United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jerome Green, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, brings this
action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges
Dr. Ritz and Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
(“Wexford”) was deliberately indifferent in
treating Plaintiff's keloid, in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.
case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section
1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to
filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a
defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be
dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations (Doc.
1): Beginning in April 2017, Plaintiff started experiencing
breathing problems due to a large keloid located on the side
of his neck. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The keloid grew to three times
its original size and eventually burst open and became
infected. (Id. at pp. 4-5). Despite putting in
several requests and asking Dr. Ritz to have the swollen
keloid removed, Dr. Ritz, the utilization manager for
Wexford, denied Plaintiff's requests for the removal and
only provided Plaintiff with aspirin despite being in serious
pain. (Id. at p. 6). The keloid eventually
“erupted” and became infected, but Plaintiff was
only provided with Band-Aids and tape, as well as a feed in
permit due to the infection. (Id. at pp. 5, 7).
Plaintiff suffered with the keloid for over a year before he
was finally referred Plaintiff for outside surgery.
(Id. at pp. 6-7). Plaintiff further alleges that
Wexford is liable for Dr. Ritz's actions as he is their
employee and acted on their behalf. (Id. at p. 5).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following single count:
Count 1: Dr. Ritz and Wexford Health Sources Inc.
were deliberately indifferent under the Eighth Amendment in
delaying Plaintiff's removal of his keloid.
parties and the Court will use these designations in all
future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a
judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that
is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order
should be considered dismissed without prejudice as
inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading
states a viable claim for deliberate indifference against Dr.
Ritz for delaying Plaintiff's surgery for the removal of
his keloid for over a year. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Chatham v. Davis, 839 F.3d 679,
684 (7th Cir. 2016); Gomez v. Randle, 680 F.3d 859,
865 (7th Cir. 2012) (delay in treatment).
Plaintiff fails to state a claim against Wexford for
deliberate indifference. Wexford is a private corporation
that employs prison medical providers to provide medical care
at the prison. However, the corporation cannot be liable on
this basis alone because respondeat superior
liability is not recognized under § 1983. Shields v.
Illinois Dept. of Corr., 746 F.3d 782 (7th Cir. 2014)
(citing Iskander v. Village of Forest Park, 690 F.2d
126, 128 (7th Cir. 1982)). Thus, Plaintiff fails to state a
claim against Wexford when he alleges that it is responsible
for Dr. Ritz's actions. Wexford will only be liable for
deliberate indifference if an unconstitutional policy or
practice of the corporation caused the constitutional
deprivation. Plaintiff cites to only a vague practice of
employees “cutting corners” and “denying
adequate and timely medical care” without pointing to a
specific policy or practice that is attributable to Wexford
and which caused his constitutional deprivation. See
Olive v. Wexford Corp., 494 Fed.Appx. 671, 673 (7th Cir.
2012) (allegation that Wexford had a policy of “denying
prison inmates adequate medical care” insufficient, as
it did not “identify any concrete policy, let alone an
unconstitutional one”). As such, Wexford is
DISMISSED without prejudice from Count 1.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that Count 1 shall proceed as to
Dr. Ritz, but Wexford Health Sources, Inc. is
DISMISSED without prejudice. The Clerk is
DIRECTED to TERMINATE
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. from the Court's Case
Management/Electronic Case Filing (“CM/ECF”)
IS ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall prepare for
Defendant Dr. Ritz: (1) Form 5 (Notice of a Lawsuit and
Request to Waive Service of a Summons), and (2) Form 6
(Waiver of Service of Summons). The Clerk is
DIRECTED to mail these forms, a copy of the
Complaint, and this Memorandum and Order to the
defendant's place of employment as identified by
Plaintiff. If the defendant fails to sign and return the
Waiver of Service of Summons (Form 6) to the Clerk within 30
days from the date the forms were sent, the Clerk shall take
appropriate steps to effect formal service on the ...