United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
S. Van Bokkelen United States District Judge
Grothjan, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. (DE 1.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A, the court must review the complaint and dismiss it if
the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Courts apply the same standard under Section
1915A as when deciding a motion under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d
621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal, a complaint
must state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
Bissessur v. Indiana Univ. Bd. of Trs., 581 F.3d
599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009). “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.”
Id. at 603. In deciding whether the complaint states
a claim, the court must bear in mind that “[a] document
filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a
pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must
be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Grothjan claims that he has received inadequate mental health
care by various unnamed medical providers since his arrival
into the Indiana Department of Correction
(“IDOC”) in June 2015. Grothjan states that he
was diagnosed as having Paranoid Schizophrenia, Bipolar
Disorder, Insomnia and a panic disorder in 1997 and has been
treated for those conditions until he arrived into the IDOC.
Grothjan claims to have informed healthcare providers of his
medical problems and needs, but those needs went unmet.
the Eighth Amendment, inmates are entitled to adequate
medical care. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976). To establish liability, a prisoner must satisfy both
an objective and subjecting component by showing: (1) his
medical need was objectively serious; and (2) the defendant
acted with deliberate indifference to that medical need.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A
medical need is “serious” if it is one that a
physician has diagnosed as mandating treatment, or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize
the necessity for a doctor's attention. Greeno v.
Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005). On the
subjective prong, the plaintiff must establish that the
defendant “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.” Board v.
Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005). For a
medical professional to be held liable for deliberate
indifference to an inmate's medical needs, he or she must
make a decision that represents “such a substantial
departure from accepted professional judgment, practice, or
standards, as to demonstrate that the person responsible
actually did not base the decision on such a judgment.”
Jackson v. Kotter, 541 F.3d 688, 697 (7th Cir.
2008). Although the Eighth Amendment does not entitle an
inmate to a specific form of treatment, prison medical staff
cannot simply continue with a course of treatment that is
known to be ineffective. Greeno, 414 F.3d at 654-55.
Furthermore, a delay in providing treatment can constitute
deliberate indifference when it causes unnecessary pain.
Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 752-53 (7th Cir.
2011); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th
Grothjan sues only Corizon Medical Services
(“Corizon”), the private company that employs the
medical staff at the IDOC. As a general matter a private
company may be held liable for constitutional violations when
it performs a state function, see West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42 (1988), but there is no general supervisory
liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Chavez v. Ill.
State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001). Thus,
Corizon cannot be held liable simply because it employs the
medical staff who provided care to Grothjan. A private
company performing a state function can also be held liable
to the same extent as a state actor under Monell v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S.
658 (1978). See Rice v. Corr. Med. Servs., 675 F.3d
650, 675 (7th Cir. 2012) (Monell framework applies
to private company providing medical care at prison).
However, Grothjan does not include any allegations from which
it can be plausibly inferred that Corizon had an
unconstitutional practice or policy that caused his injury.
Instead, the gist of Grothjan's claim is that medical
staff failed to give proper care to him in the course of his
treatment. For these reasons, the complaint fails to state a
claim against Corizon.
the current complaint does not state a plausible claim, if
given the opportunity Grothjan may be able to do so.
Accordingly, he will be granted an opportunity to submit an
amended complaint. Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
722 F.3d 1014, 1022-23, 1025 (7th Cir. 2013). If Grothjan
believes that he has a claim against any individual health
care provider, he needs to identify that defendant and
explain what each defendant did (or did not) do. He needs to
explain his medical condition, what treatment he received,
who provided it and when they provided it. He needs to
explain what he believes was wrong and why he believes his
rights have been violated. Because the current complaint does
not state a claim, the court will deny the motion for a
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (DE
these reasons, the court
DENIES the motion for preliminary injunction (DE 9);
DIRECTS the clerk of court to place this cause number on a
blank Prisoner Complaint form and send it to Jason Grothjan;
GRANTS Jason Grothjan to and including March 20, 2017, to
file an amended complaint; and
CAUTIONS Jason Grothjan that if he does not respond by the
deadline, this case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A because the current complaint does not state a
claim for which relief can be granted.