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Springs v. Schwartz

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

September 19, 2017

RYAN SPRINGS, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Ryan Springs suffered from an injuinal hernia while an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”)[1] from January to April 2015. Springs brings this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Mary Diane Schwarz, Tarry Williams, Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), [2] and the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) alleging that they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs and failed to provide him with adequate medical care for his hernia. Defendants move to dismiss Springs' second amended complaint on various grounds under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Schwarz moves to dismiss the second amended complaint for impermissible group pleading [45]. Wexford moves to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim against it [60]. IDOC and Williams move to dismiss the complaint because state agencies and state officers in their official capacity are not subject to suit under Section 1983 [53]. Because Springs has alleged facts sufficient to put Schwarz on notice of the claims against her, the Court denies Schwarz's motion to dismiss. However, the Court finds that Springs has failed to state a claim against Wexford and therefore grants Wexford's motion to dismiss. The Court also grants IDOC and Williams' motion to dismiss as unopposed by Springs.


         On or about January 7, 2015, Springs was transferred from the Kane County Jail to Stateville as a result of a court writ. At that time, Springs had a long-standing medical history related to an injuinal hernia. Before his transfer to Stateville, Springs had received pain medication and special accommodations for his condition while he was incarcerated. However, after Springs arrived at Stateville, he was not provided his prescribed medications or other accommodations to treat the pain he suffered due to the hernia. As a result, Springs began experiencing increasingly intense and extreme pain and disability. Springs informed a nurse at Stateville about his condition and spoke with Schwarz, who was a physician's assistant at Stateville at the time. Schwarz told Springs that she could not provide him with medication until he was examined by a doctor, which she assured him would take place the next day. However, Springs was not seen by a doctor and he filed an emergency grievance on January 11, 2015.

         Springs continued to write request slips and grievances regarding his condition but he received no response or acknowledgment from jail administration. Springs also spoke to nurses at Stateville, who directed him to follow prison protocol but did not explain to Springs what the protocol entailed. Springs was not examined by medical personnel until March 3, 2015. On that day, Schwarz examined him and told him that nothing could be done to treat his medical condition because Stateville was not Springs' “parent facility.” Doc. 43 ¶ 19.

         While in custody at Stateville from January 7, 2015 to April 7, 2015, Springs' condition “worsened each day.” Id. ¶ 15. He suffered from “obvious signs and symptoms associated with severe pain including nausea and vomiting.” Id.

         Springs continued to submit grievances and wrote to the Administrative Review Board, but did not receive a response. Springs also submitted correspondence to Williams, but Williams “summarily denied [Springs'] request and grievances.” Id. ¶ 21.


         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all reasonable inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor. AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir. 2011). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must not only provide the defendant with fair notice of a claim's basis but must also be facially plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). “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.


         I. Schwarz's Motion to Dismiss

         Schwarz argues that the Court should dismiss Springs' second amended complaint in its entirety for impermissible “group pleading.” Schwarz contends that, by referencing “the Defendants” as a group throughout his allegations, Springs does not adequately identify the alleged wrongful conduct attributable to each of the four named Defendants. Rule 8(a) does not require a plaintiff, “without the benefit of discovery, to connect every single alleged instance of misconduct in the complaint to every single specific [defendant].” Koh v. Graf, No. 11-cv-02605, 2013 WL 5348326, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2013). At the motion to dismiss stage of proceedings, all that is required is that the plaintiff put the defendants on notice of his claims by alleging a short and plain statement showing that he is entitled to relief. Sanders v. City of Chicago Heights, No. 13 C 0221, 2014 WL 5801181, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 7, 2014). Group pleading that refers to “Defendants” collectively is sufficient under Rule 8 when a plaintiff provides enough detail about the nature of the allegations to put each defendant on fair notice of the claims. Frazier v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, No. 11 C 8775, 2013 WL 1337263, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 29, 2013) (collecting cases).

         Here, Springs has pleaded sufficient facts in his second amended complaint to put Schwarz on notice of the claims against her. Springs states that the alleged conduct took place while he was in custody at Stateville from January 7, 2015 to April 7, 2015. He alleges that during that time, Schwarz advised him that “she could not give him any pain medications until he was examined by a doctor and assured him that he would see a doctor the following day.” Doc. 43 ¶ 16. Springs further alleges that Schwarz examined Springs on March 3, 2015 and “informed him that no pain medication or any other actions could be taken for his medical condition.” Id. ¶ 19. In addition, Springs alleges that “[a]t all times relevant to the allegations in this Complaint, each individual Defendant knew of and disregarded the risks associated with Mr. Spring[s]'s serious medical condition and failed to ensure that he received prompt and adequate medical care during the time he was confined at NRC State[]ville.” Id. ¶ 35. He further states in his complaint that “[t]he acts and omissions of each individual Defendant caused Mr. Springs damages in that he suffered ongoing and extreme physical and mental pain while he was in Defendants' custody.” Id. ¶ 40. These specific allegations, along with the other facts alleged by Springs in his second amended complaint are adequate to inform Schwarz of the wrongful conduct alleged against her. The Court therefore denies Schwarz's motion to dismiss.

         II. Wexford's ...

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