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Rickard v. Corizon Health Care

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

November 30, 2016

SCOTT RICKARD, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH CARE, BRIAN SMITH, PHEGLY, WILLIAM SPANENBERG, RN's for CORIZON HEALTH, PHARMACORR, DEE, MATT, HENRY, CAROLYN, ROXANN LEWIS, BRYAN BULLER, CARL KUENNLI, EDWARD ROSS, BRUCE IPPEL, JESSICA HIRT, ANN PELL, KATHY EDRINGTON, TINA BURGER, KALA BRAWFORD, TYRA NICKERSON, DIVISION OF MEDICAL AND CLINICAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES, Defendants.

          ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         I.

         The plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis [dkt. 2] is granted. The plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $30.00 (Thirty Dollars). He shall have through December 28, 2016, to pay this sum to the clerk.

         II.

         The plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Putnamville Correctional Facility. Because the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on the defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal,

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. 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.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Pro se complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff are construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).

         The plaintiff's claims are brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A cause of action is provided by 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against “[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights; instead, it is a means for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989) (citing Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). The initial step in any § 1983 analysis is to identify the specific constitutional right which was allegedly violated. Id. at 394; Kernats v. O'Sullivan, 35 F.3d 1171, 1175 (7th Cir. 1994); see also Gossmeyer v. McDonald, 128 F.3d 481, 489-90 (7th Cir. 1997).

         Constitutional claims are to be addressed under the most applicable provision. See Conyers v. Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 586 (7th Cir. 2005). The suit charges deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's medical needs, in violation of the cruel and unusual punishments clause of the Eighth Amendment.

         In order for an inmate to state a claim under § 1983 for medical mistreatment or the denial of medical care, the prisoner must allege “acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Deliberate indifference exists only when an official “knows of and disregards an excessive risk to an inmate's health; the official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994)(construing Estelle).

         III. Insufficient Claims

         There is in this case the hint of a serious medical condition such as could satisfy the objective element of an Eighth Amendment claim. Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 846 (7th Cir. 1999)(explaining that a serious medical need is one that has been diagnosed by a physician as needing treatment or one for which even a layperson would recognize the need for a doctor's care). There is not, however, even the hint (in the language of Bell Atlantic) of deliberate indifference in relation to an allegation sufficient to raise the plaintiff's right to relief above the speculative level or enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005)(“[C]onduct is deliberately indifferent when the official has acted in an intentional or criminally reckless manner, i.e., the defendant must have known that the plaintiff was at serious risk of being harmed and decided not to do anything to prevent that harm from occurring even though he could have easily done so.”)(quotation marks and citation omitted).

         The plaintiff names twenty-two defendants in this action. However, the plaintiff fails to identify a particular individual that was the cause of or directed any conduct causing a constitutional deprivation.

         In order to be held liable for a violation of § 1983 in an individual capacity, a defendant must be “personally responsible for the deprivation of a constitutional right.” Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995) (citing Sheik-Abdi v. McClellan, 37 F.3d 1240, 1246 (7th Cir. 1994)). Such personal responsibility exists if the conduct causing a constitutional deprivation occurred at the individual's direction or with his knowledge or consent. Smith v. Rowe, 761 F.2d 360, 369 (7th Cir. 1985) (other citations omitted)). Thus, ‚Äúsome causal connection or affirmative link ...


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