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Hardy v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

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

April 2, 2015



THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Nedrick J. Hardy, Sr., an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"), alleges that IDOC staff and medical service providers were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Count I), and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him in violation of Illinois law (Count II), while he was incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. See R. 85.[1] Specifically, Hardy has sued IDOC Director, Salvador Godinez; Stateville's former warden, Marcus Hardy; the IDOC's medical services provider, Wexford Health Sources, Inc.; and doctors employed by Wexford, namely Dr. Partha Ghosh, Dr. Imhotep Carter, Dr. Ronald Schaefer, Dr. Saleh Obaisi, Dr. Richard Shute, and Dr. Arthur Funk. See id. Wexford and the individual doctors filed a motion to dismiss both counts for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), R. 91, which Warden Hardy and Director Godinez joined, R. 95. The Court appointed counsel for Hardy, and his counsel has prepared the amended complaint, see R. 85, and the brief opposing Defendants' motions. See R. 103. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion to dismiss.

Legal Standard

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to provide defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This "standard demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Aschcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Mann, 707 F.3d at 877 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). In applying this standard, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Mann, 707 F.3d at 877.


I. Hardy's Medical Conditions

Hardy alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the following medical conditions he suffered while he was incarcerated at Stateville: (1) a broken right ring finger; (2) difficulty and pain urinating; (3) a damaged left eye; (4) an injured left shoulder; and (5) several mental illnesses. See R. 85.

1. Left Shoulder

On October 16, 2009, Hardy injured his left shoulder when he fell while leaving the Stateville cafeteria. Id. ¶ 60. Hardy alleges that he "sent numerous request slips and grievances before being seen by a physician's assistant on November 23, 2009 for the shoulder injury." Id. ¶ 61. "Hardy continues to experience pain and has difficulty lifting heavy objects." Id. ¶ 62. Hardy does not allege anything else about his shoulder injury.

2. Difficulty and Pain Urinating

Hardy initially sought medical attention for sharp pain in his side, kidney, thigh, and groin areas, and difficulties urinating on November 22, 2010 when he had an appointment with Dr. Ghosh. Id. ¶¶ 34-35. Dr. Ghosh took blood and urine samples and prescribed Hardy Tramadol for pain relief. Id. ¶ 35.

On January 18, 2011, Hardy had an appointment with Dr. Schaefer during which Hardy asked about the results of the blood and urine tests done by Dr. Ghosh, but Dr. Schaefer "refused to look at the medical records from the earlier appointment." Id. ¶ 36. Dr. Schaefer proposed giving Hardy a rectal examination of his prostate during the appointment. Id. Hardy does not allege whether the proposed prostate examine was intended to address Hardy's urinary condition, but alleges that Dr. Schaefer did not "prescribe any treatment for Mr. Hardy's pain and difficulty urinating." Id.

On September 23, 2011, Hardy had an appointment with Dr. Carter during which he complained about his continuing pain. Id. ¶ 37. During this appointment "a catheter was discussed as a possible course of action but not prescribed." Id. Dr. Carter changed Hardy's pain-relief prescription from Tramadol to Naprosyn. Id.

On December 19, 2011, Hardy went to a "sick call" where he was seen by a physician's assistant and a medical technician who informed Hardy that they could not treat or prescribe anything for his symptoms and scheduled Hardy for an appointment with Dr. Carter in February 2012. Id. ¶ 38. Hardy also had an appointment with Dr. Carter on January 10, 2012. Id. ¶ 39. Hardy had a colonoscopy on June 26, 2012. Id. ¶ 43.

On October 22, 2012, Hardy had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi for his continued pain and inability to urinate. Id. ¶ 40. Dr. Obaisi prescribed him "the medication Hytrin." Id. That same day Hardy also had an urinalysis. Id. ¶ 43. Hardy again saw Dr. Obaisi on November 21, 2012 about continued abdominal pain, and Dr. Obaisi "prescribed a pain reliever." Id. ¶ 41.

