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Morgan v. Wexford Health Services, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 3, 2019

JEFFERY MORGAN, #M31292 Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SERVICES, INC., DEE DEE BROOKHART, and LAURA CUNNINGHAM, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Jeffery Morgan, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff asserts an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. (Doc. 1). He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Id.).

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint: Plaintiff suffered injuries on July 2, 2017 while in the custody of the Chicago Police Department. (Doc. 1, p. 4). He was treated at a hospital for a broken right tibia and fibula, torn right ACL, and a torn right Achilles tendon. Plaintiff was transferred to IDOC custody on July 26, 2018 and was incarcerated at Lawrence. He made Warden Dee Dee Brookhart and Health Care Unit Administrator Laura Cunningham aware of his injuries via the initial intake physical examination review. Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff saw a physician who ordered physical therapy. (Id. at 5). As of June 8, 2019, he had not received physical therapy or sufficient medical care. His right foot has no feeling and swells at times and he suffers pain because of the injuries.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance for lack of medical care on March 26, 2019. The response from Cunningham stated that Plaintiff had refused physical therapy on November 28, 2018. Plaintiff filed another grievance stating he had not refused medical care. (Id. at 6). His grievance was denied. On appeal, the Administrative Review Board acknowledged the fact that he had not received physical therapy, but took no action. Wexford contracts with IDOC as a health care provider and is liable for damages incurred by its employee, Cunningham. (Id. at 7).

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court designates the following Count:

         Count 1:Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to a serious medical needs claim against Defendants for failure to provide physical therapy or other sufficient medical care.

         The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation does not constitute an opinion regarding its merit. Any other intended claim that has not been recognized by the Court is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pleaded under the Twombly pleading standard.[1]

         Discussion

         28 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault. Therefore, “to be liable under § 1983, the individual defendant must have caused or participated in a constitutional deprivation.” Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d 805, 810 (7th Cir. 2005). To state a claim against a defendant, a plaintiff must describe what the defendant did or failed to do that violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995) (plaintiff must assert a specific act of wrongdoing by a specific individual to meet the personal involvement requirement necessary for Section 1983 liability). Conclusory allegations are insufficient to state a claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Count 1

         To state an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, an inmate must show that (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) the defendant was deliberately indifferent to a risk of serious harm from that condition. Rasho v. Elyea, 856 F.3d 469, 475-76 (7th Cir. 2017). The subjective component of the claim requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that each defendant responded to his medical condition with deliberate indifference. See Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 440-41 (7th Cir. 2010); Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005).

         Although the Complaint suggests that Warden Brookhart and Health Care Unit Administrator Cunningham were aware of the injuries Plaintiff sustained a year prior to his incarceration at Lawrence, Plaintiff does not allege they caused or participated in a denial or delay of any medical treatment. Nor does he allege that they were aware of the physician's order for physical therapy and caused or participated in the denial of that treatment. Accordingly, the ...


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