United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
SAMUEL L. MARTIN-SHIVELY, Plaintiff,
WESTVILLE CORRECTIONS FACILITY, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE
L. Martin-Shively, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed an
amended complaint alleging that the defendants have provided
him with constitutionally inadequate medical treatment for
his back pain. The court must review the merits of a prisoner
complaint and dismiss it if the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. A filing by
an unrepresented party “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) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
December 18, 2017, Mr. Martin-Shively had a back surgery in
which screws and hardware were utilized. That surgery failed,
and the hardware became loose, causing him significant pain.
A surgeon recommended that he have another surgery to correct
the issue, but that surgery wasn't performed before Mr.
Martin-Shively arrived at the Regional Diagnostic Center in
June 2019. He brought medical records compiled by his
attorney with him to alert the RDC to his serious medical
problems and need for ongoing treatment, including surgery.
RDC staff indicated that they wouldn't be going through
all his medical records, but the records would be sent to the
facility where he was assigned upon leaving the RDC.
July, Mr. Martin-Shively was transferred to the Westville
Correctional Facility. Staff at Westville indicated that the
records weren't received from the RDC. Furthermore, the
medical history provided to Westville didn't even
reference Mr. Martin-Shively's back pain. Mr.
Martin-Shively told Westville staff about his back pain
several requests, Mr. Martin-Shively spoke with LPN Ms.
Hutchinson, who was described as his medical
advocate. He told her about his pain. He also told
her that, before his incarceration, he spent most of his time
in a wheelchair, had a life alert button for emergencies, and
had a caregiver to assist him. He told Ms. Hutchinson that
the second surgery was necessary to reduce his pain. Ms.
Hutchinson indicated that the IDOC doesn't allow inmates
to receive back surgery while incarcerated. He asked Ms.
Hutchinson if he could have a second mattress or a thicker
mattress, but she said that she had nothing to do with that
decision. She provided Mr. Martin-Shively with a back brace,
which he used, but it did not help him. Ms. Hutchinson
didn't have his medical records even though he had
previously signed a medical release form. Ms. Hutchinson
indicated that she didn't have the release form that he
signed either, but she would send him another one to sign.
Instead of sending him a medical release form that would
allow Westville to obtain relevant medical records, Ms.
Hutchinson sent him a form titled as a “Refusal and
Release from Responsibility for Medical, Surgical,
Psychiatric, and Other Treatment.” (ECF 5-1 at 1.)
September, Mr. Martin-Shively submitted a request for health
care, indicating that his back pain was getting worse. He
also indicated that he needed surgery, medication, work that
didn't hurt his back, and to see a doctor. (ECF 5-1 at
13.) The response makes reference to the December 2017,
surgery, and indicated that “Dr. Liaw has your
September 24, 2019, Mr. Martin-Shively lifted some heavy
cabinets while at work and further aggravated his back pain.
The next day, he could hardly walk. The officer on Mr.
Martin-Shively's dorm called the medical department, but
they wouldn't see him and instead instructed him to fill
out a health care request form. He submitted a second health
care request form. (ECF 5-1 at 12.) The copy submitted to the
court is partially indecipherable, but in it, Mr.
Martin-Shively expresses frustration at being charged for
sick call visits. The response indicates that Mr.
Martin-Shively was seen for sick call on September 17, 2019,
and that “[a]ll nurse visits are charged refer to
his pain and health care request, Captain Gary Lewis told Mr.
Martin-Shively's dorm staff to send him to work. Once
there, he was told to get to work or he would be written up,
fired, and placed in segregation. Mr. Martin- Shively worked
despite his pain. After return to his dorm, he filled out
another health care request form. (ECF 5-1 at 11.) The form
is difficult to read, but the response suggests that he was
provided with a pass for a medical visit on September 28.
September 26, Mr. Martin-Shively started his day by going to
the law library, but when he returned, he was told he needed
to go to work. He said he was in too much pain and
couldn't go. Captain Lewis came to his dorm to get him.
Mr. Martin-Shively told Captain Lewis that he couldn't
work because he was in way too much pain. Captain Lewis told
him again that he would be written up if he didn't work.
Mr. Martin-Shively went to his work site with Captain Lewis.
Captain Lewis, knowing he was in severe pain, did not take
the most direct route to the work site. He instead walked
with Mr. Martin-Shivley to a more distant location to get
tools before going to the work site. When Mr. Martin-Shivley
reached the work site, he refused to work because of his
pain. Captain Lewis took no action to ensure that Mr.
Martin-Shively received medical care. While Mr.
Martin-Shively didn't work, he sat at his work site until
released at 2:00 p.m. Each day since September 26, Mr.
Martin-Shively has attended work and sat without working. Mr.
Martin-Shively doesn't indicate that he was written up,
fired, or placed in segregation as a result of his work
Martin-Shively still hasn't seen a doctor for his back
pain. In addition to submitting health care request forms,
Mr. Martin-Shively has written Warden Galipeau about his need
for medical treatment. Mr. Martin-Shively hasn't received
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). On the
subjective prong, the plaintiff must establish 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). For a
medical professional to be held liable for deliberate
indifference to an inmate's medical needs, 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). Although the Eighth Amendment does not entitle an
inmate to a specific form of treatment, prison medical staff
cannot simply continue with a course of treatment that is
known to be ineffective. Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d
at 654-655. A delay in providing treatment can constitute
deliberate indifference when it causes unnecessary pain.
Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 752-753 (7th Cir.
2011); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th
Martin-Shively's complaint indicates that he is suing
three defendants, but he lists five defendants: Westville
Correctional Facility, Warden Galipeau, Westville Medical
Staff, Ms. Hutchinson, and Captain Gary Lewis. Mr.
Martin-Shively can't proceed against the Westville
Correctional Facility because it's a building, not a
suable entity. Smith v. Knox County Jail, 666 F.3d
1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012). He can't proceed against the
Westville Medical Staff without specifying particular
individuals because that would be the same as including an
unnamed defendant. “[I]t is pointless to include lists
of anonymous defendants in federal court; this type of
placeholder does not open the door to relation back under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, nor can it otherwise help the
plaintiff.” Wudtke v. Davel, 128 F.3d 1057,
1060 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). Giving Mr.
Martin-Shively the inferences to which he is entitled at this
stage of the case, he has alleged facts that permit an
inference that both Ms. Hutchinson and Captain Lewis were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He may
proceed against them in their individual capacity for
Martin-Shively doesn't allege that Warden Galipeau was
personally involved in denying him medical care. Mr.
Martin-Shively alleges only that he wrote to Warden Galipeau
and received no response. Section 1983 “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). “[P]ublic employees are responsible for their
own misdeeds but not for anyone else's.”
Id. at 596. The doctrine of respondeat
superior, which allows an employer to be held liable for
subordinates' actions in some types of cases, has no
application to § 1983 actions. Moore v. State of
Indiana, 999 F.2d 1125, 1129 (7th Cir. 1993). Because
Mr. Martin-Shively hasn't alleged that Warden Galipeau
was involved in the decision to deny him medical treatment
for his back pain, Mr. Martin-Shively can't proceed
against Warden Galipeau in his individual capacity for
monetary damages. He may, however, proceed against ...