United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge
Ramone Teague, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed an amended
complaint naming three defendants. “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)
(quotation marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless, the
court must review prisoner complaints pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Teague alleges that he had rheumatoid/inflammatory arthritis
that was being treated with mehotrexate and prednisone before
he entered the St. Joseph County Jail. During his meeting
with Dr. Chris Hall on August 15, 2015, he explained that he
was in pain and that his specialist was in the process of
adjusting his medication when he was arrested. Dr. Hall told
him that he was unqualified to adjust his medication, but
agreed to contact his specialist. Mr. Teague remained in pain
without further contact from Dr. Hall. In November 2015, Mr.
Teague was seen by Dr. James Tieman who also told him that he
was unqualified to adjust his medications and that his
specialist would not see him in jail. Nevertheless, Dr.
Tieman ordered that his medications be adjusted. On January
2, 2016, he made further adjustments to his medication. In
April 2016, Dr. Tieman reinstated medication he had
discontinued. Mr. Teague alleges that he remained in pain
throughout his stay at the jail and that neither doctor would
provide him with needed medical treatment nor refer him to a
doctor who would. “Under the Eighth Amendment, [a
prisoner] is not entitled to demand specific care. She is not
entitled to the best care possible.” Forbes v.
Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 267 (7th Cir.1997). A
“disagreement with medical professionals [does not]
state a cognizable Eighth Amendment Claim under the
deliberate indifference standard of Estelle v.
Gamble [429 U.S. 97 (1976)].” Ciarpaglini v.
Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 331 (7th Cir. 2003). “For a
medical professional to be liable for deliberate indifference
to an inmate's medical needs, he 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) (quotation
marks and citations omitted). “Whether and how pain
associated with medical treatment should be mitigated is for
doctors to decide free from judicial interference, except in
the most extreme situations.” Snipes v.
DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 1996). Mr. Teague
has stated a claim against both Dr. Hall and Dr. Tieman
because he has alleged that after explaining that they
weren't qualified to adjust his medications and treat his
pain they both refused to refer him to a doctor who was
qualified and Dr. Tieman adjusted his medication anyway.
Teague also makes several allegations about Head Nurse Lynn
H. that don't state a claim. He alleges that she
wouldn't give his medical records to his criminal defense
attorney without a signed release from Mr. Teague, payment,
and a request from the attorney. Those preconditions for the
release of his medical records didn't deny Mr. Teague
medical treatment or violate his constitutional rights. He
also alleges that he was charged for medical care. The
constitution doesn't require free medical care, Poole
v. Isaacs. 703 F.3d 1024, 1027 (7th Cir. 2012). Finally,
he alleges that he argued with Head Nurse Lynn H. about the
medication prescribed by the doctors and their refusal to see
him more frequently. “[P]ublic employees are
responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592,
596 (7th Cir. 2009). Head Nurse Lynn H. isn't alleged to
have prescribed his medication nor to have prevented him from
seeing the doctors. She isn't financially liable to him
just because he argued with her about his dissatisfaction
with the doctors' decisions.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS Dexter Ramone Teague leave to proceed against Dr.
Chris Hall and Dr. James Tieman in their individual
capacities for denying him adequate medical treatment for his
pain while he was housed in the St. Joseph County Jail from
August 2015 to June 2016 in violation of the Eighth
DISMISSES all other claims;
DISMISSES Lynn H.;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to
issue and serve process on Dr. Chris Hall and Dr. James
Tieman with a copy of this order and the amended complaint
(ECF 10) as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); and
ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), that Dr.
Chris Hall and Dr. James Tieman respond, as provided for in
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R.
10-1(b), only to the claims for which the ...