Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hall v. Wexford Medical Services

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 18, 2017

ANDRE HALL, #B19766, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD MEDICAL SERVICES, CHRISTINE BROWN, JOHN BALDWIN, JOHN DOE, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, and DAN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge

         Plaintiff Andre Hall, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), brings this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Pinckneyville. (Doc. 1). According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was denied adequate medical treatment for a right ankle injury and back injury that he sustained prior to his incarceration. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8). In connection with this denial of medical care, Plaintiff now brings claims against the following defendants under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments: Wexford Medical Services (“Wexford”), John Baldwin (Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) Director), Jacqueline Lashbrook (warden), Christine Brown (health care administrator), John Doe (doctor), and Dan (physical therapist). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 9). He also requests a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction requiring these officials to provide him with “immediate” and “adequate” medical care. Id.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The Complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

         The Complaint

         Prior to his incarceration, Plaintiff suffered a right ankle injury and back injury. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8; Doc. 1-1, pp. 1-7). He offers no details regarding the cause of these injuries. Id. However, Plaintiff indicates that he was under the care of a physician for both of them prior to his incarceration. Id.

         Plaintiff attempted to obtain medical treatment when he arrived at Pinckneyville on October 27, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Prison officials failed to properly treat either condition. Id. Plaintiff allegedly met with an unknown doctor (“Doctor John Doe”), as well as a nurse practitioner[1] and a physical therapist. Id. He informed them about the medical care he received for both conditions prior to his incarceration. Id.

         Despite his recent treatment history, Doctor Doe “refused to give [Plaintiff] medication that relieved the severe pain.” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff explained that he had taken Norco for pain, and it was effective. Id. Plaintiff also indicated that he needed an MRI. Id. Still, Doctor Doe refused to give him Norco or refer him for an MRI. Id. Instead, the doctor prescribed Plaintiff a six week course of Tramadol after stating, “It's the best I can do.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). Doctor Doe informed Plaintiff that he was leaving the prison, and his replacement would make the referral for an MRI. Id. In the meantime, Doctor Doe referred Plaintiff to a physical therapist, named Dan, who simply told him to “do exercises.” Id.

         Plaintiff met with Doctor Doe on his final day at Pinckneyville. (Doc. 1, p. 7). The doctor informed Plaintiff that he was not supposed to recommend “expensive treatments” pursuant to Wexford's policy. Id. That policy is reflected in a memo that is posted in the “emergency room, ” which states that “expensive [treatments] cannot/should not be allowed.” Id. An MRI is one such test that Wexford disfavors based on cost concerns. Id.

         Plaintiff wrote three letters to Administrator Brown, Warden Lashbrook, and Director Baldwin. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). He informed each of them about his injuries, his history of treatment, and the MRI recommendation. Id. He complained of suffering from pain for up to twelve hours each day that he rated as a “10” on a scale from “1” to “10, ” with “10” being the most severe. Id. He complained of elevated blood pressure that resulted from his persistent pain. Id. Plaintiff also notified the grievance officials that he was assigned to a top bunk without a ladder or any alternative means of climbing into bed. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         Plaintiff claims that the defendants all knew, or should have known, that their refusal to provide adequate testing or treatment because of cost concerns could result in irreparable harm and serious pain. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff complains of severe headaches, back pain, neck pain, and other “mental injuries” that resulted from their inaction. Id.

         Discussion

         To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it appropriate to organize the claims in Plaintiff's pro se Complaint (Doc. 1) into the following counts:

Count 1 - Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against Defendant John Doe for inadequately treating Plaintiff's right ankle and back injuries by refusing to refer him for an MRI and refusing to prescribe him Norco.
Count 2 - Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against Physical Therapist Dan for recommending exercises for Plaintiff's right ankle and back injuries.
Count 3 - Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against the grievance officials (Administrator Brown, Warden Lashbrook, and Director Baldwin) for ignoring Plaintiff's complaints of inadequate medical treatment for his right ankle and back injuries and his request for a low bunk permit.
Count 4 - Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim against Wexford for instituting a policy that elevates concerns regarding costs over concerns regarding quality of care and for consequently causing the denial of adequate medical care for Plaintiff's right ankle and back injuries.
Count 5 - Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Defendants for denying Plaintiff adequate medical care for his ankle and back injuries by ignoring, denying, or delaying his grievances.
Count 6 - Conspiracy claim against Defendants.

         As discussed in more detail below, Counts 1, 3, and 4 survive preliminary review against the defendants named in connection with each claim. Counts 2, 5, and 6 fail to state a claim ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.