United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division
G. Reinhard Judge.
following reasons, the court grants in part and denies in
part the motion to dismiss  filed by defendants John
O'Brien, John Crisham, and Wexford. The court grants in
part the motion to dismiss  filed by defendants John
Varga and John Baldwin. Defendants Dr. John Crisham and John
Baldwin are dismissed as defendants. The court stays all
pleading and discovery requirements for defendant Varga,
named only in his official capacity for purposes of
matter arises out of plaintiff Juan Gonzalez's amended
complaint , in which he alleges that at all relevant
times he was an inmate at Dixon Correctional Center, and
defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs
when they repeatedly denied him dentures because he could not
pay for them.
the court are two motions to dismiss. As an initial matter,
defendants John Varga, Warden at Dixon Correctional Center,
and John Baldwin, Medical Director for the IDOC (“the
IDOC defendants”), have filed a motion to dismiss the
claims against them, which include a claim for injunctive
relief. See ; . In the motion, the IDOC
defendants argue that plaintiff has not stated a claim
against them for any wrongdoing, including deliberate
indifference; they also argue that defendant Baldwin is not
an appropriate party to effectuate injunctive relief. See
id. In plaintiff's response to the motion, he
explains that he is not claiming wrongdoing by the IDOC
defendants, and concedes that they were named only in their
official capacities to effectuate injunctive relief in the
event he is successful in this lawsuit; plaintiff has no
objection to defendant Baldwin being dismissed in the event
that defendant Varga is the proper party to effectuate
injunctive relief. See . In the IDOC
defendants' reply, they do not appear to oppose defendant
Varga being named in this limited capacity, but ask that all
pleading and discovery requirements be stayed. See
. The court agrees, dismisses defendant Baldwin, and
stays all pleading and discovery requirements for defendant
Varga at the present time.
defendants John O'Brien, John Crisham, and Wexford have
filed a joint Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss all claims in
plaintiff's amended complaint  directed against them.
See . Plaintiff has filed a response  and
defendants have filed a reply . The matter is now ripe
for the court's review.
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. See Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of
Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009).
Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must 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 short
and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted).
Under federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, 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) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “In reviewing the
sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard,
[courts] accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as
true.” Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d
662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013).
noted, the amended complaint  claims that defendants John
O'Brien, John Crisham, and Wexford were deliberately
indifferent to plaintiff's medical needs by requiring
payment before providing him with dentures. Dr. O'Brien
argues that plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to
state a claim for deliberate indifference. Dr. Crisham joins
Dr. O'Brien's argument, but also argues that the
claims against him are untimely. Wexford also joins Dr.
O'Brien's argument and argues further that plaintiff
has failed to adequately plead Monell liability. The
court will analyze the claims against each defendant in turn.
court also notes that defendants argue in their motion that
the amended complaint contains redundant counts for Eighth
Amendment violations in Counts I and III. Plaintiff points
out in his response that the reference to Eighth Amendment
violations in Count III was a scrivener's error because
it alleges a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection violation.
At this early stage, the court will allow both claims to
proceed against Dr. O'Brien.
Crisham points out that the only time he is alleged to have
examined plaintiff was on May 25, 2011. See  at
¶ 11. According to plaintiff, he “was still able
to chew and swallow solid food” at that time, but
“he was having some problems chewing food, because of
the locations of missing teeth.” Id. Thus,
“in order to make chewing easier, [plaintiff] asked Dr.
Crisham if he could prepare dentures for him.”
Id. Dr. Crisham stated that he would prepare
dentures for $170.00, but ultimately refused to prepare the
dentures when plaintiff advised that he did not have $170.00
in his account. See  at ¶ 11-12.
Crisham argues that because plaintiff's amended complaint
does not allege his personal involvement other than the May
25, 2011 incident, plaintiff's claims against him are
untimely because plaintiff's complaint was filed in 2016.
As an initial matter, the court notes that such an argument
appears to have been foreclosed by the Seventh Circuit due to
the doctrine of continuing violation when treatment is
denied. See Jervis v. Mitcheff, 258 F. App'x 3,
5-6 (7th Cir. 2007) (“The statute of limitations
commences anew every day that treatment is withheld, so in
this case it does not matter whether [plaintiff] sued more
than two years after he saw [the defendant physician] for the
first and only time.”); Cesal v. Moats, ___
F.3d ___ 2017 WL 1046113, *5-6 (7th Cir. Mar. 20, 2017)
(“When a plaintiff alleges that inaction is leading to
an ongoing harm, he can reach back to its beginning . . . .
[Plaintiff] was not required to sue until after the unlawful
conduct ended. But [plaintiff] says it never ended while he
was at [the prison]; he alleges that [the defendant
physician's] deliberate indifference ended only on March
28, 2011, when [plaintiff] was transferred to [another
prison] and thus out of [the defendant physician's]
the court agrees that Dr. Crisham limited involvement in
plaintiff's care merits dismissal because plaintiff's
allegations against Dr. Crisham are insufficient to state a
claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.
In Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588 (7th Cir. 2001),
the Seventh Circuit found that a plaintiff had demonstrated
“a serious medical need for his dentures” where
he alleged “that he has been unable to chew his food
without his dentures, significantly impeding his ability to
eat, and that he has suffered bleeding, headaches, and
‘disfigurement.'” Id. at 593. Here,
in contrast, plaintiff alleged that at the time he met with
Dr. Crisham he could chew solid food but simply wanted
dentures “in order to make chewing easier.”
See  at ¶ 11. Plaintiff does not allege, as
he does regarding several later visits to Dr. O'Brien,
that he complained to Dr. Crisham on May 25, 2011 of extreme
pain or other related symptoms. Further, plaintiff does not
allege that Dr. Crisham was personally involved in his
treatment when his condition worsened and developed into a
serious medical need for dentures. See Palmer v. Marion
County, 327 F.3d 588, 594 (7th Cir. 2003)
(“[L]awsuits against individuals require personal
involvement in the alleged constitutional deprivation to
support a viable claim.”). As such, plaintiff's