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Ojeda v. Kramer

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

April 5, 2017

LUIS OJEDA, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF DONALD KRAMER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Honorable Marvin E. Aspen United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Luis Ojeda (“Ojeda”) filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Donald Kramer, Sheriff of Kane County (“Kramer”); James Lewis, Director of Kane County Jail (“Lewis”); Kathleen Sanchez, Medical Administrator of Kane County Jail (“Sanchez”); the Kane County Adult Justice Center (“Kane County Jail”); and the Kane County Sheriff's Office. Presently before us is a motion to dismiss Ojeda's second amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, filed by Defendants Kramer, Lewis, Kane County Jail, and Kane County Sheriff's Office. (Dkt. No. 34.)[1] For the reasons stated below, we grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion.

         BACKGROUND

         At the motion to dismiss stage, we accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true unless they are “threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1940 (2009); Katz-Crank v. Haskett, 843 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 2016). Plaintiff Ojeda's claims stem from his time as a pre-trial detainee at the Kane County Jail from April 8, 2015 until August 28, 2015. (2d Am. Compl. (Dkt. No. 24) ¶ 10.) Ojeda alleges that Defendants Kramer and Lewis were personally aware that he had leukemia cancer and that he received incorrect dosages of medication while in their custody at Kane County Jail. (Id. ¶¶ 27, 33, 35, 41.) He asserts that both Kramer and Lewis failed to intervene to correct the dosages. (Id.) He further alleges that he experienced jaundice, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, stomach and abdominal pain, severe discoloration of his urine, mucus in his stool, and other medical symptoms as a result of the improper dosages. (Id. ¶¶ 28, 36.) Ojeda contends Kramer and Lewis were aware of his worsening symptoms and his repeated requests for medical attention or treatment, and also knew that he received no medical attention or treatment. (Id. ¶¶ 28-31, 36-39.) Lastly, Ojeda alleges that Defendants Kramer and Lewis failed to provide adequate medical staffing and training, used reprimands and promotions to discourage staff from arranging medical treatment, and rewarded staff members who withheld treatment from detainees. (Id. ¶¶ 32, 40.)

         On August 19, 2015, Ojeda filed a pro se complaint under § 1983, and on November 10, 2015 we dismissed that complaint without prejudice and appointed counsel to represent Ojeda. (Dkt. No. 8.) After Ojeda filed an amended complaint on January 8, 2016 (Dkt. No. 10), Defendants moved to dismiss that complaint on July 28, 2016. (Dkt. No. 18.) Ojeda then filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint on September 1, 2016, which we granted on September 7, 2016. (Dkt. Nos. 20, 23.) Ojeda filed the operative second amended complaint (hereinafter “complaint”) on September 7, 2016, alleging Defendants Kramer, Lewis, Sanchez, the Kane County Jail, and the Kane County Sheriff's Office are liable pursuant to § 1983 because they violated his constitutional rights as a result of their deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. (Dkt. No. 24.)

         On November 22, 2016, Defendants Kramer, Lewis, Kane County Jail, and Kane County Sheriff's Office moved to dismiss Ojeda's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) urging that: (1) the complaint contains insufficient allegations regarding Kramer or Lewis' personal involvement, such that it fails to plausibly state a claim for their deliberate indifference to his medical needs; (2) the complaint does not allege sufficient facts to support a widespread policy of denying medical care to detainees, and therefore Plaintiff cannot sustain his claims against the Defendants in their official capacities pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978); and (3) the Kane County Jail is not a suable entity. (Mem. ISO Mot. to Dismiss (“Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 35) at 3, 5-6.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)); Katz-Crank, 843 F.3d at 646. “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; Yeftich v. Navistar, 722 F.3d 911, 915 (7th Cir. 2013). The plausibility standard “is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 540 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, we must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Reg., 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002).

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff Ojeda brings his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 1.) Ojeda was a pretrial detainee at Kane County Jail; therefore, his § 1983 claims arise under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause, not the Eighth Amendment. Budd v. Motley, 711 F.3d 840, 842 (7th Cir. 2013); Brown v. Budz, 398 F.3d 904, 910 (7th Cir. 2005). Nonetheless, “there is little practical difference between the two standards.” Budz, 398 F.3d at 910 (citing Weiss v. Cooley, 230 F.3d 1027, 1032 (7th Cir. 2000)) (internal quotations omitted); see also Heard v. Sheahan, 148 F.App'x. 539, 540 (7th Cir. 2005) (explaining that the Fourteenth Amendment analysis is “practically identical to the Eighth Amendment standard of deliberate indifference”). Accordingly, “we use the Eighth Amendment case law as a guide in evaluating his claims.” Budd, 711 F.3d at 842; accord. Rice ex rel. Rice v. Corr. Med. Servs., 675 F.3d 650, 664 (7th Cir. 2012).

         I. SECTION 1983 CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS KRAMER AND LEWIS IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES

         Defendants first move to dismiss Ojeda's claims against Defendants Kramer and Lewis in their individual capacities (Counts I and II). Defendants argue that Plaintiff pled insufficient facts regarding Kramer and Lewis' personal involvement to plausibly state a claim for their deliberate indifference to his medical needs. (Mem. at 3.) The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects pretrial detainees “against a lack of medical care that ‘may result in pain and suffering which no one suggests would serve any penological purpose.'” Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 828 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103, 97 S.Ct. 285, 290 (1976)); Holloway v. Delaware Cnty. Sheriff, 700 F.3d 1063, 1072 (7th Cir. 2012) (“The Supreme Court has interpreted the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, as incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, to impose a duty on states to provide adequate medical care to incarcerated individuals.” (internal quotations omitted)). Thus, “[p]rison officials violate the Constitution if they are deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical needs.” Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104, 97 S.Ct. at 291).

         “A claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need contains both an objective and a subjective component.” Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 652 (7th Cir. 2005). The plaintiff must allege “an objectively serious medical condition and an official's deliberate indifference to that condition.” Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015). Here, there is no dispute at the pleading stage regarding whether Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged his leukemia was a serious medical condition. Rather, Defendants contend Plaintiff has not adequately alleged they were deliberately indifferent. To satisfy this subjective component, a prisoner must demonstrate that the relevant official was both “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.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837, 114 S.Ct., 1920, 1979 (1994); see also Perez, 792 F.3d at 776 (“Deliberate indifference occurs when a defendant realizes that a substantial risk of serious harm to a prisoner exists, but then disregards that risk.”). “The deliberate indifference standard reflects a mental state somewhere between the culpability poles of negligence and purpose, and is thus properly equated with reckless disregard.” Perez, 792 F.3d at 777.

         Counts I and II concern the liability of Defendants Kramer and Lewis, the County Sheriff and the Director of Corrections, respectively. “Claims of deliberate indifference to medical needs are examined differently depending on whether the defendants in question are medical professionals or lay persons.” McGee v. Adams, 721 F.3d 474, 481 (7th Cir. 2013). Generally, non-medical prison officials are “entitled to relegate to the prison's medical staff the provision of good medical care.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 990 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 440 (7th Cir. 2010) (non-medical jail administrators are generally “entitled to defer to the judgment of jail health professionals” so long as they do not ignore a detainee). However, non-medical prison officials “may be found to be deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical needs if ‘they have a reason to believe (or actual knowledge) that prison doctors or their assistants are mistreating (or not treating) a patient.'” ...


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