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McGee v. Monahan

September 14, 2007

JUAN MCGEE (#866583), PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMAS MONAHAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Juan McGee is a civil detainee in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services. At the time he initiated this action, Plaintiff was facing commitment under the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS § 7/1, et seq.; the record does not reflect his current status. Plaintiff has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 concerning alleged mistreatment and inhumane conditions of confinement at the Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility. This matter is before the Court for consideration of certain Defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated in this order, the motions are granted only in part.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW ON A MOTION TO DISMISS

It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see also McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000). They can be dismissed for failure to state a claim only if it appears "beyond doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Haines, 404 U.S. at 521; Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). Fact pleading is not necessary to state a claim for relief. Thompson v. Washington, 362 F.3d 969, 970-71 (7th Cir. 2004). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," in order to " 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, (1957)). To satisfy the notice pleading requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), Plaintiff need only state his legal claim and provide "some indication . . . of time and place." Thompson, 362 F.3d at 971. While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Bell Atlantic Corp., 127 S.Ct. at 1964 -65 (citations omitted).

In addition, when considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court takes the allegations in the complaint as true, viewing all facts--as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom--in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Marshall-Mosby v. Corporate Receivables, Inc., 205 F.3d 323, 326 (7th Cir. 2000); Bell Atlantic Corp., 127 S.Ct. at 1955 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508, n. 1, (2002). Dismissal should be denied whenever it appears that a basis for federal jurisdiction in fact exists or may exist and can be stated by Plaintiff. Norfleet v. Vale, No. 05 C 0926, 2005 WL 3299375, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 5, 2005) (Zagel, J.). A well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears "that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Bell Atlantic Corp., 127 S.Ct. at 1965. The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits. Weiler v. Household Finance Corp., 101 F.3d 519, 524 n. 1 (7th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted).

II. FACTS

Plaintiff sues seven employees and contractors of the Illinois Department of Human Services [hereinafter, "DHS"]. Defendants include: (1) Joliet TDF Director Thomas Monahan; (2) Hospital Administrator Carol Vance; (3) resident physician Jovita Anyanwu; (4) nurse Alice Coleman; (5) Addus Health Care, Incorporated; (6) Aramark Correctional Services; and (7) Liberty Healthcare Corporation. Monahan, Aramark, and Liberty Healthcare have moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim.

Plaintiff alleges the following basic facts, which must be accepted as true for purposes of Defendants' motions:

On October 21, 2005, the date of Plaintiff's mandatory release from prison, he was taken to the Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility [hereinafter, "TDF"] rather than being released outright. Plaintiff was informed that he was being detained as a "sexually violent person" pursuant to 725 ILCS § 207/1. Under that statute, a sexually violent person is someone who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense (or has been found not guilty of a sexually violent offense by reason of insanity) and "who is dangerous because he or she suffers from a mental disorder that makes it substantially probable that the person will engage in acts of sexual violence." 725 ILCS § 207/5(f). Plaintiff was held at the Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility [hereinafter, "TDF"] from October 21, 2005, until the summer of 2006, when he was transferred along with all other detainees to the new facility in Rushville, Illinois.

Count I.

The Illinois Department of Corrections ordered Plaintiff's detainment at the TDF without ever examining him or finding probable cause to detain him.

The Joliet TDF is a former prison facility. Plaintiff was first placed in a newly constructed building; his cell was furnished with a steel bunk, steel writing table with attached stool, two steel shelves, a toilet, and a sink. Plaintiff was advised, however, that his placement was temporary and that he would be moved to the original, decrepit prison building if he refused to a sign a consent-to-treatment form.

Because Plaintiff refused to sign the treatment form, he was moved to the older building on the grounds. His cell had only a steel bunk bed, toilet, and sink, with no other amenities. The older building was infested by cockroaches. The cell's windows were poorly insulated and inadequately heated. The water that ran from the sink was foul-smelling and discolored. Paint peeled from the walls and ceiling, and the facility was overcrowded.

Liberty Healthcare placed detainees in the older prison unit Liberty to punish them and to coerce them to accept treatment. To that end, new arrivals at the TDF who refused to sign consent-to-treatment forms, in addition to being housed in the more Spartan quarters, could not receive calls from family and friends; could not attend reward picnics; and could not receive food in the mail at Christmas. Plaintiff was thus faced with a dilemma: either endure poor living conditions, or admit a problem and get treatment--with the concession used as a ground for civil commitment.

Detainees were punished without due process. Punishment sometimes included the denial of exercise for up to ninety days.

Count II

The provision of medical care violated detainees' right to constitutionally adequate medical treatment. Detainees requiring injections were not allowed to see syringes unsealed from their packages in order to ensure that syringes were not being re-used. A diabetic, Plaintiff required daily insulin injections.

Furthermore, the health care staff dispensed medication with their bare hands rather than wearing sanitary gloves. Plaintiff believes that the medical staff "re-dispensed" unused and dropped pills. On November 14, 2005, Plaintiff contracted a severe stomach ailment from an infection purportedly caused by the sloppy medical practices.

When Plaintiff questioned what he perceived to be unconstitutional medical practices, he was punished with false disciplinary reports. While in segregation, Plaintiff was denied personal effects, such as an electric razor. Another detainee who assisted Plaintiff with his lawsuits was also disciplined.

Count III

Aramark Correctional Services, which contracted to provide the institution with food for the detainees, often delivered stale bread and cookies and spoiled food. Breakfasts consisted mostly of white bread, stale cereal, and under-boiled eggs that smelled bad. Inmates were given meals only twice a day.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Count I

1. Pretrial ...


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