Grothjan v. Corizon Medical Services
OPINION AND ORDER re 14 Amended Complaint; the court GRANTS Jason Grothjan leave to proceed against Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman intheir individual capacities for compensatory and punitive damages for denying him adequatemental health treatment in v iolation of the Eighth Amendment; GRANTS Jason Grothjan leave to proceed against Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman intheir official capacities for injunctive relief to obtain adequate mental health treatment; DISMISSES all other claims; DIRECTS the clerk an d the United States Marshals Service, to issue and serve process, along with a copy of the amended complaint, the motion and memorandum and this order, on Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman; ORDERS, that Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman respond, onlyto the claims for which the plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in this screening order; and GRANTS the motion (DE 23) only to the extent that Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman are ORDERED to file and serve the affidavits (or declarations) described in this order by May 8, 2017. Signed by Judge Joseph S Van Bokkelen on 4/11/2017. (Copy mailed as directed in Order)
United States District Court
Northern District of Indiana
CORIZON MEDICAL SERVICES,
Civil Action No. 3:17-CV-083 JVB
OPINION AND ORDER
Jason Grothjan, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended complaint against two doctors at the
Westville Correctional Facility. ECF 14. He also moves for a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) seeking to be removed from segregation and a preliminary injunction requiring the two
doctors to provide him with adequate mental health treatment. ECF 23.
Screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
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 upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Courts
apply the same standard under Section 1915A as when deciding a motion under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive
dismissal, a complaint must state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Bissessur v.
Indiana Univ. Bd. of Trs., 581 F.3d 599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009). “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.” Id. at 603. In deciding whether the
complaint states a claim, the court must bear in mind that “[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,
Here, Grothjan states that he was diagnosed as having Paranoid Schizophrenia, Bipolar
Disorder, Insomnia and a panic disorder in 1997 and has been treated for those conditions until
he arrived into the IDOC. After entering the IDOC, Grothjan claims to have informed Dr. Taylor
and Dr. Eichman of his medical problems and needs. He also asserts that these doctors were in
possession of his past medical records establishing his mental health issues and needs.
Nevertheless, he complains that both doctors have ignored his mental health problems and refuse
to provide him with any treatment. He is seeking both compensatory damages and injunctive
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 subjecting 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, 414 F.3d at 654-55. Furthermore, a delay in providing treatment can
constitute deliberate indifference when it causes unnecessary pain. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d
742, 752-53 (7th Cir. 2011); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th Cir. 2008).
Here, Grothjan sues both Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman. Grothjan alleges that these doctors
are aware of his mental health condition, but nevertheless refuse to provide him with any mental
health treatment. In addition, Grothjan alleges that these doctors refuse to provide him with the
prescription medications he received prior to being incarcerated. On these facts, Grothjan may
demonstrate that both doctors are deliberately different to his serious medical needs. Although
further factual development may show that the doctors were justified in their actions, it is too
early to tell at this point. Giving him the inferences to which he is entitled at the pleading stage,
Grothjan has alleged enough to proceed on an Eighth Amendment claim against Dr. Taylor and
Grothjan is also asking for a TRO to be removed from segregation and preliminary
injunction to receive adequate mental health care. “[A] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary
and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries
the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). To obtain
preliminary injunctive relief, the moving party must demonstrate that he or she has a reasonable
likelihood of success on the merits, lacks an adequate remedy at law, and will suffer irreparable
harm if immediate relief is not granted. Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc. v. Girl Scouts of
U.S., Inc., 549 F.3d 1079, 1086 (7th Cir. 2008). Obtaining a TRO requires the movant to satisfy
an even higher standard, by showing “that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will
result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition.” FED. R. CIV. P.
Upon review, Grothjan does not satisfy the standard for obtaining a TRO to be
transferred out of segregation.
The PLRA circumscribes the scope of the court’s authority to enter an injunction
in the corrections context. Where prison conditions are found to violate federal
rights, 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. This section of the
PLRA enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme Court in cases
challenging prison conditions: Prison officials have broad administrative and
discretionary authority over the institutions they manage.
Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679 (7th Cir. 2012) (quotation marks, brackets, and citations
omitted). The request made by Grothjan to be removed from segregation goes well beyond what
the PLRA permits. Moreover, it is not plausible to conclude that either medical defendant has the
authority to remove Grothjan from segregation.
His request for preliminary injunction requesting mental health treatment is another
matter. Grothjan alleges that Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman refuse to treat his mental illness.
According to Grothjan, they refuse to see him, refuse to treat him and refuse to give him his
prescribed medications. Despite these allegations, it is not entirely clear what treatment, if any,
Grothjan is getting (or being denied) at the Westville Correctional Facility. Therefore injunctive
relief will be narrowly tailored to require the defendants to promptly provide additional
information and respond to Grothjan’s allegations. The court needs to know about Grothjan’s
current mental condition. The court also needs to know what mental treatment Grothjan has
received from June 16, 2016 to date. This information needs to be provided as a narrative
summary in an affidavit (or declaration). The court does not need medical records at this time.
The summary needs to include specific information about each diagnosis that was made,
treatment prescribed, and treatment delivered. Additionally, these affiants (or declarants) may
include any additional, relevant information necessary for the court to consider.
For these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS Jason Grothjan leave to proceed against Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman in
their individual capacities for compensatory and punitive damages for denying him adequate
mental health treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
(2) GRANTS Jason Grothjan leave to proceed against Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman in
their official capacities for injunctive relief to obtain adequate mental health treatment;
(3) DISMISSES all other claims;
(4) DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(d), to issue and serve process, along with a copy of the amended complaint (ECF 14), the
motion and memorandum (ECF 23, 24), and this order, on Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman;
(5) ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), that Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman
respond, as provided for in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 10-1(b), only
to the claims for which the plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in this screening order;
(6) GRANTS the motion (DE 23) only to the extent that Dr. Taylor and Dr. Eichman are
ORDERED to file and serve the affidavits (or declarations) described in this order by May 8,
SO ORDERED on April 11, 2017.
s/ Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
United States District Judge
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