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Bogan v. Wexford Health Sources

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

March 1, 2017



          MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, District Judge:

         Plaintiff Antonio Bogan has sued Wexford Health Sources and a number of correctional officers and employees at Stateville Correctional Center's Northern Reception Center (NRC). Bogan alleges that certain defendants violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment by denying him necessary medical care and unjustly subjecting him to discipline. Bogan also alleges that certain defendants failed to conduct his disciplinary hearing consistent with due process. He also asserts a conversion claim under Illinois law arising from the deprivation of his personal property. Defendants Jose Suero, Christopher Markee, Jon Wiles, Charles Best, Brenna George, and Debbie Knauer have moved to dismiss Bogan's claims against them for failure to state a claim.


         The Court takes the facts from the allegations in Bogan's third amended complaint. Bogan was processed into the NRC on March 24, 2015. Approximately ten days later, he experienced blood in his stool; pain in his penis when urinating; and pain in his stomach, groin, and teeth. Bogan sent multiple request slips to the Healthcare Unit describing his medical problems. He also communicated his problems to correctional staff. When he did not receive a response, he filed a grievance on July 12, 2015. A correctional counselor answered Bogan's grievance and requested that a doctor and dentist visit him. But he still did not receive medical attention. Bogan resubmitted his grievance multiple times over a two-month period. When his grievances remained unanswered, Bogan submitted an emergency grievance on September 14, 2015. Nine days later Bogan found his grievance form returned to him, signed by the Chief Administrative Officer, with a direction to submit a grievance in the normal manner.

         On October 5, 2015, Bogan experienced nausea, severe stomach pains, and blood in his vomit and stool while in his cell in the U-gallery. He notified the on-duty correctional officer, who informed Bogan that a nurse would visit him. When three hours passed without seeing a nurse, Bogan yelled out for the correctional officer. Defendant Jose Suero responded that he was not the gallery officer and could not help Bogan. Bogan then pressed the emergency call button in his cell. An unknown correctional officer answered his call. After Bogan explained his condition and attempts to get medical attention, the unknown officer told him, "That's not a medical emergency" and "Talk to your gallery officer." Bogan explained that Suero had refused to help and that he needed medical attention as soon as possible. The unknown officer responded, "Well good luck with getting out your cell to Health Care, " and he disconnected the call.

         Bogan then opened his chuckhole, poured water into the gallery, and yelled to Suero that he needed medical help and wanted to see a sergeant or a lieutenant. Suero yelled, "F--- you! You ain't speaking to no one, " and then he left the gallery. When Suero returned with defendant Christopher Markee, an acting sergeant, Bogan explained his condition to them. They refused to help, prompting Bogan to again pour water into the gallery in an attempt to get medical help or to get a sergeant or lieutenant to speak to him. Suero and Markee then left the gallery and returned with defendant Jon Wiles, a sergeant. When Bogan explained his condition, Wiles responded by threatening to spray Bogan with mace if he didn't "cuff up.'" Suero, Markee, and Wiles then took Bogan in handcuffs to the B-gallery and placed him in disciplinary segregation there. Later, Bogan visited the healthcare unit and was seen by a nurse. The following day, a doctor examined him and prescribed a hemorrhoid cream and Fiberlax caps.

         After taking Bogan to the B-gallery, Wiles directed Suero and Markee to transfer Bogan's personal property from his U-gallery cell to his B-gallery cell. Suero and Markee delivered Bogan's property to an unknown correctional officer, who then delivered it to Bogan's B-gallery cell. Neither Suero nor Markee prepared the required inventory sheet to identify the property removed from Bogan's U-gallery cell. Bogan discovered that items were missing. His verbal and grievance requests to return the missing items were denied.

         On October 7, 2015, an adjustment committee comprising defendants Charles Best and Brenna George[1] held a hearing based on a disciplinary report submitted by Suero. Bogan alleges that Suero's report gave a false account of the incident on October 5. Bogan also alleges that Best and George did not permit him to present or view evidence that would contradict Suero's report and that they did not seek or obtain corroborating evidence from Markee or Wiles. Best and George found Bogan guilty of assaulting a staff member and of damaging or misusing property. They sentenced him to one year of disciplinary segregation, among other punishments. Defendant Debbie Knauer, a member of the administrative review board, approved the sanction.


         Suero, Markee, Wiles, Best, George, and Knauer have moved to dismiss Bogan's claims against them for failure to state a claim. To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Detailed factual allegations are not necessary. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). But the plaintiff must allege enough facts to raise his right to relief above a speculative level. Huon v. Denton, 841 F.3d 733, 742 (7th Cir. 2016).

         1. Count 2 - Eighth Amendment claim regarding disciplinary segregation

         In count 2 of his third amended complaint, Bogan alleges that defendants Suero, Markee, Wiles, Best, George, and Knauer violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment in connection with the imposition of a one year term in disciplinary segregation. Specifically, Bogan alleges that Suero, Markee, and Wiles participated in his unjust placement in segregation and that Best, George, and Knauer participated in the imposition of unjustly severe punishment.

         The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are met: (1) the deprivation alleged must be objectively, sufficiently serious, and (2) the prison official must have a sufficiently culpable state of mind. See, e.g., Pearson v. Ramos, 237 F.3d 881, 889 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)).

         At issue is whether Bogan has alleged enough facts to permit an inference that his sanction of one year in disciplinary segregation constitutes an objectively, sufficiently serious deprivation. An inmate can allege a sufficient deprivation two ways: by alleging how conditions in segregation posed a substantial risk of serious harm, or by alleging the segregation sanction was grossly disproportionate to the ...

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