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Timothy Sulk v. Western Correctional Center

September 4, 2012

TIMOTHY SULK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WESTERN CORRECTIONAL CENTER, WEXFORD MEDICAL, E. SHOEMAKER, MR. BAKER, R. MILLS,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Tuesday, 04 September, 2012 03:31:15 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and incarcerated in Western Illinois Correctional Center, seeks the administration of proper doses of insulin to control his diabetes. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Court is required by § 1915A to review a Complaint filed by a prisoner against a governmental entity or officer and, through such process, to identify cognizable claims, dismissing any claim that is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." A hearing is held if necessary to assist the Court in this review, but, in this case, the Court concludes that no hearing is necessary. The Complaint and its attachments are clear enough on their own for this Court to perform its merit review of Plaintiff's Complaint.

The review standard under § 1915A is the same as the notice pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). To state a claim, the allegations must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations must give enough detail to give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted)). The factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56). However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).

ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff's diabetes is best controlled by taking 20 units of regular, fast-acting insulin per day, and 65 units per day of a long-acting insulin called Lantus. Defendants refuse to give Plaintiff these doses despite Plaintiff's repeated requests, instead providing him with insulin in the amounts they arbitrarily decide. Defendants' actions are allegedly causing Plaintiff's blood sugars to run extremely high, between 200 and 400, with a Hemoglobin A1C of 11.4. Plaintiff's blood sugar readings should be between 70 and 120, and his Hemoglobin A1C was 8.4 when he first arrived at Western. When Plaintiff complained again to Nurse Mills, Plaintiff's regular insulin was increased to 25 units, Plaintiff believes in retaliation for his complaints. The increase in fast-acting insulin causes Plaintiff's blood sugar to fall dangerously low, requiring him to eat more to avoid falling into a diabetic coma, which in turn has caused him to gain unnecessary weight.

ANALYSIS

Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need violates a prisoner's right under the Eighth Amendment to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Hayes v. Snyder, 546 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Cir. 2008). The medical need must be objectively serious, meaning "'one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.'" Id., quoting Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005).

Plaintiff states a claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical need. Diabetes is a serious medical need requiring treatment, and a plausible inference of deliberate indifference arises from the refusal of Defendants to administer insulin in the doses necessary to adequately control Plaintiff's diabetes.

However, Plaintiff cannot sue Western Illinois Correctional Center, because a prison is not a person subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Johnson v. Supreme Court of Illinois, 165 F.3d 1140, 1141 (7th Cir.1999) ("states and their agencies are not 'persons' subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983"). Additionally, Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), is not liable for the constitutional violations of its employees unless those violations were caused by a policy or practice of Wexford. Jackson v. Ill. Medi-Car, Inc., 300 F.3d 760, 766 n. 6 (7th Cir. 2002)(private corporations acting under color of state law are treated as municipal entities for purposes of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983; Billings v. Madison Metropolitan School Dist., 259 F.3d 807, 816 (7th Cir. 2001)(municipality liable under § 1983 only if municipality had unconstitutional practice or policy which caused deprivation). In other words, Wexford is not liable solely because Wexford employs Defendants. Iskander v. Village of Forest Park, 690 F.2d ...


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