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Haywood v. Wexford Health Sources

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

July 26, 2017

WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, et al., Defendants.



         Defendant Wexford Health Sources (“Wexford”) has moved to dismiss Plaintiff Donald Haywood's Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (R. 72, Mot. to Dismiss Second Am. Compl.) For the following reasons, the Court denies Wexford's motion.


         On March 23, 2016, Donald Haywood, an inmate within the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), sued Wexford, certain Wexford employees, and several members of the IDOC medical staff (collectively, “Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that they violated his constitutional rights by exhibiting deliberate indifference to his mental health needs. On March 1, 2017, the Court granted Wexford's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint without prejudice pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on the grounds that Plaintiff's complaint contained insufficient Monell allegations with conclusory, boilerplate claims about Wexford's policies and practices regarding its treatment of other inmates. (R. 66, First Order 7-8.) On March 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint, which Wexford has moved to dismiss in the instant motion.[1]


         In considering this motion, the Court presumes familiarity with the background of this action as set forth in the First Order and does not recite a detailed background here. The Court will, however, provide a brief factual background, particularly as it pertains to the new allegations in Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint.

         Plaintiff, a prisoner at the Pontiac Correctional Center (“PCC”) and formerly at the Stateville Correctional Center (“SCC”), alleges that, prior to his incarceration, he had a long history of diagnosed mental illness, including five suicide attempts. (Id. ¶¶ 1, 23-25.) Plaintiff has been diagnosed with depression, antisocial personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and as a result, IDOC classified him as “seriously mentally ill” (“SMI”). (Id. ¶¶ 26-27.) Plaintiff alleges that, since June 2014, Defendants have failed to treat his mental illnesses, and have instead attempted to punish him when he has requested treatment. (Id. ¶¶ 140-41.) Specifically, he alleges that Wexford employees have failed to visit him or provide him with mental treatment and have instead falsified reports indicating that they visited him and that he received medical care. (Id. ¶¶ 42-45, 49-52.) Plaintiff also claims that Wexford employees have responded to his requests for medical treatment with repeated hostility-in particular, he asserts that, when he complained to two employees that he had not received treatment, one employee filed a disciplinary report against him and another threatened to discontinue his prescription medications. (Id. ¶¶ 62-64, 70-71.) Plaintiff alleges that his mental health disorders have worsened as a result of the inadequate treatment he has faced. (Id. ¶¶ 88.)

         According to Plaintiff, many other inmates at SCC and PCC are SMI, and Wexford is responsible for ensuring that those inmates receive adequate mental health treatment while incarcerated. (Id. ¶ 31.) Plaintiff alleges that Wexford “maintains a widespread custom or practice among its employees of providing [SMI] inmates with inadequate mental health treatment.” (Id. ¶ 32.) In support of this allegation, Plaintiff claims that, although SMI inmates often request treatment and file grievances in an effort to obtain treatment, Wexford employees (1) consistently deny or intentionally and erroneously find that mental health treatment requests from SMI inmates have no merit, (Id. ¶ 33); (2) place SMI inmates in (oftentimes prolonged) segregation; (3) falsify records to indicate fraudulently that SMI inmates have been provided mental health treatment; (4) delay mental health treatment; (5) intentionally exacerbate SMI inmates' mental health disorders and instigate their triggers to create a pretext for placing them in segregation, (Id. ¶ 34, 36); and (6) intentionally fail to investigate whether SMI inmates' alleged misconduct resulted in part or in whole from their mental illnesses. (Id. ¶ 35.)


         “A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the viability of a complaint by arguing that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Camasta v. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc., 761 F.3d 732, 736 (7th Cir. 2014). 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 v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's “factual 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 determining the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, courts must “accept all well-pleaded facts as true and draw reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs' favor.” Roberts v. City of Chicago, 817 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2016).


         Plaintiff alleges that Wexford had policies and customs in effect that allowed Defendants to exhibit deliberate indifference to his mental health needs, causing him physical injuries and mental anguish in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In its motion to dismiss, Wexford makes two arguments: (1) Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under Monell v. Dep t of Soc. Servs. of N.Y.C, 436 U.S. 658 (1978); and (2) Plaintiff is not entitled compensatory damages because he has not sustained any physical injury.[2] The Court addresses each argument in turn.

         I. Monell Claim

         Wexford argues that Plaintiff's Monell claims regarding Wexford's widespread custom and practice “amount to nothing more than conclusory boilerplate, ” that his allegations are still based on Wexford employees' personal issues with him, and that allowing Plaintiff's claim to proceed would effectively allow him to sue on a respondeat superior basis. Plaintiff responds that his Second Amended Complaint contains specific allegations that show a widespread policy, including Wexford's intentional and erroneous findings that requests for treatment have no merit, its placement of SMI inmates in segregation, its ...

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