Giles v. Godinez, 15-3077

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtManion, Circuit Judge.
Citation914 F.3d 1040
Parties Bruce GILES, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Salvador A. GODINEZ, Acting Director, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 15-3077,15-3077
Decision Date29 January 2019

Nathan D. Imfeld, Attorney, Thomas L. Shriner, Jr., Attorney, Scott T. Allen, Attorney, FOLEY & LARDNER LLP, Milwaukee, WI, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Linda Boachie-Ansah, Attorney, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Civil Appeals Division, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before Flaum, Manion, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.

Manion, Circuit Judge.

Bruce Giles is a prisoner in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (the "Department") who suffers from schizoaffective disorder

. Giles filed this action pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several Department officials. He alleges the defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, subjecting him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and failing to protect him from other inmates. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants and Giles now appeals. The district court’s conclusion was based largely on its holding that Giles could not establish the subjective elements of his claims because the defendants, who are all non-medical officials, appropriately relied on the judgment of medical professionals. Because we agree Giles cannot establish the defendants possessed a sufficiently culpable state of mind, we affirm.

I. Background
A. Factual Background

At all times relevant to this appeal, Giles was in the custody of the Department and housed in five different correctional facilities: Dixon Correctional Center ("Dixon"), Illinois River Correctional Center ("Illinois River"), Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"), Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac"), and Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). He suffers from schizoaffective disorder

. His symptoms include anxiety, depression, auditory hallucinations, and suicidal ideation. He attempted suicide at least three times while in the Department’s custody. He has at various times been prescribed psychotropic medications that help him cope with these symptoms but do not eliminate them entirely.

Giles’s claims arise out of the medical treatment he received and the conditions of his confinement at multiple correctional facilities over a two-year period. Most of his complaints relate specifically to his placement in segregation.1 The following timeline of events is compiled from Giles’s allegations, his medical records, and his deposition testimony.

From late June 2010 until September 2010, Giles was housed at Dixon, where he alleges he had daily access to mental health professionals and the opportunity to participate in therapeutic programs.2 On September 22, 2010, Giles was transferred from Dixon to Illinois River. According to the health status transfer summary prepared by an official at Dixon at the time of Giles’s transfer, Giles’s prescription for psychotropic medications (Prozac

and Depakote ) had been discontinued on July 23, 2010, about two months before he left Dixon.

Giles was examined by a nurse at Illinois River on October 3, 2010, at which point he requested to see a psychologist because he wanted to get back on his medications. The nurse noted he was "upset that [he] cannot see psych today." Three days later, on October 6, Giles was transferred to Stateville due to an unrelated legal proceeding. On October 9, while Giles was at Stateville, a psychiatrist again prescribed Prozac

and Depakote, less than a week after he requested the return to medication.

Giles was sent back to Illinois River on November 10, 2010. This time, his transfer summary failed to include the fact that he was receiving psychotropic medications, resulting in a lapse of medication. Giles was examined by a mental health counselor on November 22 and then by a psychiatrist on November 25. The psychiatrist again prescribed Prozac

and Depakote and requested Giles’s medical records from Stateville. Giles was examined by a medical health counselor on December 8. On December 12, a psychiatrist reviewed Giles’s medical records from Stateville and noticed Giles had received Prolixin while there and his symptoms had improved, so Giles was placed back on Prolixin.

Giles was examined by a mental health counselor on ten different occasions from December 2010 until April 2011. He was also examined by a psychiatrist and attended group therapy sessions multiple times in January until he stopped showing up for the sessions in February.

Giles complained to a mental health counselor in March 2011 that he was not doing well and that he had not received his Prolixin

medication for two days. The counselor wrote in his report that he addressed the medication issue with the prison pharmacy. Around this time, Giles had an altercation with another inmate at Illinois River. According to Giles’s deposition testimony, the incident occurred when he was talking to himself and another inmate approached him, told him to shut up, and spit in his face. Giles pushed the inmate away. He claims the reason he was talking to himself was because he had not received his Prolixin medication, which helps control the voices in his head.

Because of the altercation, Giles was placed in segregation. According to Giles, while in segregation "you’re just thrown in a cell all day with other inmates that are violent, that don’t care about you." He claims he was subjected to violence from other inmates in segregation but that he never reported this to prison officials. He testified inmates in segregation were given yard time, but that he sometimes chose not to go because he did not feel safe in the yard, claiming "that is where usually everybody fights."

After being placed in segregation in March 2011, Giles attempted suicide by cutting his wrists on his bed frame. His testimony indicates his cousin had passed away around this time and that his cellmate would not let him sleep at night. He also testified his symptoms were "just getting so bad," particularly the voices in his head, even though he acknowledges he was receiving his medications at this time. The stress from these combined factors led to his suicide attempt. Giles’s cellmate notified the prison staff and Giles was rescued. After this, he was placed on suicide watch and was examined by mental health professionals.

Giles was examined by a mental health counselor on April 1 and April 8, 2011. The counselor noted there was "potential for exaggeration of symptoms" and that Giles was "coherent" with "no overt distress."

Giles was again transferred from Illinois River on April 13, 2011, this time to Pontiac. He remained in segregation at Pontiac. While at Pontiac, Giles alleges he received medication and one-on-one therapy, to "try to give [him] a little hope." He felt this treatment was insufficient. He alleges he was not given his medications "about twice." A psychiatrist discontinued Giles’s existing prescriptions and prescribed new psychotropic medications on April 26. Three days later, Giles was again examined by a psychiatrist who noted "there is nothing to contraindicate continued segregation placement at this time."

Giles received an extended interview with a psychiatrist on May 24, 2011. During this session, Giles stated he was "fine, except that [he had] not been getting [his] Prolixin

." The psychiatrist noted Giles’s mood was good; he was awake, alert, and oriented; he displayed "[n]o acute distress/agitation"; his speech was "fluent and coherent"; and his "thoughts were organized." Giles denied having any suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Besides claiming he had not been receiving Prolixin, "[h]e made no mention of any other serious concerns." Giles was still in segregation at this time.

Giles was scheduled for another psychiatric appointment on July 5, 2011, which he did not attend, opting to go to the prison yard instead. He was evaluated by a mental health professional on July 29, who again noted "there is nothing to contraindicate continued segregation placement at this time." As best as can be discerned from the record, Giles was removed from segregation sometime during July 2011.

Giles was transferred to Lawrence in early September 2011. He was examined by mental health professionals three times in September, four times in October, twice in November, twice in December, and three times in February 2012. After one of the October examinations, the mental health professional determined Giles was having issues with his cellmate and his cell assignment was exacerbating his symptoms. As a result, Giles was assigned a new cell and cellmate the next day. Notes from his examination the following week indicate "notable improvement."

In February 2012, Giles was involved in another altercation with an inmate, which formed the basis of his original failure-to-protect claim. This altercation occurred when he accidentally bumped into the other inmate in the mess hall while talking to himself. The other inmate assumed Giles was talking to him and struck him in retaliation. Giles was rendered unconscious by the attack. Giles testified in his deposition he had never had trouble with this inmate before and never told the facility staff he felt he was in danger, but that "it happened because of my symptoms. I was there, and [the other inmate] just happened to be aggressive." During the investigation of the altercation, when he was asked (apparently by prison officials) if he was "guilty," Giles alleges he simply responded he was. As a result, both Giles and the other inmate were placed in segregation. Giles apparently stayed in segregation from February until November 2012.

Giles was examined by mental health professionals nine more times during the period spanning from March to July 2012. During this time, he expressed his unhappiness at Lawrence, his unhappiness with...

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