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Hundley Lynn Ford, Jr v. Wexford Health Sources

February 7, 2012

HUNDLEY LYNN FORD, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On August 30, 2012, Plaintiff Hundley Lynn Ford, Jr. filed a three-count Corrected Amended Complaint against Defendants Nancy Pounovich, Marcus Hardy, Joseph Sheehey, Anna McBee, Parthasarathi Ghosh, S.A. Godinez, Darryl Edwards, Landria Dennis, Imat Carter, Latonya Williams, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford") alleging three separate counts of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Williams, Ghosh, Carter (hereinafter the "Individual Defendants"), and Wexford have filed the present motion to dismiss Count I of the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court denies Wexford's motion to dismiss and grants in part and denies in part the Individual Defendants' motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

Ford is an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"). (R. 11, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 5.) On or about April 20, 2008, Ford injured his back moving a property box in his cell. (Id. ¶ 18.) He alleges that his injury confined him to his cell for three days, rendering him unable to do anything other than lie still. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 19.) Further, Ford contends that he sought medical attention by submitting written requests and by speaking with medical technicians, but received none. (Id. ¶19.)

Although Ford ate breakfast in his cell, lunch and dinner were only available four floors below his cell. (Id. ¶ 20.) Ford asserts that his injury precluded him from navigating stairs, and he requested, but did not receive, a medical lay-in permit that would have allowed him to receive meals in his cell while incapacitated. (Id.) Ford thus asserts that his failure to obtain a lay-in permit caused him to miss lunch and dinner for three days. (Id.) For the four years since his injury, Ford maintains that he has continued to go without lunch and dinner for multiple days at a time -- approximately two to three times per month -- due to his recurring pain and his inability to obtain a lay-in permit. (Id. ¶ 22.)

After his injury, Ford alleges that he made daily or near daily requests for medical attention, both in the form of written submissions to the Medical Treatment Box and verbal interactions with medical technicians. (Id. ¶ 21.) After six months of daily requests for medical attention, Defendant Latonya Williams, a physician's assistant at Stateville, prescribed Tylenol and analgesic balm to Ford. (Id. ¶23.) Nevertheless, Ford states that the medication was ineffective, and thus he continued to submit daily or near daily requests for medical attention. (Id. ¶ 24.

Eight months later in June 2009, Williams prescribed physical therapy for Ford. (Id. ¶ 25.) Ford attended physical therapy nine months later, in March 2010, having submitted repeated written sick call requests while waiting for treatment. (Id. ¶ 26.) In June 2010, after completing three months of physical therapy with no resolution of the injury, Ford alleges that he experienced a loss of feeling in his lower body, rendering him unable to move without assistance and causing him great pain. (Id. ¶¶ 27, 28.) Wendy, a medical technician, visited his cell but refused to issue him a lay-in permit, instead informing him that Defendant Parthasarathi Ghosh, Stateville's Medical Director, would see him four days later. (Id. ¶ 29.) Ford alleges that he sat for three days in "excruciating pain," and, unable to walk, went without lunch or dinner all three days. (Id.)

On June 28, 2010, Dr. Ghosh saw Ford and ordered an MRI of his back. (Id. ¶ 30.) In the six months before Ford received his MRI, he alleges that he submitted written sick call requests on account of his dissatisfaction with the medical treatment. (Id. ¶ 31.) In December 2010, Dr. Ghosh renewed Ford's permit for medical restraints, which allowed him to travel outside of the prison without using the more restrictive black box restraints that caused Ford to suffer back spasms and intense pain. (Id. ¶ 32.)

Ford received an MRI on January 19, 2011. (Id. ¶ 35.) Based on the results of the MRI, Dr. Ghosh diagnosed Ford with bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis caused by diffused disc bulges in his spine. (Id. ¶¶ 34, 35.)This diagnosis led Dr. Ghosh to refer Ford to the University of Illinois at Chicago Pain Management Clinic ("UIC Pain Clinic"). (Id. ¶ 36.) Four months passed without Ford visiting the UIC Pain Clinic. (Id. ¶ 37.) During this time, Ford alleges that prison officials confiscated his back brace because medical officials had failed to issue a permit for it. (Id. ¶ 37a.) Further, Ford maintains that he suffered continued back pain and that his medications had run out despite his timely requests for renewal. (Id. ¶ 37b.) Ford continued to lodge several complaints via written sick call slips, oral requests to medical technicians, and letters to Dr. Ghosh informing Dr. Ghosh that he was still awaiting treatment. (Id. ¶¶ 37c, 37d.)

