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Vinning v. Walker

March 11, 2009

MONDREA VINNING, #B-63459, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER E. WALKER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In a separate order entered today, Plaintiff was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis on Count 1 of the complaint. The Court found, though, that Plaintiff is not in imminent danger of serious physical harm due to the claims raised in Count 2, Count 3, Count 4 or Count 5, so he is not entitled to proceed in forma pauperis on these claims. To reiterate, the five claims are:

(1) He has a bullet lodged in his back, but for most of his time in custody, he has been forced to sleep on a steel slab with a very thin mattress. As a result, he has developed severe arthritis, and he experiences constant back pain. He claims that Defendants Hulick, Grubman and Feinerman refuse to provide him with proper medical treatment or issue him an extra mattress.

(2) While he was in the Mt. Sterling Correctional Center, he was subjected to retaliation by Defendants Jennings and Ashby. This retaliation manifested itself in false disciplinary tickets, interference with his mail, unjustified transfers, and denial of access to the law library and to the grievance process.

(3) Unspecified defendants have placed him over $1,000 in debt to the I.D.O.C. for copies and postage.

(4) He is illegally charged $2.00 as a co-payment for each medical appointment.

(5) Inmates in segregation do not receive $10.00 in monthly state pay.

The Court also noted that none of these claims are in any way related to each other. As the Seventh Circuit recently clarified, separate, unrelated claims belong in different suits. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). See generally FED.R.CIV. P. 20(a)(2). Therefore, Counts 2-5 will be dismissed from this action without prejudice to Plaintiff filing those claims in four separate, fully pre-paid lawsuits.

COUNT 1

As stated above, Plaintiff alleges that he has a bullet lodged in his back, but for most of his time in custody, he has been forced to sleep on a steel slab with a very thin mattress. As a result, he has developed severe arthritis, and he experiences constant back pain. He claims that Defendants Hulick, Grubman and Feinerman refuse to provide him with proper medical treatment or issue him an extra mattress.

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).

The Seventh Circuit considers the following to be indications of a serious medical need:

(1) where failure to treat the condition could "result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain"; (2) "[e]xistence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of comment or treatment"; (3) "presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an individual's daily activities"; or (4) "the existence of chronic and substantial pain". Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997).

Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss Count 1 at this ...


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