United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL Chief U.S. District Judge.
December 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Complaint alleging
deliberate indifference in the treatment of his heart
condition, which resulted in a heart attack in December 2016
(Doc. 1). On February 21, 2019, an Order was entered pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §1915A setting forth Plaintiff's claims
for deliberate indifference (Doc. 13). The Court specifically
found that Plaintiff stated a claim against Jack N. Newman,
Jr., for deliberate indifference in delaying treatment of
Plaintiff's heart condition (Id. at p. 3).
matter is now before the Court on Defendant Jack N. Newman,
Jr.'s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 71). Plaintiff was given
until June 27, 2019, to file a response but failed to do so.
Nonetheless, for the reasons set forth below, the Court
denies Newman's motion.
Complaint alleges that various individuals were deliberately
indifferent in treating his heart condition, and the failure
to properly treat the condition led to a heart attack
Plaintiff suffered in December 2016. As to Jack N. Newman,
Jr., Plaintiff alleges that he was responsible for
prisoners' treatment and care, was an employee of
Wexford, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and Menard
Correctional Center, and acted under the color of law (Doc.
1, p. 3). In 2014, Plaintiff complained to various medical
staff of vomiting, headaches, pain in his left shoulder, and
pain in his left arm, neck, and chest (Id. at p. 4).
He had two EKGs performed on August 29 and August 30, 2014.
Dr. Newman, who Plaintiff identifies as an employee of
Menard, read the August 30, 2014 EKG report and, from that
report, knew that urgent medical was needed (Id. at
pp. 12-13). Plaintiff alleges that the EKG showed
“sinus rhythm consistent with pulmonary disease,
prolonged QT interval inferior infarct, age undetermined with
posterior extension T wave abnormality, and possible lateral
ischemia abnormal” (Id. at pp. 4 and 28).
Despite this abnormal finding, Dr. Newman failed to discuss
the condition with the other prison doctors or provide
Plaintiff with adequate preventative treatment. (Id.
at p. 13). Instead, Plaintiff was merely sent back to his
cell with Motrin. (Id.).
Motion to Dismiss, Dr. Newman argues that Plaintiff's
Complaint fails to state a claim against him. Specifically,
he argues that Plaintiff fails to allege any deliberate
indifference on the part of Dr. Newman, fails to show that
Plaintiff suffered a serious medical condition, that Dr.
Newman was personally involved in his care, and that Dr.
Newman acted under color of law.
purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to decide the adequacy
of the complaint, not the merits of the case. See Gibson
v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990).
In assessing a complaint or count under Rule 12(b)(6), a
district court accepts as true all well-pled factual
allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Tricontinental Indus., Ltd. v.
PriceWaterhouseCooper, LLP, 475 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir.
2007); Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d 965, 969 (7th
Cir. 2006); Corcoran v. Chicago Park Dist., 875 F.2d
609, 611 (7th Cir. 1989). Courts must determine whether the
factual allegations in a complaint plausibly suggest an
entitlement to relief. Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d
630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009)). Dismissal is warranted “only
if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove
any facts that would support his claim for relief.”
Hayes v. City of Chicago, 670 F.3d 810, 813 (7th
Cir. 2012) (quoting Thomas v. Guardsmark, Inc., 381
F.3d 701, 704 (7th Cir. 2004)). For purposes of a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, the allegations of a pro se
complaint, which this case was originally filed as, are to be
liberally construed. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972); Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681
(7th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Phipps, 39 F.3d 158, 162
(7th Cir. 1994).
Newman argues that Plaintiff failed to allege that he was
deliberately indifferent in Plaintiff's care. He argues
that Plaintiff also failed to allege that he suffered from a
serious medical condition, that Dr. Newman was personally
involved in Plaintiff's care, or that he acted under
color of state law. The Court notes, however, that it has
already conducted a screening of these claims under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. When the Court conducts such a screening under
Section 1915A, it is required to identify and dismiss any
legally insufficient claim. A claim is legally insufficient
if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Thus, the Court has
already reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint and found that
Plaintiff stated a claim for deliberate indifference against
Dr. Newman. Defendant's motion to the contrary does not
change the Court's opinion.
Plaintiff's Complaint clearly meets the elements for
alleging a deliberate indifference claim against Dr. Newman.
He alleges that he suffered from a heart condition, which is
a serious medical condition. He further alleges that Dr.
Newman reviewed Plaintiff's EKG and determined that the
results were abnormal. Despite finding abnormalities,
however, Dr. Newman failed to provide any treatment for
Plaintiff's condition. Instead, Plaintiff was sent back
to his cell with Motrin. Plaintiff later suffered a heart
attack, which Plaintiff alleges was a result of the failure
to treat his heart condition. The Complaint clearly alleges
that Dr. Newman acted with deliberate indifference in
reviewing and responding to Plaintiff's EKG results.
Dr. Newman also argues that Plaintiff has not shown that he
acted under color of law, Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Newman
did act under color of law and was an employee of either
Wexford, the Illinois Department of Corrections, or Menard
Correctional Center (Doc. 1, p. 3, 12). Newman argues that he
was not an employee of either organization. He offers
additional facts that are outside of the Complaint, but in
reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court's inquiry is
generally limited to the factual allegations contained within
the Complaint. Rosenblum v. Travelbyus.com, 299 F.3d
657, 661 (7th Cir. 2002); Venture Assoc. Corp. v. Zenith
Data Sys. Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993).
Looking at the allegations set forth in the Complaint,
Plaintiff adequately alleges that Dr. Newman was acting under
color of law when he reviewed the EKG.
these reasons, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 71) is
DENIED. Defendant Newman has until
August 22, 2019, to file an Answer. Once he
has filed an Answer, Newman will be subject to the Initial
Scheduling Order (See Doc. 74, ¶ V). Plaintiffs