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Williams v. Erickson

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

August 21, 2013

ELBERT WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIELLE ERICKSON and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants

Page 1039

Elbert Williams, Plaintiff, Pro se, Joliet, IL.

OPINION

Page 1040

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Elbert Williams, a prisoner in the Illinois Department of Corrections, has asserted claims under federal and state law against Danielle Erickson and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. arising from his contention that he was repeatedly refused assistance in changing his colostomy bag over a four hour period. Defendants have moved to dismiss Williams' complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies defendants' motion except with respect to one of

Page 1041

Williams' state law claims, on which the Court defers ruling.

Facts

The Court takes the following facts from the allegations in Williams' complaint. Williams is an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center. He suffers from ulcerative colitis and underwent a colostomy in February 2011. As a result of the colostomy, Williams' fecal waste is passed into a colostomy bag. He is able to change his own colostomy bag. New colostomy bags, however, come in sealed packages, and as an inmate, Williams does not have access to the tools needed to open the packages. As a result, he is dependent on prison staff to provide him with new colostomy bags.

In March 2011, Williams underwent a post-surgical examination at a hospital in Chicago. Upon his return to Stateville, he was housed at the prison's health care unit, which is operated and staffed by Wexford. While Williams was at the health care unit, his colostomy bag overfilled, causing it to detach from his body. Williams alleges that he asked Erickson, a nurse at the facility, to open the seal on a new colostomy bag so that he could change the bag. He alleges that Erickson repeatedly refused his requests. As a result, Williams alleges, he was forced to spend four hours covered in feces before another staff member assisted him. Williams has sued to recover damages.

Williams, who is represented by court-appointed counsel, asserts six claims in his amended complaint. Counts 1 and 2 are claim under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, alleging deliberate indifference to serious medical needs and improper conditions of confinement. Count 3 is a state law " healing art malpractice" claim. Counts 4 and 5 allege, respectively, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Count 6 is a claim of " institutional negligence" against Wexford.

Discussion

Defendants have moved to dismiss all six claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). When considering a motion to dismiss under that Rule, the Court accepts the facts alleged in the complaint as true and " draws all possible inferences in [the plaintiff's] favor." Heyde v. Pittenger, 633 F.3d 512, 517 (7th Cir. 2011). To survive the motion, the complaint must include enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). A claim is plausible on its face " when the plaintiff pleads ...


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