United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MARILYN JOHNSON, individually and as Administrator of the Estate of NORMAN JOHNSON, deceased, Plaintiff,
COOK COUNTY SHERIFF, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. DARRAH, United States District Court Judge.
January 7, 2016, Plaintiff, Marilyn Johnson, individually and
as the Administrator of the Estate of Norman Johnson, filed
her First Amended Complaint against Defendant Olufemi Ajala
and twenty-four other Defendants, alleging violations of the
Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Ajala has
filed a Motion to Dismiss  claims against him pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim for which relief can be granted. For the reasons
discussed below, the Motion to Dismiss  is granted.
following facts are drawn from the First Amended Complaint
("FAC") filed by Plaintiff, Marilyn Johnson, and
are accepted as true for purposes of the Motion to Dismiss.
See Reger Dev., LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, 592F.3d
759, 763 (7th Cir. 2010).
is the administrator of the estate of Norman Johnson
("Johnson"). On January 3, 2014, Johnson was
arrested and charged with the possession of a controlled
substance. (FAC ¶ 12.) Johnson was admitted to the Cook
County Jail; and, on January 5, 2014, he underwent a medical
intake screening conducted by a team of medical professionals
that included Defendant Olufemi Ajala (“Ajala”).
(Id. ¶ 15-16, 19, 21.) Ajala was an employee or
an agent of Cermak Health Services or of Cook County.
(Id. ¶ 11.)
the intake medical screening process, Johnson provided his
history of having been enrolled in a daily methadone
treatment program for nine years, that his last dose of
methadone had been administered two days previously, and that
he was experiencing symptoms of methadone withdrawal.
(Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges that each of the
members of the screening team, including Ajala, knew or
should have known that without continuation of his methadone
treatment regimen, Johnson was at high risk of cardiac
arrest, respiratory depression and/or death due to the
effects of abrupt methadone withdrawal. (Id. ¶
22.) Plaintiff alleges that Ajala failed to provide Johnson
with medication or treatment to avoid serious health risks
caused by abrupt methadone withdrawal. (Id. ¶
was assigned to housing in Division 2, Dorm 1 at the Cook
County Jail, which houses inmates with special medical or
other needs and provides constant visual surveillance by
correctional officers. (Id. ¶ 26). On January
7, 2014, a Cook County Jail Officer found Johnson having a
seizure, a faint pulse, and agonal respiration. (Id.
¶ 30.) After CPR was begun and emergency services
notified, Johnson was taken by an ambulance and was
pronounced dead on arrival at St. Anthony Hospital.
(Id. ¶¶ 35, 36.) Johnson's autopsy
determined that the cause of death was related to methadone
toxicity. (Id. ¶ 36.)
12(b)(6) permits a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must 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). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). However,
plaintiffs are not required to “plead the elements of a
cause of action along with facts supporting each
element.” Runnion ex rel. Runnion v. Girl Scouts of
Greater Chicago & Nw. Indiana, 786 F.3d 510, 517
(7th Cir. 2015). Rather, the complaint must provide a
defendant “with ‘fair notice' of the claim
and its basis.” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526
F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)
and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). When evaluating a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court accepts the complaint's
well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draws all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56.
of the FAC alleges that Ajala violated Plaintiff's
Fourteenth Amendment rights for deliberate indifference to
Johnson's medical condition. (FAC ¶¶ 42-45.)
Ajala has moved to dismiss Count I of the FAC on the basis
that the FAC, as pleaded, does not plausibly show that Ajala
caused Plaintiff's alleged injury through deliberate
establish deliberate indifference to a medical condition, a
prisoner must show a condition that is sufficiently serious
(objective component) and that an official acted with a
sufficiently culpable state of mind in failing to address the
condition (subjective component).” Walker v.
Benjamin, 293 F.3d 1030, 1037 (7th Cir. 2002); see
also Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-06 (1976);
Smith v. Coe, 2016 WL 4540908, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Aug.
31, 2016). “[T]he standard for deliberate indifference
is satisfied by something less than acts or omissions for the
very purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm will
result.” Walker, 293 F.3d at 1037. Plaintiff,
by claiming deliberate indifference, does not need to prove
that the prison officials intended, hoped for, or desired the
harm that occurred. Id. It is enough for Plaintiff
to show that the Defendant actually knew of a substantial
risk of harm to the prisoner and acted or failed to act in
disregard of that risk. Id.
concedes that Plaintiff sufficiently alleged the objective
element of deliberate indifference. (Def.'s Reply at 3.)
With respect to the subjective element of the
deliberate-indifference claim, however, Ajala argues that the
FAC fails to state a claim for deliberate indifference.
the subjective component of deliberate indifference, an
official “must both be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.”
Smith, 2016 WL 4540908, at *2-3 (citations omitted).
In the case when an official reasonably ...