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Laskowski v. Chandler

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

February 12, 2018

Martin Donald Laskowski, Plaintiff,
Nedra Chandler, et al., Defendants.


          Judge Philip G. Reinhard United States District Court Judge

         For the following reasons, defendant Bessie Dominguez's motion to dismiss is denied.


         Plaintiff Martin Donald Laskowski's first amended complaint brings suit against Andrew J. Schott, an Illinois Department of Corrections' (“IDOC”) employee, and Bessie Dominguez, a physician at IDOC's Dixon Correction Center (“DCC”) [61]. Plaintiff alleges defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. Specifically, plaintiff complains he suffered permanent brain damage as a direct result of defendant Schott failing to obtain emergency medical assistance to him while he lay in an unresponsive state on the floor of his cell, and of defendant Dominguez refusing to prescribe to him adequate pain medication. Id. On October 27, 2017, defendant Dominguez filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's first amended complaint as against her [73]. On November 22, 2017, plaintiff filed his response [88], and on December 22, 2017, defendant Dominguez filed her reply [92].

         I. Standard of Review

         When evaluating a Rule 12 (b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must “accept[] all well-pleaded facts as true and draw[] all reasonable inferences in favor of the . . . non-moving parties.” Bonnstetter v. City of Chicago, 811 F.3d 969, 973 (7th Cir. 2016) (internal citations omitted). “A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint itself.” Id. “To state a claim, a complaint must first provide ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “The statement of the claim must sufficiently give ‘fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests' to the defendants.” Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “To state a claim for relief, a complaint must provide more than ‘abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.' Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Instead, a plausible claim must include ‘factual content' sufficient to allow the court ‘to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).” Charleston v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois at Chicago, 741 F.3d 769, 772 (7th Cir. 2013). “[A] well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. The complaint must instead call for “enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” supporting plaintiff's claims. Id.

         II. Factual Background

         The following facts are taken from plaintiff's amended complaint.

         Plaintiff, Martin Laskowski, was incarcerated at the DCC in March of 2012 through March of 2017. [61] at 1, 5. In the early morning hours of March 21, 2012, plaintiff lost consciousness and collapsed on the floor of his cell, presumably from an overdose of medication he received from health care providers at DCC. Id. at 2. Defendant Schott observed plaintiff on the floor of his cell but failed to provide him immediate medical attention and left him unresponsive in his cell for approximately an hour. Id. at 3. During that hour, plaintiff was denied oxygen and consequently suffered permanent brain damage. Plaintiff was eventually placed on an oxygen rebreather and was transported to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. Id. Plaintiff was then hospitalized for approximately three weeks - much of that time in a comatose state. Id. at 4.

         Prior to plaintiff's incarceration, plaintiff suffered multiple back injuries resulting in chronic pain. Id. Plaintiff also had been diagnosed with a spinal tumor, underwent a partial lobectomy of his lung, and underwent a spinal fusion surgery. Plaintiff endured the chronic back pain during his stay at DCC. Id. at 5. Before arriving at DCC, plaintiff's back condition was treated by medical professionals, including a pain management specialist, who prescribed narcotic pain medication, including OxyContin, for many years. Defendant Dominguez, as a treating physician at DCC, was aware of plaintiff's serious back condition and chronic pain, but refused to provide him with an effective course of treatment. Id. Defendant Dominguez only provided plaintiff with Tylenol and Ibuprofen, knowing that this course of treatment would be ineffective to treat plaintiff's back condition and chronic pain. Id. at 6. Despite plaintiff's requests to receive more effective treatment, defendant Dominguez refused. Due to defendant Dominguez's refusal to effectively treat plaintiff, plaintiff experienced unnecessarily intense and prolonged pain from at least October 25, 2012, through December 24, 2012. Id.

         III. Procedural History

         On December 23, 2013, plaintiff filed his original pro se complaint [1]. On May 28, 2014, the court granted plaintiff's motion to stay this proceeding (and administratively closed the case) pending the outcome of plaintiff's case filed with the Illinois Court of Claims, which addressed issues identical to the issues raised in this matter [16]. The stay was lifted three years later on May 5, 2017, after the Illinois Court of Claims dismissed plaintiff's action [44]. Plaintiff, through appointed counsel, filed his first amended complaint on August 28, 2017 [61]. Defendants Dominguez's motion to dismiss (and parties' briefs) followed.

         IV. Analysis

         A. ...

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