United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
WAYNE T. CRAIGO, Plaintiff,
ELKHART CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
T. Craigo, a prisoner without a lawyer, has filed a motion to
amend the complaint. Because the court has already granted
Mr. Craigo leave to amend (ECF 10), this motion is granted.
Nevertheless, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this court must
review the complaint and dismiss it if the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. “In order to state a claim under [42 U.S.C.]
§ 1983 a plaintiff must allege: (1) that defendants
deprived him of a federal constitutional right; and (2) that
the defendants acted under color of state law.”
Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006).
Craigo alleges that, on March 18, 2016, he was involved in a
highspeed chase with the Elkhart city police. When he stopped
his vehicle, he complied with the police officers'
instructions and told them he had a spinal condition.
Nevertheless, once Mr. Craigo got out of the vehicle, police
officers slammed him into a vehicle and threw him to the
ground, producing pain and numbness in his back and legs. He
wasn't given the appropriate pain medication throughout
his eighteen-month stay at the Elkhart County Jail despite
authorizing the jail staff to access to his medical records.
Mr. Craigo seeks money damages and an order for appropriate
initial matter, Mr. Craigo can't get injunctive relief in
this case because he's not in the custody or under the
care of the defendants; he's currently incarcerated at
the New Castle Correctional Facility. See Higgason v.
Farley, 83 F.3d 807, 811 (7th Cir. 1996) (“If a
prisoner is transferred to another prison, his request for
injunctive relief against officials of the first prison is
moot unless he can demonstrate that he is likely to be
Craigo asserts claims against several of the defendants for
things that happened more than two years before the date he
submitted the amended complaint on April 24, 2018. He says
the conduct attributed to the John Doe Police Officers and
the Jane Doe Nurse -- the arrest and the medical treatment at
intake -- occurred between March 18, 2016, and March 27,
2016. The applicable statute of limitations is two years,
See Behavioral Inst. of Ind., LLC v. Hobart City of
Common Council, 406 F.3d 926, 929 (7th Cir. 2005), and
the relation back rules set forth in Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c)
don't apply to these defendants. See Delgado-Brunet
v. Clark, 93 F.3d 339, 344 (7th Cir. 1996) (“Rule
15(c) . . . does not permit relation back where, as here,
there is a lack of knowledge of the proper party”).
Therefore, the claims against the John Doe Police Defendants
and the Jane Doe Nurse must be dismissed.
Craigo also names the Elkhart City Police Department and the
Elkhart mayor as defendants. The Elkhart City Police
Department has no separate legal existence from the City of
Elkhart, so the police department is not a suable entity.
See Fain v. Wayne Cty. Auditor's Office, 388
F.3d 257, 261 (7th Cir. 2004); Argandona v. Lake Cty.
Sheriff's Dep't, 2007 WL 518799, at *3 (N.D.
Ind. 2007); Elkhart Ordinance § 31.001, available at
http://www.amlegal.com/codes/client/elkhartin/. Although the
Elkhart mayor is named as a defendant in the caption, there
is no mention of him in the rest of the amended complaint.
Therefore, the Elkhart City Police Department and the Elkhart
Mayor are dismissed.
Craigo asserts claims of deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs against Dr. Foster, Nurse Beth, and Nurse
Jessica. He alleges that these defendants are liable for the
failure to prescribe the proper pain medications and dosages.
Under 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 doesn't establish deliberate
indifference, nor does negligence or even medical
malpractice. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011).
Craigo alleges that Nurse Beth and Nurse Jessica's role
is to respond to the medical requests of prisoners before
they are seen by a doctor. ECF 16-1 at 3. Considering the
limited role and title of these defendants, it is implausible
to infer that had the authority required to prescribe
medications or to increase dosages, and Mr. Craigo offers no
other allegations to describe how they personally violated
his right to adequate medical care. Mr. Craigo may proceed on
a deliberate indifference claim against Dr. Foster.
Craigo also asserts a claim of deliberate indifference for
his serious medical needs against the Elkhart County
Sheriff's Department and Correct Care Solutions. He
alleges that they maintained a policy of not carrying or
providing Neurontin, which Mr. Craigo had been prescribed for
at least six years before his incarceration. To pursue a
claim under Section 1983 against a municipal or corporate
entity, a plaintiff must show that his injury was the result
of that entity's official policy, practice, or custom.
Rice ex rel. Rice v. Corr. Med. Servs., 675 F.3d
650, 675 (7th Cir. 2012). Mr. Craigo states a plausible claim
of deliberate indifference against these defendants.
these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS the motion to amend the complaint (ECF 16);
(2) DIRECTS the clerk to file the amended complaint (ECF
(3) GRANTS Wayne T. Craigo leave to proceed on a claim of
deliberate indifference against Dr. Foster in his individual
capacity for money damages for failing to prescribe adequate