United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Thomas M. Durkin, United States District Judge
Nesbitt is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at Stateville
Correctional Center in Illinois. He alleges that IDOC staff
and Stateville medical personnel discriminated against him on
the basis of his disabilities in violation of the Americans
with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act (Counts I
& II), and were deliberately indifferent to his medical
needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Count III). R.
19. Specifically, Nesbitt has sued Stateville's former
Warden, Tarry Williams; former Stateville administrator Nancy
Pounovich; former Acting Director of the IDOC, Gladyse
Taylor; and Dr. Saleh Obaisi, and alleges that they are
responsible for failing to provide Nesbitt with (1) a thicker
mattress to alleviate his back and hip pain, and (2) special
handcuffs that would have enabled him to visit medical
specialists outside the prison without experiencing pain.
Id. Defendants have moved to dismiss for failure to
a state claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). R. 29; R. 33. For the following reasons,
Defendants' motions are granted in part and denied in
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.” Ashcroft 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.'” Iqbal, 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 the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.'” Mann v.
Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013) (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.
2009, Nesbitt sustained back and right hip injuries while
moving heavy boxes up a set of stairs at Stateville. R. 19
¶ 10. Nesbitt alleges that he has suffered
“excruciating pain in his lower back, right leg, right
hip, and foot, as well as sciatica, ” ever since.
Id. ¶ 11.
primary claim is that Defendants have prevented him from
traveling to receive prescribed medical services by refusing
to accommodate his physical condition by using “medical
restraint” handcuffs rather than “black
box” hancuffs during transport. Nesbitt alleges that he
refuses to travel wearing the black box restraints because
they cause him “tremendous pain.” Id.
¶ 14. According to the Seventh Circuit, “
[t]he ‘black box' is a hard plastic box placed over
the lock apparatus that runs between the prisoner's
handcuffs. The box does not cover the hands, but is situated
between them. A chain runs through the box and encircles the
prisoner's waist. The chain is tightened and then locked
in back so that the prisoner's hand, restrained by
handcuffs and the black box, are pulled against his
Id. ¶ 14 n.2 (quoting Knox v.
McGinnis, 998 F.2d 1405, 1407 (7th Cir. 1993)).
Stateville sometimes uses “medical restraints, ”
as an alternative to “black box” restraints,
id. ¶ 14, presumably because they accommodate
certain physical conditions. In fact, Nesbitt was allowed to
use medical restraints for trips in 2012 and 2013.
Id. ¶ 18.
saw a doctor in 2012 who diagnosed him with arthritis.
Id. ¶ 12. Nesbitt sought a second opinion
through the prison grievance process. Id. While his
request was pending, Nesbitt slipped and fell on an icy
sidewalk on March 23, 2015. Id. ¶ 17. After his
fall, Nesbitt was taken to Stateville's healthcare unit
for an examination. Id. ¶ 19. Defendant Dr.
Saleh Obaisi examined Nesbitt and prescribed an x-ray.
Id. Nesbitt told Dr. Obaisi he would not be able to
travel to receive the x-ray without a prescription for
“medical restraints.” Id. ¶ 19.
Despite Nesbitt's use of “medical restraints”
in the past, Dr. Obaisi refused Nesbitt's request.
Id. Nevertheless, Nesbitt eventually traveled to see
a doctor at the University of Illinois in June 2015.
Id. ¶ 13. It is not clear from Nesbitt's
complaint whether this visit to the University of Illinois
was in response to Dr. Obaisi's prescription for an x-ray
or Nesbitt's grievance seeking a second opinion on his
arthritis diagnosis. It is also not clear whether Nesbitt was
provided with medical restraints or black box restraints for
this trip. In any case, Nesbitt alleges that the doctor he
saw at the University of Illinois in June 2015 prescribed hip
replacement surgery. Id. ¶ 13. Nesbitt alleges
that he has not received this treatment because he refuses to
travel to appointments without medical restraints, which he
alleges he continues to be denied.
addition to the failure to provide medical restraints,
Nesbitt also alleges that, “on several occasions in
2013, ” he requested a “thicker mattress to help
cope with [his] pain.” Id. ¶ 15. He
alleges that defendant Nancy Pounovich reviewed his grievance
request for the mattress. Id. Nesbitt alleges he
received a notice that his request had been granted, but he
never received the mattress. Id.
ADA and Rehabilitation Act Claims
II of the ADA (which is at issue here) and the Rehabilitation
Act are “functionally identical, ” such that
courts often construe them as a single claim. See Wagoner
v. Lemmon, 778 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 2015); see
also Jaros v. Illinois Dep't of Corr., 684 F.3d 667,
671 (7th Cir. 2012) (“the ...