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Nolan v. Sawar

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 23, 2014

AMAR SAWAR, M.D., Defendant.



Plaintiff, an inmate in the United States Penitentiary in Marion ("Marion"), brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by a person acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Plaintiff claims that Defendant, a private physician under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), has been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

In his complaint, Plaintiff states that he has been treated by Defendant Sawar since 2009 (Doc. 1, p. 1). Defendant Sawar is described as being self-employed at a "Neurology, Arthritis Clinic" in Carbondale, Illinois. Id. Plaintiff does not describe his medical condition, other than to say that he suffers from constant and debilitating pain and swelling in various parts of his body (Doc. 1, p. 5). Despite being under the care of Defendant Sawar, Plaintiff is still having acute pain and experiencing swelling. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Sawar "has incorrectly diagnosed plaintiff's medical conditions and provided inappropriate and ineffective medication, medication that typically treats unrelated illnesses or conditions. These medications, inappropriately administered, expose him [to] dangerous effects." Id. Plaintiff asserts that based on these facts, Defendant Sawar is in violation of the Eighth Amendment, for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Id.

Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and unspecified injunctive relief (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Previous Litigation Against Defendant Sawar

On August 28, 2013, Plaintiff brought a civil rights claim in this Court against several Marion medical providers, including Defendant Sawar. Nolan v. Brooks, et al., Case No. 13-cv-895-NJR-DGW. That 2013 case shall be referred to herein for clarity as " Nolan I. " Nolan I is still pending, but that lawsuit was allowed to proceed only against physician's assistant Leslee Brooks and health administrator Randall Pass (in his official capacity). See Doc. 5 in Nolan I.

Plaintiff's complaint in Nolan I contained allegations against Defendant Sawar that are nearly identical to those in the instant complaint (Docs. 1, 23 in Nolan I ). He claimed that Defendant Sawar incorrectly diagnosed his condition and gave him medications for conditions he does not have. He concluded that Defendant Sawar's actions both violated the Eighth Amendment and constituted medical malpractice (Doc. 1, p. 5; Doc. 23, p. 5 in Nolan I ). The complaint in Nolan I contained additional information about Plaintiff's condition, noting that he suffers from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Raynaud's Disease. His claims against Defendant Brooks included the allegation that she had failed to provide him with medication and gloves that had been prescribed to him by outside specialist Defendant Sawar.

Defendant Sawar was dismissed with prejudice from Nolan I. This Court explained that even if Defendant Sawar's actions did amount to medical malpractice, such wrongdoing would not violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights (Doc. 5, p. 6 in Nolan I ). The order continued by explaining the legal standard for unconstitutional deliberate indifference to a medical need:

"A prisoner's claim for deliberate indifference must establish (1) an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) an official's deliberate indifference to that condition. Deliberate indifference is proven by demonstrating that a prison official knows of a substantial risk of harm to an inmate and either acts or fails to act in disregard of that risk." Gomez v. Randle, 680 F.3d 859, 865 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

Id. Applying this rule to the factual allegations in the complaint in Nolan I, the Court concluded that Plaintiff failed to state a constitutional claim against Defendant Sawar on which relief may be granted:

Nothing in Plaintiff's complaint indicates that Defendant Sawar was deliberately indifferent to a risk of harm to Plaintiff from his medical condition. Instead, Plaintiff says that Defendant Sawar recommended treatment for him and prescribed medications. These actions demonstrate that Defendant Sawar took "reasonable measures to meet a substantial risk of serious harm, " Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 267 (7th Cir. 1997), which is all that is required to pass constitutional muster. Indeed, part of Plaintiff's claim in Count 1 against Defendant Brooks is that she failed to give him the treatment that Defendant Sawar recommended.

(Doc. 5, p. 6 in Nolan I ).

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant. After fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's ...

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