Eleven days later on December 2, 2012, Hardy alleges he was unable to urinate for 24 hours. Id. ¶ 42. More than a month later, Hardy had an ultrasound of his abdomen on January 9, 2013. Id. ¶ 43. Hardy had another appointment with Dr. Obaisi on January 28, 2013, but Dr. Obaisi "did not provide Mr. Hardy with a diagnosis or change the treatment of Hytrin that Mr. Hardy was receiving." Id. ¶ 44. Hardy also had appointments with Dr. Obaisi on February 9, 2013, during which he was prescribed medications for indigestion and constipation, and on February 22, 2013, during which he again complained about groin pain and problems urinating. Id. ¶ 46. Dr. Obaisi "prescribed pain medication, " and Hardy subsequently had a renal sonogram on April 30, 2013 and an urinalysis on May 22, 2013. Id. Hardy had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Obaisi on June 27, 2013, but Dr. Obaisi made no change in the medication Hardy was receiving. Id. ¶ 47.

Hardy makes no other allegation with respect to his abdomen pain or ability to urinate until December 20, 2013, when Hardy alleges that he was unable to urinate for approximately two days. Id. ¶ 48. Hardy then had another appointment with Dr. Obaisi on January 17, 2014, at which Dr. Obaisi instructed Hardy to take his Hytrin medication at a different time of day. Id. ¶ 49.

Hardy alleges that he "continues to experience severe pain in his side, kidney, thigh, and groin, " "[o]n some occasions, he is unable to urinate for 30 to 40 hours, " and "[h]e also has bloody stools during this period." Id. ¶ 50. He sums up his allegations with respect to this medical condition as follows:

Naprosyn did not treat Mr. Hardy's pain as effectively as Tramadol had. Mr. Hardy has experienced high blood pressure, possibly a result of his inability to urinate consistently. Despite reporting these symptoms to prison and Wexford officials regularly for more than three years, Mr. Hardy did not receive a diagnosis, much less an effective treatment regimen, during his time at Stateville. (Defendant Obaisi included a declaration with a Wexford court filing in this case diagnosing Mr. Hardy with chronic prostatitis, but this diagnosis had never been communicated to Mr. Hardy. (D.I. 75.)) The medicine Hytrin treats some symptoms, including high blood pressure, but not the underlying causes. Mr. Hardy had anxiety that the difficulty urinating could be caused by a urinary tract infection, an enlarged prostate, or some other unknown cause, any of which could have caused additional health problems if left untreated.


3. Left Eye

Hardy also alleges that on May 10, 2011, he was poked in the eye and experienced pain and bleeding from his eyeball. R. 85 ¶ 53. The next day, Hardy saw Dr. Shute who referred Hardy to an ophthalmologist. Id. ¶ 54. Hardy saw the ophthalmologist the day after that, who prescribed an ointment and recommended a follow-up appointment in six months. Id. ¶ 55. Several days later on May 16, Dr. Shute also prescribed tinted glasses for Hardy. Id. ¶ 56. However, Dr. Shute did not provide Hardy with a permit for the glasses and they were confiscated by prison officials. Id. Hardy alleges that he continues to experience pain, blurred vision, and difficulty seeing out of his left eye, but that his requests for a follow-up with an ophthalmologist have gone unheeded. Id. ¶¶ 57-58.

4. Right Ring Finger

On May 15, 2012, Hardy's hand became "jammed in a weight machine in the gym, and a 180-pound weight fell on it." R. 85 ¶ 19. As a result, Hardy was unable to bend or straighten his right ring finger, " and "was in serious pain." Id.

When Hardy visited the medical unit at the prison for treatment Dr. Shute and Dr. Funk observed Hardy's injured finger "in passing and remarked that it looked broken." Id. ¶ 22. However, Hardy did not receive treatment for his finger that day. Id. Hardy visited the medical unit again the next day and spoke with Dr. Shute, Dr. Funk, and Warden Hardy, but did not receive treatment. Id. ¶ 23.

The day after that, on May 17, Hardy had an appointment with Dr. Shute who scheduled an x-ray for May 21, 2012. Id. ¶ 24. Hardy alleges that the "x-ray revealed degenerative joint disease in Mr. Hardy's hand and wrist, " but Dr. Shute "failed to diagnose or treat Mr. Hardy's right ring finger." Id.

On July 14, 2013, Hardy reinjured his right ring finger, and had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi on July 19, 2013. Id. ¶ 26. Dr. Obaisi took an x-ray of Hardy's hand, "which revealed the prior break in Mr. Hardy's right ring finger, " but Dr. Obaisi "asserted that the break did not occur from the May 15, 2012 weight-room accident." Id.

