United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L.ELLIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ryan Springs suffered from an injuinal hernia while an inmate
at the Stateville Correctional Center
(“Stateville”) 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”),  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 .
Wexford moves to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a
claim against it . 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
. 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Schwarz's Motion to Dismiss
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).
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 Stateville.”
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.