Donelson v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., No. 18-2739 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Illinois inmate Donelson was moved to Stateville, where a prison nurse screened him for medical issues. Donelson is asthmatic and stated that he needed a new inhaler. The nurse responded that he could get one from a doctor. Donelson had to wait 16 days to see a doctor but apparently could have gone to the commissary at any time for an inhaler. Donelson received an inhaler 20 days after arriving at Stateville. He sued, 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of the Eighth Amendment (deliberate indifference to his asthma) and the First Amendment (delaying his care to retaliate for prior lawsuits). During discovery, the court encountered several problems: Donelson’s conflict with his recruited lawyer and that lawyer’s withdrawal; Donelson’s false assertion that Wexford refused to respond to his document requests; and Donelson’s obstructive behavior during his deposition. Donelson professed not to understand simple questions, no matter how often rephrased, then refused to answer. Donelson accused opposing counsel of bringing contraband (an inhaler) into Stateville. The judge described Donelson’s responses as “evasive and argumentative,” then ruled that dismissal with prejudice and an award of costs was a proper sanction. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding the sanction reasonable. Donelson acted willfully and in bad faith; the dismissal was proportional and appropriate given Donelson’s grossly unacceptable conduct, the need to convey the seriousness of his violations, the obvious insufficiency of any warning, and his inability to pay any meaningful monetary sanction.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on July 9, 2019.