United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
S. Van Bokkelen United States District Judge
Grothjan, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended
complaint against two doctors at the Westville Correctional
Facility. ECF 14. He also moves for a temporary restraining
order (“TRO”) seeking to be removed from
segregation and a preliminary injunction requiring the two
doctors to provide him with adequate mental health treatment.
Screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
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
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. After entering the IDOC,
Grothjan claims to have informed Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman
of his medical problems and needs. He also asserts that these
doctors were in possession of his past medical records
establishing his mental health issues and needs.
Nevertheless, he complains that both doctors have ignored his
mental health problems and refuse to provide him with any
treatment. He is seeking both compensatory damages and
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 both Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman. Grothjan
alleges that these doctors are aware of his mental health
condition, but nevertheless refuse to provide him with any
mental health treatment. In addition, Grothjan alleges that
these doctors refuse to provide him with the prescription
medications he received prior to being incarcerated. On these
facts, Grothjan may demonstrate that both doctors are
deliberately different to his serious medical needs. Although
further factual development may show that the doctors were
justified in their actions, it is too early to tell at this
point. Giving him the inferences to which he is entitled at
the pleading stage, Grothjan has alleged enough to proceed on
an Eighth Amendment claim against Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman.
is also asking for a TRO to be removed from segregation and
preliminary injunction to receive adequate mental health
care. “[A] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary
and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the
movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of
persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S.
968, 972 (1997). To obtain preliminary injunctive relief, the
moving party must demonstrate that he or she has a reasonable
likelihood of success on the merits, lacks an adequate remedy
at law, and will suffer irreparable harm if immediate relief
is not granted. Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc. v.
Girl Scouts of U.S., Inc., 549 F.3d 1079, 1086
(7th Cir. 2008). Obtaining a TRO requires the movant to
satisfy an even higher standard, by showing “that
immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result
to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in
opposition.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b)(1)(A).
review, Grothjan does not satisfy the standard for obtaining
a TRO to be transferred out of segregation.
The PLRA circumscribes the scope of the court's authority
to enter an injunction in the corrections context. Where
prison conditions are found to violate federal rights,
remedial injunctive relief must be narrowly drawn, extend no
further than necessary to correct the violation of the
Federal right, and use the least intrusive means necessary to
correct the violation of the Federal right. This section of
the PLRA enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme
Court in cases challenging prison conditions: Prison
officials have broad administrative and discretionary
authority over the institutions they manage.
Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679 (7th Cir. 2012)
(quotation marks, brackets, and citations omitted). The
request made by Grothjan to be removed from segregation goes
well beyond what the PLRA permits. Moreover, it is not
plausible to conclude that either medical defendant has the
authority to remove Grothjan from segregation.
request for preliminary injunction requesting mental health
treatment is another matter. Grothjan alleges that Dr. Taylor
and Dr. Eichman refuse to treat his mental illness. According
to Grothjan, they refuse to see him, refuse to treat him and
refuse to give him his prescribed medications. Despite these
allegations, it is not entirely clear what treatment, if any,
Grothjan is getting (or being denied) at the Westville
Correctional Facility. Therefore injunctive relief will be
narrowly tailored to require the defendants to promptly
provide additional information and respond to Grothjan's
allegations. The court needs to know about Grothjan's
current mental condition. The court also needs to know what
mental treatment Grothjan has received from June 16, 2016 to
date. This information needs to be provided as a narrative
summary in an affidavit (or declaration). The court does not
need medical records at this time. The summary needs ...