United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) (Doc. 36) of Magistrate
Judge Donald G. Wilkerson with regard to the defendants'
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Doc. 28). The
Court may accept, reject, or modify-in whole or in part-the
findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a
report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). The Court
must review de novo the portions of the report to
which objections are made. Id. “If no
objection or only partial objection is made, the district
court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear
error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d
734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999). Here, no party has filed an
objection, but the entire Report does not withstand a review
for clear error.
Sharp is an inmate with a history of mental health and brain
issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. (Am. Compl.
2, Doc. 17.) These issues appear to be related to his former
service with the U.S. Army, and Sharp states that the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs was treating him for these
health issues. (Id. at 2-3.) Nevertheless, in
December 2013, the police arrested Sharp following an
incident and detained him at Wabash County Jail pending
resolution of the corresponding criminal charge.
(Id. at 3.) On December 28, 2013-shortly after his
detention began-Sharp went on a hunger strike and formulated
a plan to kill himself with a broken shard of glass.
(Id. at 3.) But when Sharp saw his father at a court
hearing a few weeks later on January 7, 2014, he changed his
mind, turned over the shard of glass, and told corrections
officer Lynette Henze about his plan. (Id.)
the next few months, Sharp's wife brought his medications
to the jail so that Sharp could continue his prescribed
treatment. Those medication refills ran out in May 2014.
Sharp then asked Sheriff Joe Keeling to arrange an
appointment with a doctor so that he could refill his
prescriptions, but after Keeling allegedly refused the
request, Sharp was forced off his medications. (Id.)
2014, the authorities transferred Sharp to Chester Mental
Health Center (“Chester”) so that the facility
could assess Sharp's fitness to stand trial. Sharp stayed
at Chester until September 2014, and that facility wrote him
a new prescription for his medications. Sharp refused to take
them, however, because he believed he would go into
withdrawal when he returned to Wabash County Jail.
Ultimately, the Illinois Department of Corrections took
custody of Sharp and removed him from the jail in December
September 2016, Sharp brought a deliberate indifference to
medical needs claim in this Court against Keeling and an
unknown “Jane Doe” defendant, pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl., Doc. 1.) Sharp amended that
complaint in February 2017 to substitute Henze for the
“Jane Doe” defendant. (Am. Compl., Doc. 17.) Now,
the defendants have moved to dismiss the amended complaint on
the grounds that (1) the statute of limitations bars
Sharp's claim, and (2) Sharp's claim against Henze in
the amended complaint cannot relate back to the initial
complaint. (Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. 28.)
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 is facially plausible
“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).
This is a context-specific task that invokes the Court's
“judicial experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
initial matter, the Court must clarify the applicable legal
standards in this case. While the Report correctly notes that
the defendants seek dismissal here pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Report also states several
times that the defendants are seeking summary judgment. This
Court affirms that the defendants are seeking a 12(b)(6)
dismissal, not summary judgment.
Defendant Joe Keeling
respect to defendant Keeling, the Report first acknowledges
that the “only dates relevant to the deliberate
indifference claim are those prior to Sharp's transfer to
Chester.” (R. & R. 6, Doc. 36.) These dates are
important because they govern when the cause of action
started to accrue in this case, which then implicates when
the statute of limitations expired. See Devbrow v.
Kalu, 705 F.3d 765, 768 (7th Cir. 2013) (for Section
1983 deliberate indifference claims, the claim accrues
“when a person knows his injury and its cause.”).
But then, the Report concludes that Keeling's argument
fails because the complaint does not state which specific day
in June Sharp was transferred to Chester Mental Health
Center. (R. & R. 6, Doc. 36.) The Report believes that
the specific day is necessary to determine whether the
statute of limitations has run here.
Report's hair-splitting on this issue is unnecessary.
According to the complaint, the statute of limitations on
Sharp's claim started to accrue sometime in June 2014.
The statute of limitations on a Section 1983 claim in
Illinois is two years. Gekas v. Vasiliades, 814 F.3d
890, 894 (7th Cir. 2016). Sharp filed this action in
September 2016-over two years after the claim started to
accrue regardless of ...