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Drummond v. Wexford Health Services, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

December 12, 2014

DURRELL DRUMMOND, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SERVICES, INC., EDWARD L. MONTWILL, and ANDREW TILDEN, Defendants.

MERIT REVIEW ORDER

JOE BILLY McDADE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court for a merit review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, of Plaintiff Durrell Drummond's claims.

I.

MERIT REVIEW UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(A)

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A, the Court is required to carefully screen a complaint filed by a plaintiff who seeks to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or a portion thereof, if the plaintiff has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. The test for determining if an action is frivolous or without merit is whether the plaintiff can make a rational argument on the law or facts in support of the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A complaint fails to state a claim for relief if the complaint does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009).

In reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them in plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8; Schatz v. Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2012)(holding that, in order to determine if a complaint states a plausible claim, the court must take non-conclusory, non-speculative facts as true, draw all reasonable inferences in the pleader's favor, and isolate and ignore statements that simply rehash claim elements or offer only legal labels and conclusions). Instead, sufficient facts must be provided to "state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(internal quotation omitted).

II.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff Durrell Drummond has filed the instant suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Drummond is currently being housed by the Illinois Department of Correction ("IDOC") at the Pontiac Correctional Center, but Drummond claims that, while he was housed at the Danville Correctional Center, Defendants Edward Montwill and Andrew Tilden (both doctors) refused to arrange for surgery for his glaucoma. Drummond claims that both Montwill and Tilden knew that an eye specialist had examined him and had told him that surgery was necessary; otherwise, he could go blind.

Nevertheless, Drummond contends that neither Montwill nor Tilden would arrange for his eye surgery. Drummond alleges that neither Montwill nor Tilden would arrange for his eye surgery because their employer, Wexford Health Services, Inc., maintains a policy of delaying inmates' surgeries until the inmates are released so that the inmates will have to bear the costs of paying for the surgery instead of Wexford or IDOC.

"Prison officials violate the Constitution if they are deliberately indifferent to prisoners' serious medical needs." Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011)(citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 828 (7th Cir. 2009)("Deliberate indifference to serous medical needs of a prisoner constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain forbidden by the Constitution."); Walker v. Benjamin, 293 F.3d 1030, 1036-37 (7th Cir. 2002)(noting that the Eighth Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment). The deliberate indifference standard requires an inmate to clear a high threshold in order to maintain a claim for cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Dunigan ex rel. Nyman v. Winnebago County, 165 F.3d 587, 590 (7th Cir. 1999). "In order to prevail on a deliberate indifference claim, a plaintiff must show (1) that his condition was objectively, sufficiently serious' and (2) that the prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind." Lee v. Young, 533 F.3d 505, 509 (7th Cir. 2008)(quoting Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 652 (7th Cir. 2005)); Duckworth v. Ahmad, 532 F.3d 675, 679 (7th Cir. 2008)(same).

Here, Drummond alleges that Montwill and Tilden knew of his serious medical condition, but they refused to treat him. Drummond alleges that he is in pain as a result of not receiving a needed eye surgery and that he could go blind without the surgery. As such, Drummond has stated a deliberate indifference claim under the Eighth Amendment against Montwill and Tilden.

As for Wexford, it may only be held liable as Montwill and Tilden's employer if Wexford maintained an unconstitutional policy or practice that caused Drummond to suffer a constitutional deprivation. Monell v. New York City Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978). Drummond has alleged that Wexford maintained a policy of delaying inmates' surgeries until the inmates are released. As such, Drummond has stated a claim against Wexford.

Finally, Drummond's motion for counsel and motion for status are denied. Drummond's motion for status is denied in light of this Order. As for his motion for counsel, the Court does not possess the authority to require an attorney to accept pro bono appointments on civil cases such as this. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 653 (7th Cir. 2007). The most that the Court can do is to ask for volunteer counsel. Jackson v. County of McLean, 953 F.2d 1070, 1071 (7th Cir. 1992)(holding that it is a ...


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