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Mason v. Schaefer

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 3, 2018

DELARREN MASON, Plaintiff,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT DONALD SCHAEFER, ST. CLAIR COUNTY, OFFICER MIKE KLEB, OFFICER CRAIG BROWN, OFFICER PATRICK YOUNG, OFFICER DALE LUETKEMYER, OFFICER BRANDON MILLER, OFFICER ARIEL MOSLEY, OFFICER TYRONE SILLAS, OFFICER ZAC LUETKEMYER, OFFICER LUCAS GEHRS, OFFICER JOE VALLINA, OFFICER BRIANNE FUNK, OFFICER TERRENCE BENNETT, OFFICER JOE THOMPSON, NURSE PELLMANN, NURSE KOCHMANN, CHERYL PROST and JOHN DOES 1-6, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on defendant Cheryl Prost's motion to dismiss Counts VI and VII pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc. 69). Plaintiff DeLarren Mason has responded to the motion (Doc. 76).

         I. Standard for Dismissal

         When reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all allegations in the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and (2) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 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 (citing Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 556). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         In Bell Atlantic, the Supreme Court rejected the more expansive interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2) that “a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief, ” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 561-63; Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777. Now “it is not enough for a complaint to avoid foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief . . . by providing allegations that ‘raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777 (quoting Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555).

         Nevertheless, Bell Atlantic did not do away with the liberal federal notice pleading standard. Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007). A complaint still need not contain detailed factual allegations, Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555, and it remains true that “[a]ny district judge (for that matter, any defendant) tempted to write ‘this complaint is deficient because it does not contain . . .' should stop and think: What rule of law requires a complaint to contain that allegation?” Doe v. Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in original). Nevertheless, a complaint must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555. If the factual detail of a complaint is “so sketchy that the complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which the defendant is entitled under Rule 8, ” it is subject to dismissal. Airborne Beepers, 499 F.3d at 667.

         II. Facts Alleged

         Accepting as true all factual allegations in the Complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom in Mason's favor, the pleading establishes the following relevant facts for the purposes of this motion:

In March 2015, Mason was 17 years old and suffered from bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). On or around March 17, 2015, Mason was arrested and charged with armed robbery, although the charges were eventually dismissed. Before the charges were dismissed, however, Mason was housed at the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center (“Detention Center”) for eight months. While at the jail, Mason was subjected to harassment and punishment and was placed in solitary confinement for six months, which Detention Center personnel justified by pointing to Mason's bad behavior.

         Mason was also not treated for his mental health problems. Upon entry to the Detention Center, nursing staff evaluated Mason and discovered that he had received counseling in 2014 for his bipolar disorder and ADHD. Specifically with respect to Prost, the Detention Center's clinical psychologist, Mason alleges she called his mother, LaShunda Green, shortly after he arrived at the Detention Center to inform her of Mason's worsening anger control problems and defiance in the Detention Center. Prost told Green that Mason had not had his bipolar disorder and ADHD medication for eight months, and Green told Prost she would try to arrange a psychiatric appointment for Mason. At the time, Prost was familiar with Mason's mental health problems because she had evaluated him in 2013 and had recommended psychiatric treatment for his bipolar disorder.

         Prost conducted two mental health status evaluations of Mason in April 2015 and provisionally diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and ADHD. She noted he had received counseling in early 2014 and had not taken his medications in eight months. She further noted that Green was going to schedule a psychiatric appointment for Mason, but she herself did not recommend any treatment. She also attributed Mason's recent involvement in a fight in the Detention Center to his rage control problems and lack of medication.

         At no point did Prost or the nursing staff at the Detention Center provide Mason with any mental health medication or other treatment or refer him to a psychiatrist. Instead, they relied solely on Green to obtain treatment for Mason while he was detained in the Detention Center.

         Mason filed this lawsuit in December 2016 against a number of defendants associated with the Detention Center. He specifically names Prost in Count III, a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for inadequate medical and mental health care in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; Count VI, a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”); and Count VII, a state law claim for civil conspiracy.

         Prost now asks the Court to dismiss Counts VI and VII on the grounds that Mason has failed to plead facts plausibly suggesting a right to relief. ...


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