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Jones v. Williams

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division

August 31, 2016




         Before the Court is the Defendants', Dan Williams, Amy Damm, Adeyami O. Fatoki, and Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc., Motion to Dismiss Counts III, IV, and V of the Plaintiff Sylvia Jones' Fifth Amended Complaint (Doc. 175), and the Plaintiff's response (Doc. 180) along with the Defendants' reply (Doc. 183). For the reasons set forth below, the Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.


         On June 7, 2013, Plaintiff Emmanuel Hoskins[1] filed his pro se Complaint, bringing claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that arose from his medical treatment in Henry County Jail. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that while awaiting trial on federal charges in Henry County Jail, he sought medical care for various complaints, including back pain, chest pain, and stomach pain. The Defendants' actions related to his requests for medical care form the basis of his Complaint. Plaintiff was eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer and passed away on February 8, 2016.

         After pro bono counsel was appointed by the Court (Doc. 31), counsel filed a Third Amended Complaint on July 16, 2015, alleging six counts: 1) deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition; 2) failure to intervene; 3) a § 1983 conspiracy claim; 4) an official capacity claim against Henry County and Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc.; 5) a state law indemnification claim; and 6) a state law medical malpractice claim against Doctors Fatoki and Williams. Defendants included employees of Henry County Jail (“jail defendants”), and employees of Correctional, Healthcare Companies, Inc. (“medical defendants”). The jail defendants moved for summary judgment for all related counts (Doc. 120), which the District Court granted (Doc. 133), leaving the medical defendants in the case.

         On July 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Fifth Amended Complaint[2] (Doc. 174), alleging several counts, including: COUNT III: conspiracy to violate constitutional rights against all individual defendants; COUNT IV: Monell Policy of Deprivation against Defendants Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc., Correct Care Solutions, LLC, and Henry County; COUNT V: state law indemnification. These counts of the Fifth Amended Complaint are identical to those same counts alleged in the Third Amended Complaint considered by the Court on summary judgment. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts III, IV, and V of the Fifth Amended Complaint on July 25, 2016 (Doc 175).


         The Court may grant a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if the complaint fails to set forth “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). The Court reviews all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705 F.3d 603, 609 (7th Cir. 2013). When considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim, well-pleaded facts are taken as true, but legal conclusions and conclusory allegations only reciting the elements of a claim are not entitled to be presumed true. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009); see also Jackson v. E.J. Brach Corp, 176 F.3d 971 (7th Cir. 1999) (“[a] complaint which consists of conclusory allegations unsupported by factual assertions fails even the liberal standard of Rule 12(b)(6)”). While there is no specific degree of specificity, “the plaintiff must give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds together.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011), quoting Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010).


         The Defendants argue that Count III should be dismissed because the remaining defendants are members of the same corporate entity, and a corporation cannot conspire with itself under the intracorporate conspiracy doctrine. Defendants also argue that under the “law of the case” doctrine, the Court has already granted summary judgment on Count III.

         The Plaintiff responds that Defendants' Motion is untimely because they failed to raise this defense when they answered Count III of Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. (Doc. 180, p.4). Plaintiff also argues that in the Seventh Circuit, the doctrine of intracorporate conspiracy generally does not apply to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cases.

         As an initial matter, the Defendants' Motion to dismiss is not untimely. The intracorporate conspiracy doctrine issue did not arise until the jail defendants were dismissed by the Court. The first opportunity for the Defendants to move to dismiss arose after the Plaintiff brought his Fifth Amended Complaint, alleging conspiracy between the current Defendants only.

         Neither does the “law of the case” doctrine require dismissal. The doctrine does not apply here because the Court specifically applied summary judgment to the jail defendants and not the medical defendants. (Doc. 133, p. 33, 37).

         The law of the case doctrine posits that “when a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case.” Pepper v. United States, 562 U.S. 476, 506 (2011), quoting Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618 (1983). When the Court made its determination in the Summary Judgment to dismiss the jail defendants on Count III, the Court found that the Plaintiff's circumstantial evidence was insufficient to meet his burden. (Doc. 133, p. 33). In the Summary ...

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