United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
JEFFERY P. JONES, Plaintiff,
RON NEAL et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. LEICHTY JUDGE
P. Jones, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a motion to
amend the complaint. Because Mr. Jones filed this motion
within twenty-one days after service of the answer, the court
grants this motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1)(B).
Nevertheless, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the 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).
amended complaint, Mr. Jones alleges that he attended chronic
care appointments at the medical department in the
maximum-security unit at the Indiana State Prison. For these
appointments, Jones was transported from the minimum-security
unit by van with his hands cuffed in front and his ankles
shackled. The floor of the van is two or three feet above
ground level, and officers assisted inmates with exiting the
van by providing a metal crate as a stepping stool. The metal
crate tended to shift on the pavement as inmates stepped on
it; but, as a general practice, the officers also assisted
inmates by holding onto their arms. On July 6, 2017, Officer
Murphy and Officer Martin did not assist Mr. Jones with
exiting the van and refused his requests for assistance. When
Mr. Jones attempted to exit the van on his own, he lost his
balance as the metal crate slipped, and he fell and sustained
injuries to his head, face, hands, wrists, and back.
to the amended complaint, on the same day, Mr. Jones
complained to Dr. Joseph Thompson about the pain caused by
the fall, and Dr. Thompson prescribed Tylenol, applied
bandages to his wounds, and ordered x-rays for the face.
Thereafter, Mr. Jones received regular care, including
changes of bandages and prescriptions for Naproxen and Mobic.
On July 20, 2017, spinal x-rays were ordered, which revealed
multilevel disc degeneration and lower lumbar facet
arthritis. Dr. Thompson refused to offer further treatment to
Mr. Jones, he says, or to send him to an outside specialist,
and Mr. Jones continues to suffer chronic headaches and sore
and stiff joints.
previous order, the court screened the initial complaint and
allowed Mr. Jones to proceed on an Eighth Amendment claim
against Officer Murphy and Officer Martin for acting with
deliberate indifference to a hazardous condition by allowing
him to fall as he exited a medical transport van on July 6,
2017. ECF 6. The court also allowed him to proceed on an
Eighth Amendment claim against Dr. Joseph Thompson for acting
with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by
failing to treat his chronic headaches and back arthritis.
Jones seeks to amend his complaint to add claims for money
damages against Warden Neal for maintaining an
unconstitutional policy or practice of providing a metal
crate for inmates exiting the medical transport van to use as
a stepping stool. He also seeks to add claims against Warden
Neal for maintaining unconstitutional policies or practices
in administering medication. To state a claim under the
Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference to a hazardous
condition of confinement, a prisoner must allege that a
defendant “deliberately ignored a prison condition that
presented an objectively, sufficiently serious risk of
harm.” Pyles v. Fahim, 771 F.3d 403, 409 (7th
Cir. 2014). To proceed on an Eighth Amendment claim regarding
medical care, 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).
Jones asserts claims against Warden Neal on the basis that he
is generally responsible for Mr. Jones' safety and
medical care and maintains unconstitutional practices or
policies at the Westville Correctional Facility. For
individual defendants, “liability depends on each
defendant's knowledge and actions, not on the knowledge
or actions of persons they supervise.” Burks v.
Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 594 (7th Cir. 2009).
Significantly, Mr. Jones does not describe how Warden Neal
was personally involved with administering his medication.
Additionally, the practice of providing a metal crate for
inmates to use as a stepping stool does not constitute
deliberate indifference, particularly when that practice also
includes correctional staff physically assisting inmates as
they exited the van. See Pyles v. Fahim, 771 F.3d
403, 409 (7th Cir. 2014) (“slippery surfaces and shower
floors in prisons, without more, cannot constitute a
hazardous condition of confinement”); McGowan v.
Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010) (“But
negligence, even gross negligence, does not violate the
Constitution.”). The court allowed Mr. Jones to proceed
against Officer Murphy and Officer Martin for refusing to
assist Mr. Jones with exiting the van, not for merely
allowing inmates to use a metal crate as a stepping stool.
Mr. Jones does not indicate that Warden Murphy was personally
involved in refusing to assist him on July 6, 2017.
Therefore, he cannot proceed against Warden Neal on a claim
for money damages.
Jones also seeks to add claims against Corizon for
unconstitutional policies or practices in administering
medication. Corporate entities “[may] not be held
liable under § 1983 on a respondeat superior
theory.” Calhoun v. Ramsey, 408 F.3d 375, 379
(7th Cir. 2005). Rather, liability exists only “when
execution of a [corporation's] policy or custom . . .
inflicts the injury.” Id. Corporate entities
can be held liable for “an express policy that, when
enforced, causes a constitutional deprivation.”
Id. Absent an unconstitutional policy, corporate
liability may be established with a showing of “a
widespread practice that, although not authorized by written
law or express [corporate] policy, is so permanent and well
settled as to constitute a custom or usage with the force of
law.” McTigue v. City of Chicago, 60 F.3d 381,
382 (7th Cir. 1995). The policy or custom must be the
“moving force behind the deprivation of his
constitutional rights.” Johnson v. Cook Cty.,
526 Fed.Appx. 692, 695 (7th Cir. 2013).
Mr. Jones alleges that Corizon maintained a policy or
practice of allowing medical staff to administer medication
only at 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. regardless of how it was
prescribed. He alleges that Corizon maintained a policy or
practice of dissolving medication in a cup, which caused some
of the medication to stick to the bottom of the cup and
negated the time-release effect of certain medications. The
consequence of these policies was that Mr. Jones suffered
more pain because he was not receiving his medication at the
frequency and dosage prescribed by medical staff. These
allegations state a plausible Eighth Amendment claim of
deliberate indifference against Corizon.
Jones further alleges that Corizon maintained a policy or
practice of allowing correctional staff without extensive
medical training to administer insulin shots to inmates.
However, it is not clear how this amounts to a substantial
risk to Mr. Jones' safety, given that administering
insulin shots does not require extensive medical training,
and they are frequently self-administered. See e.g.,
(last visited Sept. 19, 2019); Drugs.com,
(last visited Sept. 19., 2019). Therefore, he may not proceed
on this allegation.
Mr. Jones seeks to add claims for injunctive relief in
connection with his fall on July 6, 2017, and his medical
care. For prisoner cases, the court has limited authority to
order injunctive relief. Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d
679 (7th Cir. 2012). Specifically, “the remedial
injunctive relief must be narrowly drawn, extend no further
than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right,
and use the least intrusive means necessary to correct the
violation of the Federal right.” Id. Mr. Jones
may not proceed on an injunctive relief claim in connection
with the fall because the amended complaint contains nothing
to suggest that correctional staff's refusal to assist
him is likely to reoccur. He may proceed on claims for
injunctive relief with respect to treatment for his chronic
headaches and back arthritis and for medication
administration, though any such relief will be limited to
ensuring that Mr. Jones receives the medical treatment to
which he is entitled under the Eighth Amendment. Ron Neal, as
the Warden of the Indiana State Prison, has both the
authority and the responsibility to ensure that Mr. Jones
receives the medical treatment to which he is entitled under
the Eighth Amendment. See Gonzalez v. Feinerman, 663
F.3d 311, 315 (7th Cir. 2011). Therefore, Mr. Jones may
proceed on an injunctive relief claim for his medical care
against Warden Neal in his official capacity.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS the motion to amend (ECF 14);
GRANTS Jeffery P. Jones leave to proceed on his Eighth
Amendment claim against Officer Murphy and Officer Martin for
acting with deliberate indifference to a hazardous condition