United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Edmond E. Chang United States District Judge.
Ollison brought this Section 1983 lawsuit against a slew of
correctional and medical personnel at two Illinois Department
of Corrections (IDOC) prisons. R. 1, Compl. He claims that,
while incarcerated, the Defendants ignored his chronic kidney
disease, causing him to suffer acute renal failure in January
2014. Id. Several of the Defendants filed motions to
dismiss part of the Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. R. 38,
Hardy's Mot. to Dismiss; R. 62, Stateville Wexford
Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss; R. 69, Nicholson's Mot. to
Dismiss; R. 48, IDOC Ill. River Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss,
Sever and Transfer; R. 93, Gossett's Suppl. Mot. to
Dismiss. The Illinois River Defendants also moved to transfer
the entire case to the Central District of Illinois (where
Illinois River is located), or alternatively to sever the
claims against the Illinois River Defendants and transfer
those to the Central District, R. 61, Wexford Defs.' Mot.
to Transfer; R. 78, Einwohner, Sword, and Maurice's
Suppl. Mot. to Transfer; R. 87, Reynolds's Suppl. Mot. to
Transfer. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants
the motions to dismiss (rendering the motions to sever moot),
leaving only the claims against certain Illinois River
Defendants intact. The Court also grants the motions to
transfer this lawsuit to the Central District of Illinois.
purposes of this Opinion, the facts alleged in the Complaint
are accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007). At all times relevant to the Complaint,
Ollison was a prisoner in IDOC custody. Compl. ¶ 6.
Ollison's claims arise out of his treatment-or rather,
the lack thereof-at two of the facilities where he was
incarcerated, Stateville Northern Reception and
Classification Center (located in the Northern District of
Illinois) and Illinois River Correctional Center (located in
the Central District of Illinois). Id. Ollison was
imprisoned at Stateville for a short period from December
2011 to January 2012, when he was transferred to Illinois
River. Id. ¶¶ 50, 55.
had already been diagnosed with Stage III chronic kidney
disease when he arrived at Stateville. Compl. ¶ 48. He
also suffered from proteinuria, nephrotic syndrome,
hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. Id. Before
Stateville, Ollison had been detained at the Kankakee County
Detention Center, where he received adequate medical
treatment, including frequent laboratory work-ups.
Id. ¶¶ 47, 49. Ollison took medication to
regulate his various conditions-including the kidney
disease-and had regular appointments with a nephrologist to
monitor his status. Id. ¶ 49.
medical care deteriorated upon his arrival at Stateville. At
intake, he was interviewed by Defendant Sarah Mays, a
registered nurse, about his medical history, and given a
physical examination by Dr. Steven Taller and Mary Schwarz, a
physician's assistant. Compl. ¶ 50. Although Ollison
told Mays, Taller, and Schwarz about his chronic kidney
disease and other medical conditions, none of them noted that
information in Ollison's medical chart. Id.
¶ 51. Nor did Stateville's medical personnel
independently discover Ollison's kidney disease, even
though laboratory tests performed by Dr. Taller yielded
abnormal results suggestive of the disease. Id.
¶ 53. For these reasons, and because no one obtained
Ollison's medical records from Kankakee, the kidney
disease was omitted from Ollison's charts and he did not
receive the care that he needed. Id. ¶ 54.
January 16, 2012, Ollison was transferred to Illinois River.
Compl. ¶ 55. His transfer screening report-completed at
Stateville-did not note that Ollison had a kidney disease.
Id. When Ollison underwent an intake reception
screening at Illinois River, the medical personnel there
recorded that he had “no significant
history”-despite Ollison informing them of his kidney
problem-and that his “problem list was updated, ”
yet the list did not note the kidney disease or any of
Ollison's other conditions. Id. ¶¶
62-63. Ollison's kidney disease remained unrecorded by
Illinois River personnel over the next several months,
despite several abnormal laboratory results that should have
revealed it. Id. ¶¶ 66-69. After July
2012, no laboratory tests were performed on Ollison until
March 2013-at which time they came back with seriously
abnormal readings, including a high level of urine protein.
