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7th Circuit Affirms Finding of No Deliberate Indifference in 1983 Case

Shane Holloway was arrested without a warrant in 2009 and confined to the Delaware County Jail, where he was denied his pre-detention medication, and was prescribed non-narcotic pain medication by prison medical staff instead. Holloway was released from jail after nine days, and was admitted to a hospital, where he resumed his regimen of narcotic medication, including Oxycontin, for relief of chronic pain.

In August of 2010, Holloway filed his 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 action against the jail physician and his attending nurses, alleging that they had “violated his constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference as to his serious medical condition,” and against the Delaware County Sheriff, “by detaining him without charges for nine days...”according to the opinion.

The 7th Circuit first reviewed the claims against the Sheriff. The district court had held that Holloway did not suffer a constitutional deprivation “because he has a probable cause determination within twenty-four hours of his arrest, he had an initial hearing via video conference within three days of his arrest, and the Sheriff released him within seventy-two hours of his initial hearing,” when the prosecutor failed to file charges.
The plaintiff was not able to put forth evidence to establish that the defendant intentionally or recklessly deprived him of a constitutional right, Armstrong v. Squadrito, 152 F.3d 564, 570 (7th Cir. 1998), or that there was “an executive abuse of power (that) shocks the conscience.” Id.

As to the allegation against the prison medical staff, the district court dismissal of that claim was also affirmed, the court noting, “There is no evidence that (the medical staff) intended to cause Holloway pain or that he knew the Ibuprofen and Extra Strength Tylenol would be insufficient to alleviate Holloway’s symptoms.” To demonstrate that “a defendant acted with a ‘sufficiently culpable state of mind,’ a plaintiff must put forth evidence to establish that the defendant knew of a serious risk to the prisoner’s health and consciously disregard that risk.” Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1010 (7th Cir. 2006).

Given the facts as presented in plaintiff’s complaint, the court held that none of the medical staff acted with deliberate indifference as to Holloway, and affirmed the district court judgment. See: Holloway v. Delaware County Sheriff, et al., 700 F.3d 1063 (7th. Cir. 2012).

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Related legal case

Holloway v. Delaware County Sheriff