United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Johnson Coleman United States District Court Judge.
plaintiff, Johnny Gill, brings this suit against defendants
Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Walter Nicholson, Euaristo
Aguinaldo, and Ghaliah Obaisi, as the executor of the estate
of former Stateville Correctional Center Medical Director Dr.
Saleh Obaisi. Gill alleges that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of
the Eighth Amendment after he fractured his right ring
finger. Wexford and Obaisi now separately move to dismiss
Gill's claims against them. For the reasons set forth
herein, Obaisi's partial motion to dismiss  is
granted and Wexford's motion to dismiss  is granted
in part and denied in part.
following facts are taken from Gill's complaint and are
accepted as true for the purpose of the present motions.
Gill, an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center, fell
and injured his right ring finger on April 28, 2017. After
the injury, Gill's right ring finger was black and blue,
swollen, and seemingly dislocated. On April 29, 2017, Gill
saw Dr. Aguinaldo, who ordered an x-ray of his injured finger
and gave him a splint to wear. Although Gill was experiencing
severe pain, Dr. Aguinaldo did not provide Gill with pain
medication or attempt to re-align his finger to ensure that
it would heal properly. Dr. Obaisi examined Gill three days
later and x-rayed Gill's injured finger. The x-ray showed
that Gill had a displaced fracture of the proximal phalanx of
his right ring finger, meaning that his bone was broken in
separate pieces that were no longer lined up. Dr. Obaisi
referred Gill to the Dreyer Medical Clinic for evaluation but
did not attempt to realign Gill's finger.
was examined by the Dreyer Medical Clinic three days later.
The examination confirmed that Gill had a closed displaced
fracture of the proximal phalanx of his right ring finger.
The Dreyer Medical Clinic instructed Gill to return in three
weeks for follow-up treatment and x-rays. Despite repeated
requests from Gill, however, a follow-up appointment at the
Dreyer Medical Clinic was never scheduled. Gill continued to
suffer from pain from his finger, which was swollen and had a
limited range of motion, but Dr. Obaisi did not attempt to
reset or realign the finger despite being made aware of
Gill's condition during multiple medical visits.
Gill's finger still had not been reset twenty months
after his initial injury, leaving his finger swollen and
disfigured and causing Gill unnecessary pain and limitation
of his movement and function.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint, not
the merits of the allegations. McReynolds v. Merrill
Lynch & Co., 694 F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 2012). When
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and
draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Boucher v. Fin. Sys. of Green Bay, Inc., 880 F.3d
362, 365 (7th Cir. 2018). The allegations must contain enough
factual materials that plausibly suggest a right to relief.
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569
n.14, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007).
initial matter, the Court notes that Gill has filed his
complaint against both Wexford and against Dr. Obaisi in his
official capacity. It is well established that when claims
are brought against both an individual acting in his official
capacity and a government entity, the claim against the
official is redundant and should be dismissed. Brown v.
Chicago Board of Educ., 973 F.Supp.2d 870, 875 (N.D.
Ill. 2013) (Chang, J.) (citing Jungels v. Pierce,
825 F.2d 1127, 1129 (7th Cir. 1987)). Accordingly, the Court
will dismiss Gill's official capacity claim against Dr.
plaintiff can hold governmental agencies or policymaking
officials liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if he suffers
from constitutional injuries as a result of an official
policy, practice, or custom. Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611
(1978). A for-profit company that provides health care in
prisons is a government agent for purpose of section 1983
liability. Gayton v. McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 621 (7th
Cir. 2010). To state a viable Monell claim, a
plaintiff must allege that his injury was a result of (1) an
express policy that caused a constitutional deprivation, (2)
a widespread practice that, although without express
authorization, is so permanent as to constitute a custom or
usage with the force of law, or (3) an action of a person
with final policymaking authority. Houskins v.
Sheahan, 549 F.3d 480, 493 (7th Cir. 2008).
alleges that Wexford receives flat payments based on inmate
population and therefore has a profit incentive to provide as
little health care to inmates as is possible. This incentive,
Gill alleges, has resulted in a policy, practice, or custom
of deliberately postponing or refusing treatment at off-site
facilities in order to reduce prisoners' medical costs.
This assertion is facially plausible given Wexford's
alleged failure to adequately treat Gill's injury or to
conduct the required follow-up appointment. It is also
supported by Gill's reference to other cases alleging the
existence of a similar policy of cost-cutting. White v. City
of Chicago, 829 F.3d 837, 844 (7th Cir. 2016); see
also Steele v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., No. 17 C
6630, 2018 WL 2388429, at *7-8 (N.D. Ill. May 25, 2017)
(Durkin, J.). Gill has accordingly stated a Monell
claim based on a policy, practice, or procedure.
separately contends that Dr. Obaisi was a final decisionmaker
for purposes of Monell liability and is therefore
liable in his official capacity. Gill's allegations in
this case, however, do not establish that Dr. Obaisi had
final policymaking authority in the relevant sense. Gill
adequately alleges that Dr. Obaisi had the final say on his
treatment plan and was thus the final decisionmaker regarding
his care. That, however, does not establish that he was the
final policy-maker responsible for establishing the
unconstitutional cost-cutting policies that Gill complains of
here. Whiting v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 839
F.3d 658, 664 (7th Cir. 2016). Although it might be true that
Dr. Obaisi received delegated policymaking authority in his
role as Statesville's Medical Director, the only
allegations concerning Dr. Obaisi's role assert that Dr.
Obaisi was responsible for “carrying out”
Wexford's policies and procedures, an assertion which
contradicts treating Dr. Obaisi as a final policy-maker. The
Court therefore concludes that Gill has failed to state a
claim based on Dr. Obaisi's role as a final
foregoing reasons, Dr. Obaisi's partial motion to dismiss
 is granted and Wexford's motion to dismiss  is
granted in part and denied in part. Gill's official
capacity claim against Dr. Obaisi and his section 1983 claim
against Wexford based on ...