 766 F.2d 404, 408 (9th Cir. 1985) (nothing per se unconstitutional about charging an inmate $3 for every medical visit; such a charge, by itself, did not constitute deliberate indifference under Estelle); Hudgins v. DeBruyn, 922 F.Supp. 144, 150-52 (S.D.Ind. 1996) (prisoner co-payment plan does not violate the Eighth Amendment); Martin v. DeBruyn, 880 F.Supp. 610, 615 (N.D.Ind. 1995), aff'd, 116 F.3d 1482 (7th Cir. 1997) (Eighth Amendment guarantees only that inmates receive necessary medical care; it does not guarantee free medical care).

Thus, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under section 1983 because the IDOC's practice does not violate the constitution. Plaintiff has demonstrated that the practice is in conflict with Illinois law, but "[t]he federal government is not the enforcer of state law." Pasiewicz v. Lake County Forest Preserve Dist., 270 F.3d 520, 526 (7th Cir. 2001). The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over this state law claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

In summary, Plaintiff's complaint does not survive review under § 1915A. Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED with prejudice. Plaintiff is advised that the dismissal of this action will count as one of his three allotted "strikes" under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

WILLIAM D. STIEHL DISTRICT JUDGE

20070625

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