Barr v. Pearson, No. 17-3786 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Missouri inmate Barr filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that state-contracted health care providers violated the Eighth Amendment when they stopped administering his multiple sclerosis medication. Barr’s medical record indicated that he was being followed “for high suspicion of multiple sclerosis” but had discontinued taking Avonex “on his own due to undesirable side effects.” The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. While inmates have a right to adequate medical care, they have no right to receive a particular or requested course of treatment. Defendants’ decision to halt Barr’s Avonex injections did not rise to a level akin to criminal recklessness and was probably not even negligent. Even if Barr did not refuse his injections, Defendants had good reason to end them. Three different health care providers wrote in Barr’s medical record that he had complained to them about side effects; it was well within Defendants’ independent medical judgment to stop administering Avonex. Barr does not allege that any harm occurred after the injections ended. After Barr’s injections were halted, Defendants continued to provide medical care—prescribing other medication, scheduling follow-ups, and requesting additional diagnostic tests. No rational trier of fact could find that Defendants were deliberately indifferent.