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Ramos v. County of Cook

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

April 2, 2015

JORGE RAMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
THE COUNTY OF COOK; THOMAS DART, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF COOK COUNTY; CERMAK HEALTH SERVICES OF COOK COUNTY; STROGER HOSPITAL; NURSE ROXANNE WOLFE; NURSE EBOIGBE NEWWORLD; PHYSICIAN'S ASSISTANT EDWARD FOWLER; DR. RONALD LEDVORA; DR. KYUNG YOO; DR. JASON MAGNANI; CORRECTIONAL OFFICER SMITH; AND THERESA OLSON, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES B. ZAGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jorge Ramos filed an amended complaint against Defendants County of Cook, Thomas Dart, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Cook County, Cermak Health Services of Cook County, Stroger Hospital, Nurse Roxanne Wolfe, Nurse Eboigbe Newworld, Physician's Assistant ("PA") Edward Fowler, Dr. Ronald Ledvora, Dr. Kyung Yoo, Dr. Jason Magnani, Correctional Officer Smith, and Theresa Olson (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging failure to provide medical care in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Nurse Roxanne Wolfe, Nurse Newworld Eboigbe, and Physician's Assistant Edward Fowler ("Medical Personnel Defendants"), Cermak Health Services of Cook County and Stroger Hospital ("Medical Facilities Defendants"), Dr. Ronald Ledvora and County of Cook ("Cook County Defendants"), and Thomas Dart ("Defendant Dart") (collectively, "Moving Defendants") filed four separate motions to dismiss this Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(m), 12(b)(5), 12(b)(6), and 17(b)(3).

Medical Facilities Defendants moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b)(3) and 12(b)(6). Medical Facilities' motion is unopposed by Plaintiff and granted. Currently before the court are Cook County Defendants and Medical Personnel Defendants' motions to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and Cook County Defendants and Defendant Dart's motions to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) and 12(b)(5). For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are denied in their entirety.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Jorge Ramos was incarcerated at the Cook County Department of Corrections, owned, operated, maintained, and controlled by County of Cook, from at least May 23, 2012 through March 10, 2014. Plaintiff first complained of a knee injury, sustained while playing basketball, on or before May 23, 2012, and continued complaining of chronic pain for the next several months. Plaintiff was treated by Cermak Health Services employees Nurse Wolfe, Nurse Newworld, and Physician's Assistant Edward Fowler and provided only Tylenol, ibuprofen, and an ACE wrap. After several months of this treatment, Plaintiff saw Dr. Ledvora, also an employee of Cermak Health Services of Cook County, who noted effusion in Plaintiff's left knee and recommended a CT scan if the effusion did not resolve. Plaintiff continued to complain of chronic pain in his knee for months and despite no reports of his effusion subsiding, Plaintiff did not receive the CT scan recommended by Dr. Ledvora. About one year after Plaintiff first reported his injury, and about six months after a CT scan was first suggested, a CT scan was finally conducted by Dr. Ledvora and Dr. Yoo, which indicated an avulsion fracture and a potential ACL tear. Plaintiffs continued complaining about chronic pain over the next several months, but Plaintiff did not receive an MRI or sufficient pain medication. As employees of Cermak Health Services of Cook County, Medical Personnel Defendants and Dr. Ledvora, along with Sheriff of Cook County Thomas Dart, were responsible for providing and/or arranging for health care for inmates of the Cook County Jail.

On or about September 2013, Correctional Officer Smith, who is responsible for supervising Plaintiff at the Cook County Jail and responding to any complaints from inmates, told Plaintiff that he was scheduled for an MRI appointment on October 7, 2013. Plaintiff was not given an MRI, and in November 2013, Plaintiff again filed a formal complaint regarding his chronic knee pain and the failure to provide him with an MRI. On or about December 2013, Dr. Ledvora admitted that Plaintiff had an avulsion fracture of the ACL, but continued to only prescribe "low bunk" and Motrin. Dr. Ledvora acknowledged that an MRI had not been taken, and Correctional Officer Smith also admitted that an MRI had never even been ordered. On or about January 2014, Theresa Olson, Director of Inmate Services and Programs at Cook County Sheriff's Office, reviewed Plaintiff's appeal for immediate medical treatment and inaccurately stated that Plaintiff only requested an MRI on December 12, 2013. Ms. Olson scheduled an MRI for May 2014, which, to date, has still not occurred. Despite multiple complaints of severe and chronic pain over the course of a year, Plaintiff had not received an MRI, undergone surgery, or received proper treatment for his chronic knee pain or his ACL injury.

Plaintiff first filed a complaint against Defendants Sheriff Thomas Dart, Dr. Ledvora, and Cook County on January 10, 2014, alleging violation of his Eighth Amendment right to medical care under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and amended his complaint to additionally include Defendants Roxanne Wolfe, Newworld Eboigbe, Edward Fowler, and Cermak Health Services on October 30, 2014. All Defendants were served with Plaintiff's Amended Complaint by November 20, 2014. Cook County Defendants and Medical Personnel Defendants now move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) as having been filed outside the statute of limitations. Cook County Defendants and Defendant Dart move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5) for failure to timely serve his complaint, as required under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) does not test the merits of a claim; rather it tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In deciding a § 12(b)(6) motion, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id. at 1521. To survive a § 12(b)(6) motion, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to 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 complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state [a] claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff is unable to prove any set of facts which would entitle the plaintiff to relief." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 546, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1959 (2007).

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff alleges that an avulsion fracture and potential ACL tear is a serious medical condition requiring immediate medical diagnosis and care, of which Defendants were aware of and deliberately indifferent to, in violation of the Plaintiff's right to medical care under the Eighth Amendment. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' "blatantly inappropriate" response to his numerous complaints regarding his injury evidenced intentional denial of Plaintiff's right of access to medical care, which constituted deliberate indifference, and was likely to seriously aggravate Plaintiff's injury. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants' failure to provide adequate medical care or allow for the provision of adequate medical care did, in fact, cause Plaintiff undue and unnecessary pain and suffering and mental anguish, as well as further injury.

A. Statute of Limitations

Medical Personnel Defendants and Cook County Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claim for deliberate indifference of his medical need should be dismissed because it is barred by the applicable statute of limitations for a state law personal injury claim. Courts look to the personal injury laws of the state where the injury occurred to determine the statute of limitations in a § 1983 case. Kelly v. City of Chi., 4 F.3d 509, 511 (7th Cir.1993). In Illinois, the governing limitation period for a state law personal injury action filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is two years. Williams v. Lampe, 399 F.3d 867, 870 (7th Cir. 2005); Heard v. Sheahan, 253 F.3d 316, 317-318 (7th Cir.2001). The statute of limitations begins accruing from the date the plaintiff has a complete and present cause of action, that is, when the plaintiff can file suit and obtain relief. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387, 12 S.Ct. 1091, 166 L.Ed.2d 973 (2007).

Plaintiff and Defendants dispute the date on which Plaintiff's claim began to accrue. Defendants contends that Plaintiff's claim began accruing on May 23, 2012, the date Plaintiff sustained his injury and first complained about his injury, and was required to file his Complaint by May 24, 2014. Consequently, Defendants contend that Plaintiff, who was treated by Medical Personnel Defendants for the next several months, has effectively pled himself out of court by alleging facts that are sufficient to establish a statute of limitations defense. Hollander v. Brown, 457 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir.2006). Plaintiff, however, asserts that the deliberate ...


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