United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
ANDREW D. COE, Plaintiff,
OFFICER ATKINS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants Darrin Atkins, Brandi Walker, and
Damian Bragg's partial motion to dismiss . For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' partial motion to
dismiss  is granted. Plaintiff is given until June 16,
2017 to file a second amended complaint consistent with this
case involves the rare intersection of the Eighth Amendment
and “Air Jordan” basketball shoes. According to
the amended complaint, Plaintiff Andrew Coe is paralyzed
below both ankles and cannot walk easily without leg braces
supported by firm, high-top shoes. [29, ¶ 2.] Starting
on September 26, 2014, Plaintiff was incarcerated at
Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois.
Id. ¶ 12. Upon arrival, doctors from Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. issued him a permit for braces and
high-top shoes. Id. Plaintiff happened to be wearing
high-top leather Air Jordans, and was allowed to keep those
shoes for the time being. Id.
October 15, 2014, Defendant Dr. Stephen Ritz “refused
to prescribe high-top shoes for Plaintiff”-a decision
that Plaintiff contends was erroneous. [29, ¶ 15.]
On November 19, 2014, correctional officers Defendants Darrin
Atkins and Brandi Walker confiscated Plaintiff's Air
Jordans. Id. Coe was not left shoeless. Instead, he
was given prison-issue shoes, but Plaintiff alleges that
these shoes “did not support his braces and hold them
in place.” Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff ultimately
slipped out of those replacement shoes, and injured his
feet-once on November 19 (injuring his right pinky toe) and
again on December 10 (injuring the second digit on his left
foot). He does not elaborate on the nature of his injury or
the treatment he received.
amended complaint contains two other allegations of note.
First, Plaintiff alleges that on November 19, after his
injury, an unidentified IDOC doctor told Defendants Atkins
and Walker that Plaintiff “needed the ‘Air
Jordans' or equivalent high-top firm shoes, but they
ignored that directive.” Id. ¶ 14.
Second, Plaintiff alleges that two correctional officers-
Defendants Lorient Stanback and Damian Bragg-intentionally
delayed seeking medical attention for Plaintiff's
December 10 injury for “an hour-and-a half” while
Plaintiff was “screaming in pain.” Id.
¶¶ 17, 45-46.
filed a four-count complaint , asserting Eighth Amendment
claims for intentional interference with treatment against
Officers Atkins and Walker (Count I), refusal to provide
treatment against Dr. Ritz (Count II), intentional
interference with treatment against Officer Stanback (Count
III), and intentional interference with treatment against
Officers Stanback and Bragg related to Plaintiff's
December 10, 2014 injury (Count IV). Defendants Atkins,
Walker, and Bragg moved to dismiss the specific claims
asserted against each of them in Counts I and IV .
survive a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
(“Rule”) 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the
complaint first must comply with Rule 8(a) by providing
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), such that the defendant is given “fair notice
of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957)) (alteration in original). Second, the factual
allegations in the complaint must be sufficient to raise the
possibility of relief above the “speculative
level.” E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs.,
Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “A pleading that
offers ‘labels and conclusions' or a
‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555). Dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6) is proper “when the allegations in a
complaint, however true, could not raise a claim of
entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
558. In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all of Plaintiff's
well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable
inferences in Plaintiff's favor. Killingsworth v.
HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir.
officials and health care providers may not act with
deliberate indifference to an inmate's serious medical
needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976);
Fields v. Smith, 653 F.3d 550, 554 (7th Cir. 2011).
“Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of a
prisoner constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain forbidden by the Constitution.” Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal
quotations and citation omitted). Deliberate indifference has
both an objective and a subjective element: the inmate must
have an objectively serious medical condition, and the
Defendant in question must be subjectively aware of and
consciously disregard the inmate's medical need.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994);
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 103-04; see also Roe v.
Elyea, 631 F.3d 843, 862 (7th Cir. 2011).
objectively serious medical condition is one that has been
diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would perceive the need
for a doctor's attention.” Gayton v.
McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 620 (7th Cir. 2010) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). “A medical condition
need not be life-threatening to be serious; rather, it could
be a condition that would result in further significant
injury or unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain if not
satisfy the subjective element of deliberate indifference,
the official must have “acted with a sufficiently
culpable state of mind.” Arnett, 658 F.3d at
751. That is, the official “must know of and disregard
an excessive risk to inmate health.” Hayes v.
Snyder, 546 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Cir. 2008). The official
must “both be aware of facts from which the inference
could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm
exists” and “must also draw the inference.”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837; accord Vance v.
Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 993 (7th Cir. 1996)
(“[P]laintiff still has the burden of demonstrating
that the communication, in its content and manner of
transmission, gave the prison official sufficient notice to
alert him or her to ‘an excessive risk to inmate health
or safety[.]'” (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S.
at 837)). This state of mind is akin to recklessness, not
negligence. Arnett, 658 F.3d at 751. Neither medical
malpractice nor a mere disagreement with a doctor's
medical judgment amounts to deliberate indifference.
Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 441 (7th Cir. 2010)
(citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106).
context of medical professionals, “[a] medical
professional is entitled to deference in treatment decisions
unless no minimally competent professional would have so
responded under those circumstances.” Sain v.
Wood, 512 F.3d 886, 894-95 (7th Cir. 2008) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). The medical
professional's decisions must be “such a
substantial departure from accepted professional judgment,
practice, or standards, as to demonstrate that the person
responsible actually did not base the decision on such a
judgment.” Id. at 895 (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). In contrast, “a non-medical
prison official will generally be justified in believing that
the prisoner is in capable hands.” Arnett, 658
F.3d at 755. The non-medical official must have “a
reason to believe (or actual knowledge) that prison doctors
or their assistants are mistreating (or not treating) a
prisoner” to be found deliberately ...