United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se, files a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs at the Pontiac Correctional Center
(“Pontiac”). The case is before the Court for a
merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing
the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as
true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor.
Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649-51 (7th Cir.
2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are
insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”
Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
While the pleading standard does not require “detailed
factual allegations, ” it requires “more than an
accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx.
588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
discloses that he requires corrective lenses for a vision
problem not particularly identified. Plaintiff claims that he
must have contact lenses as he experiences headaches, blurred
vision and dizziness when wearing eyeglasses. Plaintiff
claims that, despite knowing of this, Defendant Optometrist
Dr. Kehoe and Defendant Dr. Tilden have denied him contact
lenses and provided him only eyeglasses.
asserts that on October 5, 2017, and again on October 4,
2018, Defendant Kehoe referred him to neuro-ophthalmologist
Dr. Vazenzuela at the University of Illinois-Chicago Hospital
(“UIC”). When Dr. Vazenzuela saw him on the
second occasion, he recommended that Plaintiff be given
contact lenses instead of eyeglasses and return to clinic
after this was done. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Kehoe
and Tilden did not follow this recommendation but, instead,
sent him to Wyatt Messenger at UIC for a further examination.
Plaintiff does not identify Wyatt Messenger by title and it
is unclear whether he was a physician, an optometrist or
someone acting in a different capacity.
December 7, 2018, Mr. Messenger saw Plaintiff and determined
that he could, indeed, tolerate eyeglasses. Defendant Kehoe
thereafter met with Plaintiff, telling him that Defendant
Tilden had denied the contact lenses. Defendant Kehoe
indicated that this was done under the IDOC applicable
contact lens policy as there was no demonstrated need for
contact lenses. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants' denial
exhibited deliberate indifference as he can wear eyeglasses
for only 5-15 minutes before experiencing headaches, blurred
vision and dizziness. He claims, further, that Defendants
were obligated to provide contact lenses once they had been
recommended by the specialist.
however, Plaintiff might have a hard time establishing that
Defendants Kehoe and Tilden had the culpable state of mind
necessary to reach the level of deliberate indifference, as
one apparent medical professional determined that he could
wear eyeglasses. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d
742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011) (for deliberate indifference a
defendant must have known of a substantial risk of harm to
plaintiff and disregarded that risk). While Defendants Tilden
and Kehoe might be culpable if they blindly followed a policy
which resulted in constitutional injury to Plaintiff, there
is no culpability if Defendants based the denial on well-
reasoned opinions that contact lenses were not medically
required. See Snipes v. Detella, 95 F.3d 586,
590-591 (7th Cir. 1996) (plaintiff's mere disagreement
with the treatment provided fails to establish deliberate
indifference). Given the uncertainty mentioned earlier,
Plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to state a
plausible claim against Defendants Tilden and Kehoe and are
DISMISSED. However, Plaintiff will be given the opportunity
to replead this claim.
also names IDOC Medical Director Meeks asserting that Meeks
applied the IDOC policy to limit the decision-making
authority of on-site medical directors and to limit the
number of inmates who could receive contact lenses. Plaintiff
asserts that these actions violated the Eighth Amendment and
also violated state law “implied authority.”
Implied authority, however, is a species of respondeat
superior wherein the principal may become liable for the
tortious acts of one to whom he has impliedly given
authority. People v. Gill, 30 Ill.App.2d 32, 48, 173
N.E.2d 568, 576 (1st Dist. 1961) (the doctrine of respondeat
superior doctrine was expanded to include cases in which
“a principal became liable for the tortious acts of his
agent committed in the course of the latter's employment
and within the scope of his authority.”) There is,
however, no respondeat superior liability in a § 1983
case and this claim is DISMISSED with prejudice.
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Meeks violated his Eighth
Amendment rights in the application of the contact lens
policy, he does not allege that Defendant was aware of his
particular situation or that he personally participated in
the decision to deny the contact lenses. “A prison
official may not be held liable under § 1983 unless he
was personally involved in the constitutional violation,
which means that he or she ‘must know about the conduct
and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind
eye'…A defendant may not be held liable simply
because he supervised others who violated the plaintiff's
rights.” Kramer v. Wisconsin Dep't of
Corr., 10-CV-224-SLC, 2011 WL 13187095, at *5 (W.D.
Wis. July 26, 2011), on reconsideration in part,
10-CV-224-SLC, 2011 WL 13187128 (W.D. Wis. Aug. 8, 2011), and
aff'd sub nom. Kramer v. Pollard, 497 Fed.Appx.
639 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal citations omitted).
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant
Meeks is DISMISSED, though he will be given an opportunity to
Wexford, Plaintiff makes conclusory claims that it had a
policy which made costs savings the primary focus of the
on-site medical directors. He does not identify a specific
Wexford costs savings policy and it is not clear whether he
is speaking of an additional policy or referring to the IDOC
contact lens policy. If so, he does not explain how Wexford
would be liable for an IDOC policy. See Salcedo-Vazquez
v. Nwaobasi, No. 13- 606, 2015 WL 7177231, at *7 (S.D.
Ill. Nov. 16, 2015) (to be liable Wexford must have had an
unconstitutional policy, practice or custom which caused the
constitutional deprivation), citing Shields v. Ill.
Dep't of Corr., 746 F.3d 782, 789 (7th Cir. 2014),
cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 1024 (2015). Plaintiff's
claim against Wexford is DISMISSED though he will be given an
opportunity to replead.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to
state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Plaintiff will have 30 days from the entry of
this order in which to replead his claims consistent with the
instructions in this order. The pleading is to be captioned
Amended Complaint and is to include all of Plaintiff's
claims without reference to a prior pleading. Failure to file