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Sykes v. Feinerman

May 14, 2009

EDDIE J. SYKES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. FEINERMAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Eddie Sykes, formerly an inmate in the Menard 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; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

Sykes alleges that he suffers from some form of prostrate problem. His symptoms include frequent urination on himself, constipation, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. He has sought medical treatment for this condition, without relief. His complaint makes specific allegations against Defendants Feinerman, Magdel, Pollion, Criss, Daily, Shirley, and John Doe Nurse, asserting that each has been deliberately indifferent to his medical needs, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

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). Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss the claims against Feinerman, Magdel, Pollion, Criss, Daily, Shirley, and John Doe Nurse at this time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

Sykes also includes C/O Harrington as a defendant, but his only allegation against Harrington is that she told him to put in a sick call request. This is not deliberate indifference; Harrington simply told Sykes to follow the established procedures for seeking medical treatment. Thus, Sykes has failed to state a claim against Harrington, and she will be dismissed from this action.

Sykes also lists Roger Walker and Donald Hulick as defendants, asserting that they are liable respectively as director and warden for the actions and inactions of the medical staff, but civil rights law "does not establish a system of vicarious responsibility." Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 593 (7th Cir. 2009), citing Monell v. New York City Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Accordingly, Walker and Hulick will be dismissed from this action.

Next, Sykes has listed Amy Lang as a defendant in the caption of the complaint, but he makes no allegations against her. Merely invoking the name of a potential defendant is not sufficient to state a claim against that individual. See Collins v. Kibort,143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998) ("A plaintiff cannot state a claim against a defendant by including the ...


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