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Harper v. Dart

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

October 20, 2014

BEDNAGO HARPER (#XXXX-XXXXXXX), Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF TOM DART, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

JOHN J. THARP, Jr. District Judge.

Defendants' motion to dismiss [#37] is denied with respect to Defendants Mansour and Patel and granted with respect to Defendant Dart. Defendants Mansour and Patel are directed to answer or otherwise respond to Plaintiff's complaint within twenty-one days of the date of this order, on pain of default. Defendant Dart is dismissed as a Defendant.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Mansour and Physician's Assistant Patel violated his constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied prompt and adequate care and treatment for a hernia. Plaintiff additionally contends that the Cook County Sheriff has an established policy and practice of failing to provide prompt treatment to pretrial detainees with serious or potentially serious medical conditions. This matter is before the court for ruling on Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated in this order, the motion is denied.

Legal Standard

It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013). Pro se submissions are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009). 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)); Windy City Metal Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs., Inc., 536 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2008).

To satisfy the notice pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a plaintiff need 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). In addition, when considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court assumes all factual allegations in the complaint to be true, viewing all facts as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom-in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 563 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002)); Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2010). 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. at 555. While a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than mere 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). The court "need not accept as true legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). "The complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bonte v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d 461, 463 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). Furthermore, a plaintiff can plead himself out of court by pleading facts that undermine the allegations set forth in the complaint. See, e.g., Whitlock v. Brown, 596 F.3d 406, 412 (7th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted) ("A judicial admission trumps evidence. This is the basis of the principle that a plaintiff can plead himself out of court.").

Facts

Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail. Defendant Thomas Dart is the Sheriff of Cook County. Defendant Mohammad Mansour is a staff physician and Manisha Patel is a physician's assistant at the jail.

Plaintiff alleges the following facts, assumed true for purposes of the motion to dismiss:

Plaintiff was booked into the jail on November 12, 2011. At the time Plaintiff went through intake at the jail, he informed Defendant Mansour that he had a hernia and was experiencing severe pain. Plaintiff again informed Defendant Mansour of his hernia on December 20, 2011. Plaintiff also told Defendant Mansour that the pain was severe and worsening. Defendant Mansour told Plaintiff that his pain was not severe enough to warrant treatment, stating that Plaintiff would not be treated unless he was "doubled over in pain and unable to walk."

Throughout 2012 and 2013, Plaintiff repeatedly informed medical personnel via grievances and in person that he was suffering from a hernia. On May 6, 2013, Plaintiff was treated by Defendant Patel, who told him there was nothing that could be done for Plaintiff's hernia or pain.

Plaintiff avers that the Cook County Sheriff has an established policy and practice of failing to provide prompt and acceptable medical care for inmates. Plaintiff bases this charge in part on a July 11, 2008, Department of Justice ...


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