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Hughes v. Dart

November 10, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber


Pending before the Court is Defendants Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Cook County Jail Executive Salvadore Godinez's (hereinafter, "the Defendants") joint motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint. For purposes of evaluating defendants' motion to dismiss, the facts are accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are made in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff. Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 520 (7th Cir. 2001)). This Court also "construe[s] pro se complaints liberally and hold[s] them to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam); Obriecht v. Raemisch, 417 F.3d 489, 492 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008)).

Plaintiff claims that he was a pre-trial detainee at the Cook County Jail. (Dkt. No. 6 at pg. 2, ¶ 3). On June 20, 2008, when he was processed in the jail, he told the jail staff that he had been previously taking psychotropic medication, seeing a therapist since he was age 12, and had been treated in mental institutions in the past. (Id. at pg. 4, ¶ 13). He told the intake staff that he was not then taking his prescribed medication since his arrest, and asked to see a psychiatrist so that he could receive his medication. (Id.).

Plaintiff alleges that he did not receive any type of treatment despite this request, but instead was transferred to Division One, a maximum security unit at the jail. (Id. at pgs. 4-5, ¶¶ 15-16). He alleges that this failure to conduct proper screening is common at the jail. Plaintiff points to a July 11, 2008 report by United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in which Plaintiff claims that the Department of Justice found that the jail routinely fails to properly screen and identify incoming detainees' medical needs including mental illness and suicide risks. (Id. at pg. 4, ¶ 14).

Plaintiff renewed his request for psychiatric treatment and medication while at Division One, but this too was dismissed by the jail staff. (Id. at pg. 5, ¶ 17). He claims that he became severely depressed, heard voices urging him to commit suicide and attempted to hang himself in August 2008. (Id.). The Division One deputies rescued Plaintiff from his suicide attempt and transferred him to the mental illness wing (2 North / 2 South) at Cermak Hospital. (Id.). Plaintiff believes that he should have originally been placed at Cermak Hospital during his initial intake screening, and if this had occurred, he would have never attempted suicide because he would have received mental health treatment. (Id. at pg. 5, ¶ 18).

Plaintiff alleges that he received mental health treatment for manic depression with a delusional component and suicide ideation including receiving a prescription for psychotropic medication from Defendant Dr. Luke at Cermak Hospital. (Id. at pg. 5, ¶ 19). Plaintiff was then transferred back to jail - this time to Division Ten, a unit for detainees with medical conditions including mental illness. (Id. at pg. 5, ¶ 20).

Plaintiff claims that under jail policy he should have been placed on the second floor of Division Ten and observed by jail staff to insure that his medications were effective and not causing side effects. (Id. at pg. 5, ¶ 21). He also claims that he should have been provided group therapy under established policy to help his adaptation into jail life. (Id.). Instead, he was placed on the third floor of Division Ten and did not receive the monitoring or therapy despite his requests. (Id. at pg. 5, ¶ 22).

Plaintiff claims that the third floor of Division Ten is a very violent and unstable area. (Id.). He argues that the conditions were created by Defendants Dart and Godinez's decision to close a residential treatment unit at the jail in the summer of 2008. (Id. at pg. 6, ¶ 23). The residential treatment unit housed 300 to 400 mentally ill pre-trial detainees. (Id.). The displaced mentally ill detainees were transferred to Divisions Two and Ten. (Id.). Plaintiff claims that Dart and Godinez's decision to close the residential treatment unit was against expert medical advice. (Id.). He also claims that the relocation was not done for the benefit of the mentally ill patients, but instead to relieve overcrowding at an unrelated woman's portion of the jail. (Id.).

Plaintiff claims that the conditions in Division Ten made him unstable because of his mental illness and he was placed in segregation for ninety days in January 2009. (Id. at pg. 6, ¶ 24). Plaintiff's medication was stopped for approximately three weeks during this period. (Id. at pg. 6 at ¶ 25). He also did not receive assistance for his mental illness while in segregation despite his requests. (Id.).

Once released from segregation, Plaintiff was transferred to Division One. (Id. at pg. 6, ¶ 26). Defendant John Doe #1, who Plaintiff describes as either a med-tech, physician assistant or doctor, (id. at pg. 3, ¶ 9), stopped Plaintiff from receiving medication or seeing a doctor for his mental illness while Plaintiff was at Division One. (Id. at pg. 6, ¶ 26). Plaintiff states that he explained to John Doe #1 that he needed his medication and treatment, and without it he was at greater risk to be attacked by other inmates. (Id. at pg. 6-7, ¶ 29). John Doe #1 was reportedly unmoved by Plaintiff's explanation and continued to deny his medical requests. (Id.).

Plaintiff remained in Division One for the next six months until November 2009. (Id. at pg. 7, ¶ 31). He made additional requests for medical treatment to John Doe #2, a med-tech, physician's assistant or doctor at the jail, (id. at pg. 3, ¶ 10), but he too refused Plaintiff's requests. (Id. at pg. 7, ¶ 30). The alleged lack of treatment and medication made Plaintiff more and more delusional, suicidal, and depressed during this time period. (Id. at pg. 7, ¶ 31). In November 2009, Plaintiff was attacked and severely beaten by seven other inmates resulting in nerve damage to his face and neck. (Id.). Plaintiff had made a request to defendant Officer Harris to relocate him prior to the attack but Harris had refused. (Id.). Plaintiff was not relocated to a different tier of Division One until after the attack. (Id.).

After the November 2009 attack, Plaintiff called home and learned that his mother had died. (Id. at pg. 7, ¶ 32). This aggravated Plaintiff's delusions and depression and he again attempted suicide both by hanging himself and by setting himself on fire on November 16, 2009. (Id.). Plaintiff states that it was mandatory under jail policy for him to be transferred to Dr. Luke's care at Cermak Hospital following his suicide attempt. (Id. at pg. 8, at ¶ 34). Plaintiff claims that John Doe #2 prevented his transfer in violation of this policy. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that Lieutenant Kelly interceded and forced Plaintiff's transfer to Cermak Hospital. (Id. at pg. 8, ¶ 35). (Lieutenant Kelly is not a defendant). Plaintiff received medication and treatment at Cermak Hospital that he says he was ...

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