Several weeks later in August 2013, Hardy had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi. Id. ¶ 27. Hardy alleges that Dr. Obaisi "promised to send Mr. Hardy to an orthopedist, " but that this never happened. Id. Hardy also alleges that Dr. Obaisi prescribed a brace for Hardy's right ring finger. Id. A nurse measured Hardy for the brace in September 2013. Id. ¶ 28.

The next month on October 13, 2013, Hardy had an appointment with Dr. Obaisi about "the continuing pain in his ring finger, " and Dr. Obaisi diagnosed "a dislocated proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint." Id. ¶ 29. Hardy alleges he again requested the prescribed brace on November 1 and 6, 2013, at appointments with nurses. Id. ¶ 30.

Hardy alleges he had another x-ray on December 25, 2013, and that he requested a brace during that appointment. Id. ¶ 31. Hardy alleges that he complained about his finger to a nurse on January 22, 2014, and that a "physician's assistant" told him at an appointment on February 6, 2014, that "the x-ray showed that [his] finger had been either newly fractured or refractured." Id. Hardy alleges that he never received a brace and has been prescribed only ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief. Id. ¶ 32.

5. Mental Illness

Hardy alleges that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and attention deficit disorder. R. 85 ¶ 64. He also alleges that he takes "numerous medications for these disorders, " and he "regularly attends therapy sessions." Id.

Stateville was placed on lockdown for 17 days from June 10 through 27, 2012, and again for 23 days from July 11 through August 3, 2012. Id. ¶ 66. Hardy's mother passed away the day before the second lockdown. Id. ¶ 65. During the lockdown periods, including the time immediately after his mother's death, Hardy alleges that he was prevented from visiting a health care clinic to renew his prescription medications for his mental illnesses and attend therapy sessions. Id. ¶ 66. His mother's death, combined with his inability to access medication or therapy, "caused Mr. Hardy to feel depressed, powerless, and helpless, " id. ¶ 65, as well as "distressed and suicidal, " id. ¶ 71.

Stateville was again placed on lockdown for most of June through September 2013, and Hardy was again prevented from visiting a health care clinic to renew his prescription medications and attend therapy sessions during this time. Id. ¶ 67. Hardy alleges that he experienced "unnecessary distress" and "physical pain" during these time periods without his prescription medications. Id. ¶¶ 68, 70.

Additionally, Hardy alleges Stateville does not permit inmates to renew their prescription medications until they have seven days' worth of medication remaining. Id. ¶ 72. He alleges that this policy harms him because "Stateville[] and Defedant Wexford's officials... frequently take longer than a week to order and provide prescription refills, " which "frequently leaves inmates, including Mr. Hardy, without medication for days at a time." Id.

II. Hardy's Grievance Filings

In addition to alleging that various Defendants had knowledge of Hardy's medical conditions through treatment they provided him, Hardy alleges that all Defendants (except Dr. Schaefer and Dr. Carter) "had knowledge of" of Hardy's "serious medical conditions and lack of access to adequate medical care, including his complaints of side and groin pain, damaged eye, injured left shoulder, broken finger and degenerative joint disease, and lack of mental-health treatment, " from the 21 grievances Hardy filed between November 27, 2010 and March 23, 2014. R. 85 ¶¶ 82-83, 86-87, 96-97, 116-17, 138-39, 156-57.[2] Hardy does not allege how he knows each particular defendant received his grievances. He also does not allege the specific content of any of the grievances he filed.

Hardy also alleges that Dr. Ghosh, Dr. Obaisi, Dr. Shute, and Dr. Funk each served as Stateville's medical director at various points during the time period of Hardy's allegations. Id. ¶¶ 7, 11-13. On this basis, as well as Hardy's grievances, Hardy alleges these four doctors "had knowledge of" the other defendant doctors' "failure to treat" Hardy's medical conditions. Id. ¶¶ 97, 117, 139, 157.


As an initial matter, Defendants argue that the complaint should be dismissed because it violates Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b) by failing to allege specific counts against each defendant for conduct directly attributable to them. R. 92 at 1, 4. The Court agrees that alleging separate counts against each defendant would have made Hardy's complaint clearer and easier to address, both for Defendants and the Court. Nevertheless, the body of Hardy's complaint contains separate sections about each defendant and each injury that form the bases of Hardy's claims against that defendant. In this way, the complaint provides sufficient notice to Defendants ...

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