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Erickson v. Pardus

Supreme Court of the United States

June 4, 2007, Decided

No. 06-7317

Opinion

 [*89]   [***1083]   [**2197] Per Curiam.

Imprisoned by the State of Colorado and alleging violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, William Erickson, the petitioner in this Court, filed suit against prison officials in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. He alleged that a liver condition resulting from hepatitis C required a treatment program that officials had commenced  [*90]  but then wrongfully  [**2198]  terminated, with life-threatening consequences. Deeming these allegations, and others to be noted, to be "conclusory," the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the District Court's dismissal of petitioner's [****2]  complaint. 198 Fed. Appx. 694, 698 (2006). The holding departs in so stark a manner from the pleading standard mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that we grant review. We vacate the court's judgment and remand the case for further consideration.

Petitioner was incarcerated in the Limon Correctional Facility in Limon, Colorado, where respondents Barry Pardus and Dr. Anita Bloor were working as prison officials. After Dr. Bloor removed petitioner from the hepatitis C treatment he had been receiving, petitioner sued under Rev. Stat. § 1979, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, complaining, inter alia, that Dr. Bloor had violated his Eighth Amendment rights by demonstrating deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. See, e.g., Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-105, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251 (1976) (HN1[] LEdHN[1][] [1] "[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain . . . proscribed by the Eighth Amendment," and this includes "indifference . . . manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally [****3]  interfering with the treatment once prescribed" (footnotes and internal quotation marks omitted)); see also Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 35-37, 113 S. Ct. 2475, 125 L. Ed. 2d 22 (1993).

Petitioner based his claim on the following allegations, which we assume to be true for purposes of review here: Officials at Colorado's Department of Corrections (Department) diagnosed petitioner as requiring treatment for hepatitis C. After completing the necessary classes and otherwise complying with the protocols set forth by the Department, petitioner began treatment for the disease. The treatment, which would take a year to complete, involved weekly self-injections of medication by use of a syringe.  [*91]  Soon after petitioner began this treatment, prison officials were unable to account for one of the syringes made available to petitioner (and other prisoners) for medical purposes. Upon searching, they found it  [***1084] in a communal trash can, modified in a manner suggestive of use for injection of illegal drugs. Prisoner Complaint in Civ. Action No. 05-CV-00405-LTB-MJW (D. Colo.), p 3 (hereinafter Petitioner's Complaint).

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551 U.S. 89 *; 127 S. Ct. 2197 **; 167 L. Ed. 2d 1081 ***; 2007 U.S. LEXIS 6814 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 3643; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 317

WILLIAM ERICKSON, Petitioner v. BARRY J. PARDUS et al.

Prior History:  [****1] ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT.

Erickson v. Pardus, 198 Fed. Appx. 694, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 23658 (10th Cir., 2006)

Disposition:  The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit was vacated, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

hepatitis, allegations, disease, motion to dismiss, prison official, quotation, liver, marks

Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Prisoner Rights, Medical Treatment, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Cruel & Unusual Punishment, Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Parties, Pro Se Litigants, Pleading Standards