Id. ¶¶ 70-71. It was only at this point
that Ollison's prison doctor referred him to a
nephrologist. Id. ¶¶ 72-73.
nephrologist saw Ollison in March and April 2013, and ordered
various tests. Compl. ¶¶ 74-79. But neither the
nephrologist nor Ollison's primary care physician
developed a comprehensive treatment plan to control the
disease. Id. ¶¶ 79-80. What's more,
Ollison's appointments with the nephrologist were
discontinued after April 2013. Id. ¶ 81. In
July 2013, Illinois River received Ollison's medical
records from Kankakee County Detention Center; the records
traced the history of Ollison's kidney disease.
Id. ¶ 84. But even after receiving these
records, the Illinois River medical staff still did not take
affirmative actions to monitor or manage his condition.
Id. ¶ 85.
November 2013, Ollison began to feel unwell. He complained of
sluggishness, dry mouth, chills, shortness of breath, and a
salty taste in his mouth that refused to go away. Compl.
¶ 87. He began vomiting regularly for weeks on end, and
his face and legs started to swell. Id. He went days
without urinating. Id. Although he informed the
medical staff many times about these symptoms-which were
classic signs of renal failure-Ollison received no treatment
for his kidneys. Id. ¶¶ 86, 88-89. Indeed,
the medical staff failed to order so much as a laboratory
test, much less refer Ollison to a nephrologist. Id.
¶¶ 90-91. All they did was take Ollison's blood
pressure and treat him for acid indigestion and heartburn.
Id. ¶ 93.
filed three grievances complaining of his lack of treatment,
two in December 2013 and one in January 2014. Compl. ¶
94. In the grievances, Ollison “begg[ed] … to
have [himself] fully checked out, ” stressing that
“there is no way [his] body should be reacting this
way.” Id. ¶ 95. But his complaints were
dismissed as “moot” and not an emergency, or
ignored entirely. Id. ¶¶ 96, 98, 100-01.
December 30, 2013, after repeatedly vomiting throughout the
day, Ollison collapsed on the floor of his cell and began
writhing in pain and shivering and shaking uncontrollably.
Compl. ¶¶ 105-07. His cellmate hit the emergency
button, calling a corrections officer over. Id.
¶ 106. The corrections officer sent for a nurse, but
when she arrived she merely gave Ollison Ibuprofen and
Maalox. Id. ¶ 108. Over the next two weeks,
Ollison saw a number of physician's assistants, nurses,
and doctors at Illinois River, but all of them dismissed his
complaints, and no laboratory tests were performed until
January 16, 2014. Id. ¶¶ 109-114. Those
tests were reported to the nephrologist, who recommended that
Ollison be sent to the hospital immediately. Id.
was admitted to the emergency room at Graham Hospital and
diagnosed with acute renal failure. Compl. ¶ 117. Due to
the severity of Ollison's condition, he was transferred
from Graham to the larger St. Francis Medical Center in
Peoria, Illinois. Id. ¶ 119. There, Ollison
began hemodialysis. Id. ¶ 120. But by that
point, his condition was so serious that it soon led to
complications. He developed paralysis on his left side, and
began having seizures. Id. ¶ 121. He suffered
acute respiratory failure. Id. Eventually, he went
into a coma. Id. ¶ 126.
Ollison was a prisoner and ward of the state, the power to
make medical decisions on his behalf was vested in Greg
Gossett, the Warden at Illinois River. Compl. ¶ 124.
Gossett did not inform Ollison's family of his
hospitalization, and they only learned of it after a family
member called the prison to ask about Ollison's
whereabouts. Id. ¶ 125. After Ollison's
family discovered what had happened to him, they also learned
that a do-not-resuscitate order had been instituted for
Ollison-against their wishes-and were advised that “the
plug should be pulled.” Id. ¶ 127.
February, however, Ollison began to recover and was finally
discharged from the hospital in April 2014. Compl.
¶¶ 128-29. Although his condition has improved,
Ollison has not made a full recovery and will likely suffer
permanent injury, including the loss of full functionality in
his limbs and the loss of some mental functions. Id.
¶ 130. On January 15, 2016-nearly two years after he was
admitted to Graham Hospital with acute renal failure-Ollison
filed suit against the Defendants under Section 1983,
claiming that their deliberate indifference to his kidney
disease caused him injury and violated his Eighth Amendment
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint need
only include “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The Seventh Circuit has explained
that this rule “reflects a liberal notice pleading
regime, which is intended to ‘focus litigation on the
merits of a claim' rather than on technicalities that
might keep plaintiffs out of court.” Brooks v.
Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of
Chi. Lodge No. 7,570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). 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 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). These allegations
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...