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Stewart v. Mesrobian

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

February 18, 2015

Lavertis Stewart, (A-15380), Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. Mesrobian, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

PHILIP G. REINHARD, District Judge.

For the reasons below, defendants' motion to dismiss [92] is denied.

STATEMENT - OPINION

This case is before the court on remand from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. See [49]. After the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion, this court reinstated the case, appointed counsel to plaintiff Lavertis Stewart, an inmate at Dixon Correctional Center, and granted appointed counsel leave to file a second amended complaint. See [54].

Plaintiff's appointed counsel filed a second amended complaint on November 3, 2014. See [83]. In it, plaintiff alleged that various physicians at the Dixon Correctional Center are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Specifically, plaintiff complains that defendants Dr. Antreas Mesrobian, Dr. Imhotep Carter, and Dr. Jill Wahl (all current or former physicians at Dixon) were deliberately indifferent because they forced him to wear "Black Box" restraints[1] on his wrists when he was sent from Dixon Correctional Center to the University of Illinois Chicago for medical treatment. In the second amended complaint, plaintiff names Wexford Health Sources, Inc., ("Wexford") Dr. Carter, Dr. Wahl and a handful of other John Does as defendants. See [83]. Because Dr. Mesrobian is now deceased, plaintiff has named the Special Representative of Dr. Mesrobian's estate as a defendant.

In response to the second amended complaint, defendants Dr. Wahl and Wexford have filed a motion to dismiss. See [92]. In their motion, Dr. Wahl and Wexford argue that plaintiff's claims against them are barred by the relevant statute of limitations. All other defendants have answered the complaint.

"To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12 (b)(6), the complaint must state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Yeftich v. Navistar, 722 F.3d 911, 915 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). In cases such as these, the inference of liability is only "speculative." Id.

When a defendant argues a plaintiff's claims are barred by the relevant statute of limitations the defendant is really asserting an affirmative defense. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(c)(1). The Seventh Circuit has held that dismissing a claim as untimely at the pleading stage is an "unusual step since a complaint need not anticipate and overcome affirmative defenses, such as the statute of limitations." Cancer Found., Inc., v. Cerberus Capital Mgmt., LP, 559 F.3d 671, 674 (7th Cir. 2009). However, a claim may be dismissed as untimely at the dismissal stage if "the allegations of the complaint itself set forth everything necessary to satisfy the affirmative defense." United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005).

A. FACTUAL BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The procedural history in this case is more extensive than most at this stage in litigation. As a result, the court finds it beneficial to briefly set forth the factual background and procedural history before proceeding to the merits of defendants' motion.

On July 9, 2012, plaintiff filed a pro se complaint along with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis alleging various constitutional violations under Section 1983. See [1], [5]. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that Dr. Mesrobian (a former physician at Dixon) and a number of John Doe defendants were liable under Section 1983 because they forced him to wear Black Box restraints on his wrists while he was being transported from Dixon Correctional Center to University of Illinois Chicago to receive medical treatment.

After the court screened the complaint and motion to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, it granted plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis on August 8, 2012. See [6]. However, because the complaint only stated claims against a deceased party, Dr. Mesrobian, the court determined that plaintiff could not proceed and granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. See [6] at 2.

In response to this order, plaintiff filed a motion seeking an extension of time to file an amended complaint on September 19, 2012. See [7]. The court granted this motion and gave plaintiff until November 16, 2012 to file an amended complaint. See [9].

On November 16, 2012, plaintiff filed an amended complaint and a motion to appoint a special administrator to Dr. Mesrobian's estate. See [12]; [13]. After screening the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court determined that plaintiff's claims were untimely. The court noted that Section 1983 claims have a two-year statute of limitations and determined that plaintiff filed his initial complaint 18 days late. As a ...


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