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James v. Arevalo

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

April 2, 2014

NED JAMES, Plaintiff,
v.
GILBERTO AREVALO, M.D., et. al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Ned James filed an amended complaint on December 4, 2012, against St. Bernard Hospital ("St. Bernard"), Dr. Gilberto Arevalo, Dr. Matthew McCormick, Nurse Jay Pamintuan, and Nurse Lydia De Leon. R. 11. He alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Eighth Amendment for professional neglect and denial of treatment. R. 11 at 4-6. A previous judge dismissed St. Bernard and Nurse Pamintuan from the case. R. 10. Dr. Arevalo has moved to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. R. 29. For the following reasons, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the Plaintiff's claims, and his amended complaint is dismissed as to all the remaining Defendants.[1]

BACKGROUND

On January 17, 2011, the Plaintiff was rushed to St. Bernard due to serious injuries he claims to have received from Chicago Police Officers. R. 11 at 4. He alleges that he received multiple kicks and blows to the head, back, and stomach, which caused him extreme pain. Id.

The Plaintiff filed this action against certain Defendants on May 21, 2012, as a result of the care he received at St. Bernard. R. 1. He filed an amended complaint on January 11, 2013. R. 11. In the amended complaint, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants failed to competently treat his injuries while he was at St. Bernard. First, he claims that Nurse De Leon refused to come into his room even though she was aware of his injuries and could hear him screaming in pain. Id. at 5. The Plaintiff further contends that he requested Nurse De Leon to take pictures of his head wound before she cleaned the blood from it, but that she cleaned the wound before documenting the injury. Id. Next, the Plaintiffs contend that Dr. Arevalo refused to put stitches in the wound over the Plaintiff's eye. Id. Finally, the Plaintiff claims that Dr. McCormick refused to place the Plaintiff on suicide watch even though the Plaintiff claimed that he had not taken his medicine in months and wanted to kill himself. Id. at 6.

The case was transferred to this Court on February 7, 2013. R. 13. Dr. Arevalo filed a motion to dismiss on April 30, 2013. R. 29. The Plaintiff requested the appointment of counsel, which the Court granted on June 27, 2013. R. 34. That attorney moved to withdraw as counsel, and the Court granted the request on July 1, 2013. R. 36. A second attorney was appointed to represent the Plaintiff, but she moved to withdraw on October 3, 2013. R. 45; R. 46. The Court granted her request on October 15, 2013. R. 48. The Court has given the Plaintiff numerous opportunities to respond to the pending motion to dismiss. Plaintiff's response to the motion was originally due on December 2, 2013. See R. 48. On January 24, 2014, the Court granted the Plaintiff an additional 21 days to respond, but he has not done so. R. 49. The Court will thus rule on the motion to dismiss without the benefit of a response from the Plaintiff.

LEGAL STANDARD

Before addressing the merits of the Plaintiff's claims, the Court must consider the issue of subject matter jurisdiction. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes the Court to dismiss any claim over which the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution defines the outer bounds of a federal court's subject matter jurisdiction. Generally, a court's jurisdiction in a civil case arises from a federal question, a deprivation of one's civil rights, or diversity among the parties. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332, 1343; see also Rabe v. United Air Lines, Inc., 636 F.3d 866, 872 (7th Cir. 2010). Because federal courts "have only the power that is authorized by Article III of the Constitution and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant thereto, " Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986), the Court "[is] bound to evaluate [its] own jurisdiction, ... sua sponte if necessary." Fednav Int'l Ltd. v. Cont'l Ins. Co., 624 F.3d 834, 837 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, Local 150 v. Ward, 563 F.3d 276, 282 (7th Cir. 2009)). If the Court determines at any time that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the Court must dismiss the action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

As with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must "accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff" when assessing its jurisdiction. St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chi., 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Long v. Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999)). In doing so, the Court recognizes the Plaintiff filed his amended complaint pro se. Complaints filed by pro se plaintiffs are held to "a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011)). Because pro se plaintiffs do not have the benefit of legal expertise, courts are to ensure that their claims are given "fair and meaningful consideration." Philos Tech., Inc. v. Philos & D, Inc., 645 F.3d 851, 858 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

ANALYSIS

In order to establish jurisdiction in federal court, a plaintiff must either raise a federal question or have diversity of citizenship with a defendant. See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1; Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 501 (2006). In this case, the Plaintiff and all the remaining Defendants are residents of Illinois, so the Plaintiff cannot demonstrate diversity of citizenship. R. 11 at 2; see also Moore v. St. Bernard Med. Ctr., No. 12 C 10335, 2013 WL 141143 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 9, 2013). The Plaintiff must therefore raise a federal question in order to secure jurisdiction. He has not done so.

I. ADA Claims

The Plaintiff asserts that he is bringing his claim under the ADA. R. 11 at 4. However, no title of the ADA applies to Plaintiff's claims.[2] Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination by public entities against individuals with a disability. See 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et. seq. The ADA defines "public entity" as:

(A) any State or local government; (B) any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government; and(C) the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and any ...

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