United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Corbin, a prisoner of the State of Indiana, suffers from
mental disabilities, including depression, post traumatic
stress disorder, and severe anxiety. While incarcerated at
the Westville Correctional Facility, Corbin attempted
suicide. He claims that the defendants knew of the
seriousness of his mental condition and failed to provide
basic psychological care and services, resulting in his
suicide attempt. He brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and federal disabilities laws. The defendants Corizon
Health, Inc. and the State of Indiana have moved for judgment
on the pleadings. The parties have since stipulated to the
dismissal of some claims against Corizon. However, the State
of Indiana's motion seeking judgment on the pleadings for
Corbin's claims based on federal disabilities laws
remains ripe. For the reasons that follow, the State's
motion will be denied.
these facts, which I accept as true, from Corbin's
complaint, though as it will become clear, the facts are not
so fulsome. In 2004, Corbin was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment. [DE 3 at 3 ¶6.] I don't know for how
long or for what. Corbin was transferred to the Westville
Correctional Facility in January 2012. [Id. at 3
¶7.] Westville is a prison operated by the defendant
State of Indiana. [Id. at 2 ¶3.] The State has
contracted with Corizon Health, Inc. to provide mental health
services to prisoners like Corbin while housed at Westville.
[Id. at 2 ¶4.] Corbin was housed in solitary
confinement for more than two years while at Westville.
[Id. at 3 ¶8.] There is no information in the
complaint as to why Corbin was placed in solitary
alleges that, while housed in solitary confinement, he did
not receive basic psychological care and services. The State
also refused to transfer him to a non-segregated housing
unit. According to Corbin, the State knew of his mental
disabilities, which include serious depression, post
traumatic stress disorder, and severe anxiety, and also knew
that if Corbin was segregated and denied mental health
services, his condition would further deteriorate.
[Id. at 3 ¶¶9-11.]
2014, Corbin made repeated requests to Dr. Cara Misetic, who
appears to be a doctor with Corizon (though there is little
information about her in Corbin's complaint) to be
transferred to a prison unit where he could receive services
for his mental disabilities. In late August or early
September 2014, Corbin was placed on suicide watch for
several days. It is not clear from the complaint what
prompted this. Even during the suicide watch period, Corbin
received “no or few mental health services.”
[Id. at 4 ¶¶12-13.]
about September 15, 2014, Corbin attempted suicide by cutting
his wrists and hanging himself. The complaint doesn't say
this, but it appears that he survived this attempt, since he
is bringing this action. At the time of his attempted
suicide, a request to transfer Corbin to a different prison
unit where he could receive mental health services was
pending before Corizon and Dr. Misetic. [Id. at
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), “[a]fter the
pleadings are closed - but early enough not to delay trial -
a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A suit is properly dismissed on a Rule
12(c) motion when a plaintiff's allegations “show
that there is an airtight defense” for which he
“has pleaded himself out of court.” Richard
v. Mitcheff, 696 F.3d 635, 637-38 (7th Cir. 2012).
“A court will grant a Rule 12(c) motion only when it
appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove any
facts to support a claim for relief and the moving party
demonstrates that there are no material issues of fact to be
resolved.” Brunt v. Serv. Emp. Int'l
Union, 284 F.3d 715, 718-19 (7th Cir. 2002).
12(c) motion is governed by the same standards as a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6).
Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 727-28
(7th Cir. 2014). In order to survive a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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). Although I draw all reasonable inferences and facts
in favor of the nonmovant, I need not accept as true any
legal assertions. Vesely v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d
661, 664-65 (7th Cir.2014).
State of Indiana has moved for judgment on the pleadings on
the basis that Corbin has failed to identify any service,
activity, or program to which he was excluded, and he has not
sufficiently alleged a causal connection between the
discrimination and his attempted suicide. “In order to
make out a prima facie case of discrimination under both the
ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, a plaintiff must show: (1)
that he suffers from a disability as defined in the statutes,
(2) that he is qualified to participate in the program in
question, and (3) that he was either excluded from
participating in or denied the benefit of that program based
on his disability.” Novak v. Bd. of Trustees of S.
Ill. Univ., 777 F.3d 966, 974 (7th Cir. 2015). The
Rehabilitation Act also requires that the program received
federal financial assistance. Id.
State argues that Corbin failed to sufficiently allege that
Corbin was excluded from some service, activity, or program
“based on his disability.” According to the
State, denying a prisoner medical treatment does not suffice
for purposes of the federal disabilities acts because it is
not a “service, program, or activity” within the
meaning of the ADA or Rehabilitation Act. The State also
challenges causation on two grounds, arguing that it makes no
sense to say that Corbin was denied mental health services
because he was mentally ill, and that even if it did,
Corbin's assertion that he was denied services
“because of his disability” is simply a legal
conclusion that I'm not required to accept as true. In
addition, the State claims that Corbin must prove intentional
discrimination in order to receive compensatory damages,
which he has not done here.
first question I must answer is whether medical treatment is
a “service, program, or activity” within the
meaning of the ADA or Rehabilitation Act. “[A] prison
official does not violate the ADA when failing ‘to
attend to the medical needs of ... disabled prisoners.”
Resel v. Fox, 26 Fed.Appx. 572, 577 (7th Cir. Dec.
20, 2001) (quoting Bryant v. Madigan, 84 F.3d 246,
249 (7th Cir. 1996)). A claim for inadequate medical
treatment is improper under the ADA. Id. Rather, the
proper avenue for seeking relief for inadequate medical
treatment is through an Eighth Amendment claim. Perrey v.
Donahue, 2007 WL 4277621, at *4 (N.D. Ind. Dec. 3,
2007). Likewise, the Rehabilitation Act “was not
intended to require prison officials to provide medical
treatment to prisoners with serious medical needs, ”
but rather to increase employment of the handicapped.
other hand, medical services are among those “services,
programs, or activities” that are covered by the ADA.
See United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 151, 157
(2006). Some courts have allowed plaintiffs to proceed on an
ADA claim when they were deprived of access to medical
services that were available to other inmates. See Estate
of Crandall v. Godinez, 2015 WL 1539017, at *6 (C.D.
Ill. Mar. 31, 2015) (citing Kiman v. New Hampshire
Dep't of Corr., 451 F.3d 274, 286087 (1st Cir.