Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. Unfried

January 29, 2009

JERAMEY R. BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BARBARA UNFRIED, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, formerly an inmate in the Madison County Jail, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

INTERFERENCE WITH RELIGIOUS PRACTICE

Plaintiff states that prior to the Ramadan period in September 2007, he made numerous requests to Defendants Gulash, Hertz, Lakin, Hollenbeck and Unfried for accommodations to observe the fast. He also specifically requested of Unfried and Gulash that his medications be delivered in the evening so as not to interfere with his fast. Finally, despite assurances from Defendants Fritschle and Yelm in 2006 that they would ensure proper accommodations for him in 2007, Plaintiff alleges that they "refused to get involved."

Incarcerated individuals retain the right to exercise their religious beliefs. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). A prison regulation that infringes on inmates' Constitutional rights is valid "only if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests." Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987). However, this does not mean that "these rights are not subject to restrictions and limitations." Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545 (1979). Prisoners do not "retain the same freedom to exercise their religion as they would in the world outside the prison, [but] they may not be denied basic rights of conscience." Thompson v. Commonwealth of Ky., 712 F.2d 1078, 1081 (6th Cir. 1983). A prison "need make only reasonable efforts to afford the inmates an opportunity to practice their faith." Al-Alamin v. Gramley, 926 F.2d 680, 687 (7th Cir. 1991). "In providing this opportunity, the efforts of prison administrators, when assessed in their totality, must be evenhanded." Id. at 686. "[W]hether inmates were deprived of 'all means of expression' [is] an important consideration in measuring the reasonableness" of the interference with free exercise. Woods v. O'Leary, 890 F.2d 883, 887 (7th Cir. 1989) (citing O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 352 (1987)).

Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss any portion of this claim at this time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

DENIAL OF DENTAL TREATMENT

Before his arrival at Madison County Jail, Plaintiff lost a filling from one of wisdom teeth. He was scheduled to have the filling replaced at Stateville, but was remanded to Madison County prior to his appointment. For over a year, Plaintiff made persistent requests to Defendants Unfried, Gulash, Hertz, Lakin, Hollenbeck, Lakin, Major, Lavendar, Fritschle, Blankenship and Yelm to have the filling replaced, only to have those requests put off. He was then told that the only treatment available would be a tooth extraction, and eventually he agreed just to get relief from the pain. However, he still did not receive dental attention, and the tooth now has become fragmented, cutting into his gums and mouth lining when he eats or speaks. He now claims that each of these Defendants has acted with deliberate indifference in refusing to provide him with dental treatment.

A deliberate indifference claim requires both an objectively serious risk of harm and a subjectively culpable state of mind. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005). A deliberate indifference claim premised upon inadequate medical treatment requires, to satisfy the objective element, a medical condition "that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would perceive the need for a doctor's attention." Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653. The subjective component of a deliberate indifference claim requires that the prison official knew of "a substantial risk of harm to the inmate and disregarded the risk." Id.; Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Mere medical malpractice or a disagreement with a doctor's medical judgment is not deliberate indifference. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976); Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653; Estate of Cole by Pardue v. Fromm, 94 F.3d 254, 261 (7th Cir. 1996).

Still, a plaintiff's receipt of some medical care does not automatically defeat a claim of deliberate indifference if a fact finder could infer the treatment was "so blatantly inappropriate as to evidence intentional mistreatment likely to seriously aggravate" a medical condition. Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).

Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d 827, 830-31 (7th Cir. 2007). See also Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 593 (7th Cir. 2001) (dental care is "one of the most important medical needs of inmates").

Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss any portion of this claim at this time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

DISPOSITION

The Clerk is DIRECTED to prepare Form 1A (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons) and Form 1B (Waiver of Service of Summons) for each named Defendant. The Clerk shall forward those forms, USM-285 forms submitted by the Plaintiff, and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.