Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge
The Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. The Court refers this matter to Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox for the purpose of exploring whether this case may be an appropriate candidate for the court's Settlement Assistance Program for Pro Se Litigants.
O [For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
Plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants, correctional officials, have violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he is undergoing chemotherapy to combat his leukemia, and that Defendants have repeatedly refused to honor doctors' medical permits allowing him daily showers to alleviate the severe side effects he is experiencing from the treatments. This matter is before the Court for ruling on Defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated in this order, the Court denies Defendants' motion. Moreover, the Court refers this matter to Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox for the purpose of exploring whether this case may be an appropriate candidate for the court's Settlement Assistance Program for Pro Se Litigants.
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). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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. 544, 555 (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), the plaintiff must only state his basic legal claim and provide "some indication . . . of time and place." Thompson v. Washington, 362 F.3d 969, 971 (7th Cir. 2004). While a complaint challenged 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., 550 U.S. at 555 (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 the plaintiff. Marshall-Mosby v. Corporate Receivables, Inc., 205 F.3d 323, 326 (7th Cir. 2000); Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 563 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002)). 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., 550 U.S. at 556. Nevertheless, the factual allegations in the complaint must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Id., 550 U.S. at 555. 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).
Plaintiff, Thomas McGee, is a state prisoner, confined at the Stateville Correctional Center at all times relevant to this action. Defendants Frank Shaw and Anthony Ramos are former Stateville wardens. Defendant Bernadine Kerl (sued as Karl) is a superintendent at Stateville.
Plaintiff alleges the following facts, which will be accepted as true for purposes of this motion. Plaintiff weighs 320 pounds and suffers from high blood pressure, as well as leukemia, a cancer of the blood. Plaintiff is undergoing chemotherapy to combat the disease. As part of Plaintiff's after-care treatment, his physician has ordered showers seven days a week and ice three times a day. According to Plaintiff, the showers and ice facilitate his recovery from the chemotherapy.
Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that simply because escorting inmates to and from showers causes extra work for the prison staff, correctional officers often fail to honor the medical shower permits. Defendant Karl refused to allow Plaintiff to shower on February 14, 2009, specifically informing him that she "doesn't honor medical shower permits ... period."
On an unspecified date, Defendant Ramos ordered Karl to review medical permits to ensure that everyone who was prescribed medical showers actually needed them. Karl was assigned this task even though she has no medical background, and even though she had already indicated that she did not believe that medical showers were ever necessary. Karl determined that Plaintiff's medical showers should be discontinued, and Ramos approved her decision.
Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the denial of ice and medical showers and also wrote several letters to Warden Shaw. Plaintiff notified Shaw that on at least six occasions (February 4, 2009, February 14, 2009, February 15, 2009, February 23, 2009, February 27, 2009, and March 11, 2009), he had gone without showers and/or ice. In response to Plaintiff's grievance, Shaw ...