United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
DEGUILIO JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Ray Moberly, a prisoner without a lawyer, is an inmate at the
Westville Correctional Facility (Westville). He has filed a
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Wexford Medical
and two physicians. (ECF 1.) “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). Nevertheless,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review the
merits of a prisoner complaint.
alleges that, on September 24, 2017, his medication for pain
and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was discontinued
after a Westville correctional officer reported that Moberly
misused his medication. Moberly attempted to talk to Dr. Liau
and Dr. Eichman, but they ignored Moberly and told him that
he needed to wait until his 90-day appointment at the chronic
care clinic. As a result of not having his prescription
medication, Moberly has experienced withdrawal symptoms,
including the inability to sleep, pain, and mental distress.
Moberly seeks injunctive relief in the form of medication for
pain and PTSD, and money damages.
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 subjective 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). Deliberate
indifference means 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).
medical professional to be held liable for deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need, 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). A mere
disagreement with medical professionals about the appropriate
course of treatment does not establish deliberate
indifference, nor does negligence or even medical
malpractice. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011).
light on details, the complaint suggests that Dr. Liau and
Dr. Eichman knew that Moberly needed medication for pain and
PTSD but refused to provide it to him. While Dr. Liau and Dr.
Eichman may be able to show that they were justified in not
providing Moberly with medication, Moberly adequately states
an Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference against
is also suing Wexford Medical. Because there is no
respondeat superior liability under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, Wexford Medical cannot be held liable simply because it
provides medical care at the prison or because it employs Dr.
Liau and Dr. Eichman. See Burks v. Raemisch, 555
F.3d 592, 595 (7th Cir. 2009). Moberly offers no other
details about Wexford Medical's involvement with his
claim. Accordingly, Wexford Medical is dismissed.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS Donald Ray Moberly leave to proceed
on a claim against Dr. Liau and Dr. Eichman in their
individual capacities for money damages for denying him
medication in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
GRANTS Donald Ray Moberly leave to proceed
against Dr. Liau and Dr. Eichman on an injunctive relief
claim to obtain medication, as required by the Eighth
DISMISSES all other claims;
DISMISSES Wexford Medical;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States
Marshals Service to issue and serve process on Dr. Liau and
Dr. Eichman at the Indiana Department of Correction with a
copy of this order and the complaint (ECF 1) as required by
28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); and
ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(g)(2), that Dr. Liau and Dr. Eichman respond, as
provided for in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D.
Ind. L.R. 10.1, only to the claim for which Donald Ray