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Waggener v. Cullinan

December 3, 2009

JASON EUGENE WAGGENER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEPHEN A. CULLINAN, M.D., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on Defendant Lisa Richardson's Motion to Dismiss (Motion) (d/e 60) and Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (d/e 61). Plaintiff Jason E. Waggener filed Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Lisa Richardson's Motion to Dismiss Counts V and VI (d/e 66) and Plaintiff's Supplemental Response to Defendant Richardson's Motion to Dismiss Counts V and VI (Supplemental Response) (d/e 72).

This matter is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated below, Richardson's Motion is granted in part, and denied in part.

FACTS

According to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Amended Complaint) (d/e 57), Plaintiff Jason E. Waggener was seriously injured while incarcerated in the Macoupin County Jail (Jail) during July and August of 2007. Defendant Lisa Richardson (Richardson), a registered nurse, is an employee of Defendant Health Professionals, Ltd. (HPL). Richardson provides nursing services to Jail inmates under her employment contract with HPL, and pursuant to a contract HPL has with Defendant Macoupin County. Plaintiff alleges that she acted under color of state law when she failed to treat him during his incarceration.

Plaintiff was arrested and brought to the Jail on July 30, 2007. The Amended Complaint does not state whether Plaintiff was arrested pursuant to a warrant. He alleges that he informed Jail personnel at the time that he was booked that he frequently had seizures and that he was not taking medication to control the condition. On July 31, 2007, Richardson saw Plaintiff having a seizure and bleeding from his head. Plaintiff was transported via ambulance to the Carlinville Area Hospital in Carlinville, Illinois. In addition to treating lacerations on Plaintiff's head, doctors diagnosed him with a broken right ankle and put a splint on it. Plaintiff was transported back to the Jail.

Between July 31, 2007, and August 2, 2007, Plaintiff remained at the Jail, and continued to walk around his cell, despite his broken ankle. Plaintiff also removed the bandages and splint from his ankle. Richardson visited Plaintiff, and noticed that he was having tremors and hallucinating. She replaced the splint, but Plaintiff again removed it. At that point, Richardson took the splint away from Plaintiff and stored it outside of his cell. Richardson did not inform Defendant Stephen Cullinan, a medical doctor and her supervisor, of Plaintiff's condition.

On August 3, 2007, the Jail superintendent found Plaintiff in his cell, lying in a pool of blood. The fracture on his right ankle had opened. Plaintiff was taken again to the Carlinville Area Hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with acute psychoses, possible gangrene in his right leg, and dislocated fractures in his right leg and foot. Plaintiff was transferred to Pekin Hospital in Pekin, Illinois, where he underwent surgical treatment for his leg injuries. This treatment was unavailing, and doctors later amputated Plaintiff's right leg below the knee.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the various Defendants on July 29, 2008, and filed his Amended Complaint on July 1, 2009. See Complaint (d/e 1); Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (d/e 57). The eleven-count Amended Complaint alleges violations of Plaintiff's federal constitutional rights and of Illinois state law. Counts IV, V, and VI are directed at, among others, Defendant Richardson. Count IV is a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations. Plaintiff brings Count V under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as well, alleging that Richardson engaged in "cruel and unusual punishment" against Plaintiff. Count VI is a state law tort claim purportedly brought pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/4-105.

LEGAL STANDARDS

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, a federal court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the plaintiff's complaint. Hager v. City of West Peoria, 84 F.3d 865, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1996); Covington Court, Ltd. v. Village of Oak Brook, 77 F.3d 177, 178 (7th Cir. 1996); Village of DePue v. Viacom Int'l, Inc., 632 F.Supp.2d 854, 861 (C.D. Ill. 2009). The court must also draw all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Fredrick v. Simmons Airlines, Inc., 144 F.3d 500, 502 (7th Cir. 1998); Village of DePue, 632 F.Supp.2d at 861. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that a plaintiff provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

Federal Rule 12(b)(6) provides that dismissal is proper where a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Although the plaintiff need not plead detailed, specific factual allegations, he must provide sufficient facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible if the court is able "to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that a claim is plausible on its face if the defendant has fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir. 2007). When a court considers the complaint's allegations, it "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).

ANALYSIS

Richardson argues that the Court should dismiss Counts IV, V, and VI of the Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) because they fail to state claims entitling Plaintiff to ...


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