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Teague v. Mayo

January 27, 2009


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 00 C 731-David R. Herndon, Chief Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Evans, Circuit Judge.


Before KANNE, EVANS, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

Seventy-two-year-old John Teague is serving a 75-year sentence in the Illinois prison system. The length of the sentence is a result, tragically enough, of his raping the warden's daughter while he was already serving a rape sentence. See People v. Teague, 335 N.E.2d 594 (Ill. App. 1975). He filed this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging mistreatment by two corrections officers at Illinois' Menard Correctional Institution. The judge granted summary judgment against him on his claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and a jury found against him on his claim based on the use of excessive force.

It is undisputed that Teague suffers from arthritis, osteoporosis, and degenerative joint disease. His condition limits his physical capabilities. He walks slowly and bent over. From time to time, back spasms prevent him from walking at all. His back pain has made it difficult for him to go to meals or to participate in recreation activities. Occasionally his meals are delivered to his cell. He is prohibited from lifting more than 20 pounds.

During 1999, he visited the Health Care Unit (HCU) at Menard at least once a month, sometimes as often as three times a week. He was prescribed painkillers and physical therapy. He was given a "slow walk permit" because of his decreased mobility. The pass allowed him to walk at his own pace when going to meals or recreation. When his back did not improve, the medical director of the HCU prescribed a lower bunk placement. He was assigned a lower bunk at the South Lower cellhouse.

Defendant Edward Mayo was the officer in charge of that cellhouse and defendant Andre Taylor was a correctional officer. Teague alleges that Mayo was annoyed by Teague's medical restrictions, refused to honor the slow walk permit, and hassled Teague about walking slowly. Mayo allegedly referred to Teague as a "bug"-a derogatory term for an inmate who needs medication. After Teague complained about the problems he was having with Mayo, Mayo was instructed to follow the doctor's orders as to the treatment of Teague. But, rather, Mayo shook down Teague's cell and ordered him moved to the third floor, which required him to climb stairs.

According to Teague, his problems with Mayo and Taylor culminated one day when the inmates were going to lunch. Teague asked Mayo to take him to the HCU because his back was causing him severe pain. Mayo took Teague to the guards' office were he accused Teague of pushing him. According to Teague's complaint-though, as we shall see, Teague did not prevail on this claim- Mayo and Taylor then seized Teague, handcuffed him behind his back, and dragged him up the stairs to his cell. Teague further alleged that they then shoved him face-first onto the floor, where Mayo pulled Teague's pants down and rammed a broomstick handle into his rectum. Also, Teague claims, Mayo burned him with a cigarette. Mayo and Taylor then locked Teague in his cell and left him there, bleeding from his rectum. To get someone to help him, Teague faked a suicide attempt. It worked, and Mayo and Taylor took Teague to the HCU, where they told the doctor that Teague had been injured in a fight with his cell mate. Teague was examined for facial lacerations and then thrown into segregation, where he claims he remained for four hours, still bleeding and in severe pain. When Teague simulated a second suicide attempt, the officer on duty took him to the HCU, where he was put on suicide watch for three days.

During the weeks following the incident, Teague says he repeatedly tried to tell the medical staff about the assault and his injuries. At one point, the doctor prescribed suppositories for hemorrhoids. After more attempts to convince the medical staff of his injuries, Teague received a rectal examination. The results were inconclusive. Teague filed several grievances regarding this incident before filing this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in September of 2000.

Along with his pro se complaint, Teague filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion for the appointment of counsel. The district court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis but, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b), assessed an initial partial filing fee of $6.23 and ordered Teague to make payments of 20 percent of his monthly income. Teague paid monthly amounts until the fee was paid in October 2003.

In December 2002, the court screened Teague's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and found that it was not subject to summary dismissal. The court ordered the complaint filed and served on the defendants. The case was referred to a magistrate judge for pretrial proceedings. By this time, Teague had filed another motion for the appointment of counsel. Both motions were denied. Teague did not file an objection to the denial with the district judge. Teague moved for a third time for the appointment of counsel and again his motion was denied. Again he did not file objections with the district judge.

The fourth time Teague moved for the appointment of counsel-on May 10, 2004-his motion was granted. An attorney entered an appearance and moved for leave to file an amended complaint. The amended complaint contained two counts. One alleged an Eighth Amendment claim for the assault and for a denial of medical care while he was in segregation. The other claim was for a violation of due process.

Although the original discovery deadline had passed, discovery was reopened and extended to June 2006. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the due process and medical indifference claims. Teague's attorney deposed both defendants and then responded to the motion.

The magistrate judge recommended granting the motion for summary judgment on the due process claim and "on the medical care portion of Count I" but denying summary judgment on the excessive force claim. On the medical care claim, the magistrate judge said that because it was undisputed that Teague received medical care after the alleged attack, there could be no liability for the denial of medical care. Teague objected to the recommendation, saying that the magistrate judge had misconstrued his claim. He said his claim was that the defendants denied him medical treatment while he was in segregation, not that they denied him medical treatment immediately after the alleged attack. The district judge adopted the magistrate judge's recommendation but on the basis that nothing indicated that Mayo and Taylor were assigned to the segregation unit when Teague was ...

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