On May 5, 2011, Ford filed a grievance. (Id. ¶ 37.) Cannon, a correctional counselor, answered the grievance responding that Ford was scheduled for a sick call one month later on June 8, 2011. (Id. ¶ 38.) Also, Ford alleges that Cannon did not address the five month delay of treatment that Dr. Ghosh ordered or the systemic failure by medical staff to timely renew his pain medication or issue permits. (Id.) Ford appealed the grievance denial to the Grievance Office, and Defendant Anna McBee, a grievance officer, denied the grievance after reviewing a memorandum from Delores Trevino, a registered nurse in the Health Care Unit ("HCU"). (Id. ¶ 39.) Ford then appealed his grievance to the Administrative Review Board ("ARB"), which also denied his grievance. (Id.) Defendant S. A. Godinez, the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, concurred with the ARB's decision. (Id.)

Ford eventually received a sick call from Williams on June 10, 2011, at which point he notified Williams that he was still awaiting treatment at the UIC Pain Clinic, that prison officials had confiscated his back brace for lack of a valid permit, and that the Naproxen prescribed for his pain caused him abdominal pains and blood in his stool. (Id. ¶ 40.) In July 2011, having still not been taken to the UIC Pain Clinic, Ford submitted three additional grievances. (Id. ¶ 41.) More specifically, Ford alleges that he submitted his first grievance on July 21, 2011 detailing his continued pain and his lack of medication. (Id. ¶ 42.) He also explained that he had no access to ice nor his back brace -- both on account of failure to obtain a valid permit. (Id.)Defendant Landria Dennis, a correctional counselor, responded, noting that Ford had been recently seen and was being evaluated for further treatment. (Id.) Thereafter, Ford filed a second grievance that reiterated the delay he had faced in visiting the UIC Pain Clinic, noting that Dr. Ghosh had previously submitted an order for him to receive treatment. (Id. ¶ 44.)

Counselor Dennis responded, this time explaining that Stateville's new Medical Director, Defendant Imat Carter, was reevaluating all orders previously made by Dr. Ghosh. (Id. ¶ 45.) Ford submitted a third grievance in July 2011, again claiming delay in treatment at the UIC Pain Clinic. (Id. ¶ 47.) He explained that his medication had run out and that Naproxen, prescribed by Dr. Carter, was ineffective as it caused stomach bleeding. (Id.) Counselor Dennis again responded, claiming Ford's concern was "not a grievable issue at this time due to there only being a 2 day time from between the date of the offender Ford being seen by Dr. Carter and the date offender Ford writing the grievance." (Id. ¶ 48.) Dennis explained that Dr. Carter was still evaluating Ford's concerns. (Id.)

Ford appealed Dennis' denial of his three July 2011 grievances to the Grievance Office, where McBee consolidated and denied all three after reviewing a memorandum from Trevino. (Id. ¶ 49.) Ford then appealed the denial to the ARB, which upheld the denial explaining that Dr. Carter was reviewing Ford's condition, that Ford's back brace permit had been renewed, that Ford was in "collegial review for UIC pain center," and that pain medications were ordered. (Id. ¶ 50.) Again, Godinez concurred in the decision. (Id.)

Three weeks after Ford's last grievance, he experience another episode of loss of feeling in his lower body, forcing him to remain in his cell in pain without lunch or dinner. (Id. ¶ 51.) Correctional Officers Grey and Rogers contacted Defendant Joseph Sheehey, a medical technician, and informed him of Ford's condition. (Id.) Ford alleges thatSheehey refused to render aid and refused to issue a medical lay-in permit stating that Dr. Carter would see Ford in a few days. (Id.) Once again, Ford went for several days without lunch or dinner. (Id.)

After this episode, Ford filed an emergency grievance complaining of inadequate pain medication and persistent worsening of his condition asking for a lay-in permit. (Id. ¶¶ 52, 54.) Defendant Marcus Hardy, Stateville's Warden, denied the emergency grievance. (Id. ¶ 53.) Dennis forwarded the grievance to the Grievance Office, where McBee denied it after reviewing the memorandum from Trevino. (Id.) Ford alleges that he appealed to the ARB, which denied the grievance, and Godinez concurred. (Id.) The following month, in ...


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