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Sorrentino v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

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

June 12, 2017

Joseph Sorrentino, Plaintiff,
v.
Wexford Health Sources, Inc.; Dr. Saleh Obaisi; Dr. Arthur Funk; Warden Randy Pfister, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE THOMAS M. DURKIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE .

         Joseph Sorrentino, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at Stateville Correctional Center, alleges that Stateville staff and medical service providers were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. See R. 23. Specifically, Sorrentino has sued Randy Pfister, Statesville's warden at all relevant times; Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Statesville's medical services provider; and doctors employed by Wexford, namely Dr. Saleh Obaisi and Dr. Arthur Funk. See Id. Wexford has moved to dismiss Sorrentino's claim for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See R. 25. For the following reasons, Wexford's motion is granted.

         Legal Standard

         A Rule 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.

         Background

         Sorrentino alleges that since early 2015, he has experienced severe pain in his kidney area and blood in his urine. R. 23 ¶¶ 15-16. In February 2015, Sorrentino saw a doctor from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Id. ¶ 18. Sorrentino alleges that the “doctor from UIC informed [him] that the issue of blood in his urine must be addressed by . . . Dr. Obaisi.” Id.

         Sorrentino alleges that there was no follow-up on the UIC doctor's diagnosis for “several months.” Id. ¶ 18. Sorrentino and his sister made “additional requests” and “numerous communications” attempting to have Sorrentino's condition addressed. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Eventually in response to these requests, IDOC Medical Director Dr. Louis Shicker directed Dr. Funk to examine Sorrentino. Id. ¶ 19. Sorrentino saw Dr. Funk in June 2015. Id. ¶ 19. Sorrentino alleges that Dr. Funk acknowledged that Sorrentino likely suffered from a kidney stone or liver damage but did not order further testing or treatment. Id.

         Despite his allegation that Dr. Funk did not order additional tests or treatment, Sorrentino also alleges that he received a further examination the next month in July 2015 when he was sent to a specialist at “Advanced Urology.” Id. ¶ 25. The specialist diagnosed Sorrentino with an enlarged prostate and bleeding, and recommended a CT scan. Id. Sorrentino did not receive this CT scan until November 2015. Id.

         In addition to these examinations, Sorrentino also saw Dr. Obaisi “many times in 2015 and 2016.” Id. ¶ 20. In December 2015, Dr. Obaisi informed Sorrentino that the CT scan taken the previous month showed an obstructed kidney stone. Id. ¶ 26. Sorrentino alleges that Dr. Obaisi failed to order any immediate treatment. Id. ¶ 27.

         Despite the CT scan, Dr. Obaisi's diagnosis, and “several additional urgent requests for medical treatment, ” Sorrentino did not receive any additional treatment until April 2016 when he was given a second CT scan. Id. ¶¶ 27-28. That scan reconfirmed the presence of a kidney stone. Id. ¶ 28.

         It wasn't until July 2016 that Sorrentino had a procedure to remove the stone. Id. ¶ 29. Sorrentino alleges that he was told that the stone was “severely impacted, ” meaning that the stone “was present for so long that it had embedded in the kidney causing scar tissue to form over the stone, ” such that a “temporary stent” was necessary. Id. ¶ 29. Sorrentino also alleges that the stent was supposed to be removed within two or three weeks, but was not removed until more than five weeks after the procedure. Id. ¶ 30. Despite the stone's removal, Sorrentino alleges that he continues to experience both kidney pain and blood in his urine. Id. ¶ 31. He also alleges that ongoing requests for treatment of the kidney pain and urine in the blood have been ignored. Id. ¶ 31.

         With respect to Wexford specifically, Sorrentino alleges that “Wexford was aware of Mr. Sorrentino's serious medical conditions through the knowledge, acts, and omissions of Wexford's authorized agents and employees acting within the scope of their employment.” Id. ¶ 23. Sorrentino also alleges that “Wexford, through the acts and omissions of its authorized agents and employees within the scope of their employment, failed to ensure that adequate medical care was provided to Mr. Sorrentino.” Id. ¶ 10.

         Analysis

         Sorrentino argues that the 18 month delay from his initial diagnosis in February 2015 to the procedure to remove the kidney stone in July 2016, “involves so many instances of delayed treatment that it is sufficient to establish . . . . a pattern of delaying necessary medical treatment” by Wexford. R. 32 at 1, 4. “A local governing body may be liable for monetary damages under § 1983 if the unconstitutional act complained of is caused by: (1) an official policy adopted and promulgated by its officers; (2) a governmental practice or custom that, although not officially authorized, is widespread and well settled; or (3) an official with final policy-making authority.” Thomas v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 604 F.3d 293, 303 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of the City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978)). Like municipalities, “[p]rivate corporations acting under color of state law may [also] . . . be held liable for injuries resulting from their policies and practices.” Rice v. Correctional Med. Servs. of Ill., Inc., 675 F.3d 650, 675 (7th Cir. 2012); see also Shields v. Ill. Dep't of Corrections, 746 F.3d 782, 789 (7th Cir. 2014) (“Most defendants under § 1983 are public employees, but private companies and their employees can also act under color of state law and thus can be sued under § 1983.”). To claim Monell ...


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