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Hatch v. Cravens

August 2, 2007

CHARLES HATCH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOUGLAS A. CRAVENS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, currently an inmate in the Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's pro se complaint is divided into 18 enumerated claims. However, after reviewing the 31-page supporting memorandum that details his allegations, the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint and other pleadings into numbered counts, as shown below. 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 Val, Grubman, Hood, Greenley, Flatt and Cassius for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for psychological treatment, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 2: Against Defendants Grathler, Veath and Williams for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs for his eye care, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 3: Against Defendants Pelker and Niepert for failing to protect Plaintiff from assault at the hands of another inmate, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 4: Against Defendant Robertson for use of excessive force, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 5: Against Defendants Wilson and Scott for conducting an unfair disciplinary hearing, in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

COUNT 6: Aganst unspecified defendants for substandard conditions of confinement, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 7: Against unspecified defendants for impeding his access to the courts. COUNT 8: Against unspecified defendants for retaliation.

COUNT 9: Against Defendants Middendorf, Coverly, Cravens, Walker, Hinsley, McAdory, and Randolph County for thwarting the grievance process, in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

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; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

COUNT 1

While Plaintiff was housed at Stateville, he was issued a prescription for Prozac(r) due to his "social anxiety disorder."*fn1 Upon his arrival at Menard in April 2003, Defendant Val advised Plaintiff that he was reducing his medication to thrice weekly, rather than daily. Plaintiff went several days with no medication, and then Val abruptly discontinued the prescription. Over the next several weeks, Plaintiff suffered several anxiety attacks, and he made several requests that his medication be reinstated. Val persistently refused to provide him with Prozac, and Plaintiff's complaints to Defendant Grubman went unanswered.

Prison officials have a duty, in light of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, to "ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994). To determine whether an inmate's Eighth Amendment rights were violated by a deprivation, we examine the alleged violation both objectively and subjectively. See id. at 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970. "First, the deprivation alleged must be, objectively, sufficiently serious." Id. (quotation omitted). Second, the mental state of the prison official must have been "one of deliberate indifference to inmate health or safety." Id. (quotation omitted).

Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 733 (7th Cir. 2001). The Seventh Circuit has found that "the need for a mental illness to be treated could certainly be considered a serious medical need." Id. at 734; Wellman v. Faulkner, 715 F.2d 269 (7th Cir. 1983). See also Gibson v. County of Washoe, Nev., 290 F.3d 1175 (9th Cir. 2002); Waldrop v. Evans, 871 F.2d 1030, 1035 (11th Cir. 1989) (a doctor's decisions to remove patient from medication and to restore the medication without Lithium constitutes deliberate indifference to patient's psychiatric condition).

Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss the claims against Val and Grubman at this point in the litigation.

Plaintiff also alleges that on June 20, 2003, he separately advised Defendants Hood and Greenly that he needed to see a crisis team member. He made the same requests the next day to Defendants Flatt and Cassius. Each Defendant separately acknowledged Plaintiff's request, but nobody from the crisis team came to see him per those requests. From these allegations, the Court cannot find that any of these defendants were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's need for attention ...


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