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Byrd v. Wexford Health Source

May 6, 2010

HERMAN BYRD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCE, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

MERIT REVIEW ORDER

This cause is before the court for a merit review of the plaintiff's claims. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to "screen" the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."

28 U.S.C. §1915A.

The pro se plaintiff has filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1983 against 15 defendants including Wexford Health Sources, Dr. Osapho, Dr. Shaffer, David Hopkins, Administrative Review Board Members Jackie Miller and Sarah Johnson, Correctional Officers Hobbs and Fefi, Nurse Sherri Lynn, Warden Kevin Gilson, Kevin Kirkbride, Dr. Peters, Nurse Huggins, the Illinois Department of Corrections and Stateville Correctional Center's doctor. The plaintiff has filed a very detailed complaint claiming that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

In order to demonstrate the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights, the plaintiff must pass a two prong test. First, the plaintiff must demonstrate that he suffers from a serious medical condition. Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346 (1981); Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991). Second, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the named defendants were deliberately indifferent to that condition. "[A] finding of deliberate indifference requires evidence that the official was aware of the risk and consciously disregarded it nonetheless." Mathis v. Fairman, 120 F.3d 88, 91 (7th Cir. 1997)(citing Farmer at 840-42) Inadequate medical treatment due to negligence or even gross negligence does not support an Eighth Amendment violation. Shockley v Jones, 823 F.3d 1068, 1072 (7th Cir. 1987). In addition, inmates are not entitled to a specific type of treatment, or even the best care, only reasonable measures to prevent a substantial risk of serious harm. Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d, 262, 267 (7th Cir. 1997).

STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER

The plaintiff claims he suffers from severe hypertension and heart problems. When he entered the Illinois Department of Corrections, the plaintiff says he saw a doctor at Stateville Correctional Center on October 22, 2007. The plaintiff says he told the doctor about his condition and the medications he was on. The doctor said the Illinois Department of Corrections would not pay for the medications currently diagnosed. Instead, the doctor changed one medication from patch form to pill form and changed one medication to a different prescription. The plaintiff told the doctor his personal care physician had spent some time coming up with the correct mix of medications. The doctor told the plaintiff that he was about to be transferred out of Stateville Correctional Center and the plaintiff could discuss his condition more in depth with his next doctor. The plaintiff says he was then transferred to Illinois River Correctional Center.

The plaintiff has failed to state a violation of his constitutional rights. A disagreement with the type of care or prescription provided by this doctor is not enough to state an Eighth Amendment claim. In addition, the plaintiff cannot combine unrelated claims against unrelated defendants in the same lawsuit. The plaintiff cannot combine his claims against this doctor at Stateville Correctional Center with claims against individuals at Illinois River Correctional Center. In George v Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007), the Court of Appeals stated that "[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits." In other words, "multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Id. The Seventh Circuit has instructed that such "buckshot" complaints should be "rejected." Id.

In addition, venue for this claim does not lie in the Central District of Illinois. Venue for federal civil rights actions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). According to that statute, such actions may be brought only in (1) the judicial district where any defendant resides (if all defendants reside in the same State), (2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or (3) a judicial district in which any defendant may be found, if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought.

The plaintiff's claims involving his care at Stateville Correctional Center occurred in Will County which is situated in the federal judicial district for the Northern District of Illinois. 28U.S.C. § 93c . If venue is improper the court "shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought." 28 U.S.C. §1406 (a). The court cannot transfer the plaintiff's case to the Northern District because he has chosen to combine claims that involve both districts in his complaint. Therefore, the court will dismiss any claims concerning his treatment at Stateville Correctional Center. If the plaintiff believes he can state a violation of his constitutional rights, he may file a separate lawsuit concerning these claims involving Dr. Peters and the other, unknown Stateville doctor in the Northern District of Illinois.

ILLINOIS RIVER CORRECTIONAL CENTER

The remainder of the plaintiff's complaint lists a detailed account of the medical care he received at Illinois River Correctional Center. The plaintiff says he initially complained that he was having breathing problems, but the nurses who examined him were unable to detect any problems. The plaintiff was told to fill out a sick call request if needed.

The plaintiff did see a nurse during sick call that examined the plaintiff and found no abnormalities. She told the plaintiff if he had any further problems to fill out a sick call request and he would be put on the doctor's sheet.

DR. OSAPHO: Approximately one week later, in October of 2007, the plaintiff saw Dr. Osapho. The plaintiff explained his complaint about the change in his medications and his breathing problems. The doctor said he saw no reason to change the prescription and saw no signs of congestion. In addition, the plaintiff admits "my vitals and blood pressure were fine upon examination this time." (Comp, p. 7). The plaintiff asked the doctor to check into his medical history, but the doctor ...


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