United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Derrell Robertson, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a
complaint. 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, I 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
complaint, Robertson alleges that, on April 20, 2018, he
transferred to the Westville Control Unit after attempting
suicide at the New Castle Correctional Facility. On April 27,
during an intake evaluation, Robertson told Dr. Durak that he
stopped speaking with his physician at the New Castle
Correctional Facility because she refused to send him to the
hospital after he attempted to commit suicide. However, Dr.
Durak never told Dr. Wala, the psychologist for the Westville
Control Unit, that Robertson should be hospitalized. Dr.
Durak's examination also caused Robertson to be placed in
segregation and deprived Robertson of accommodations for his
16, 2018, Robertson complained of constant suicidal thoughts
and hearing voices that told him to harm himself and others.
He attributed these symptoms to his restrictive housing
conditions. On May 17, Therapist Boren placed Robertson on
constant observation, stating that Robertson reported
symptoms but refused to discuss them and that Robertson
notified the medical unit in writing of his intent to abstain
from mental health services. On May 22, Robertson complained
of constant anxiety attacks, depression, and frequent
episodes of psychosis. However, Therapist Boren never
provided any treatment.
Wala has examined Robertson on multiple occasions, and,
during each examination, Robertson informs Dr. Wala that his
restrictive housing conditions cause constant anxiety attacks
and suicidal thoughts. In response, Dr. Wala explains that
Robertson does not satisfy the criteria to be classified as
seriously mentally ill. Despite reporting these symptoms,
Robertson remains in segregation and has not received
accommodations for his mental condition.
alleges a claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs against Dr. Durak, Dr. Wala, and Therapist Boren. 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 does not establish deliberate
indifference, nor does negligence or even medical
malpractice. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011). Robertson states a plausible claim of
deliberate indifference against Dr. Durak, Dr. Wala, and
these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS Jerome Derrell Robertson leave to proceed against
Dr. Durak, Dr. Wala, and Therapist Boren for money damages
for denying him adequate medical treatment for his mental
condition in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
(2) DISMISSES all other claims;
(3) DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Services
to issue and serve process on Dr. Durak, Dr. Wala, and
Therapist Boren 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
(4) ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), Dr.
Durak, Dr. Wala, and Therapist Boren respond, as provided by
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L. R.
10.1, only to the claims for Jerome Derrell ...