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Haywoodd v. Feinerman

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 5, 2019

JOHN D. HAYWOOD, Plaintiff,



         Before the Court is Defendant Adrian Feinerman's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 36). Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison recommended that this Court deny the Motion. (ECF No. 45). Defendant objected. (ECF No. 46). Construing the Complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff John D. Haywood and drawing all inferences in his favor, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.


         According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was imprisoned at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) in Chester, Illinois in November 2007. (ECF No. 1 at 6). He relies on a wheelchair to get around; a debilitating back injury in 1995 left him temporarily paralyzed, and the discovery of bone cancer one year later resulted in the partial amputation of his left foot. (ECF No. 1 at 5). But upon incarceration at Menard, Defendant-Menard's Medical Director-confiscated Plaintiff's weight displacement brace and chair back brace. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Defendant told him that due to his maximum-security classification and the fact that Menard is not a wheelchair-accessible facility, Plaintiff would be housed in a non-handicapped-accessible area of the health care unit. (ECF No. 1 at 6).

         Plaintiff wrote to Assistant Warden Gary Conder asking for an emergency medical transfer to Big Muddy River Correctional Center. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Conder replied and informed Plaintiff that a transfer request could not be accommodated until Plaintiff was at Menard for at least six months. (ECF No. 1 at 6). At approximately 7:00 AM the following day, Defendant chastised Plaintiff for going “over his head” and ordered Plaintiff to gather his belongings. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Defendant instructed a corrections officer to push Plaintiff off his wheelchair and confiscate it. (ECF No. 1 at 6). The corrections officer told Plaintiff that he would be sent to the segregation unit if he did not get to the third floor of the North One housing area in a timely fashion. (ECF No. 1 at 6). When a lieutenant protested and demanded a wheelchair for Plaintiff, he was denied at Defendant's behest. (ECF No. 1 at 6). The lieutenant obtained a cart from a groundskeeper and pushed Plaintiff in it until they arrived at North One. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff crawled up the three flights of stairs and was taken to his cell in a gallery cart. (ECF No. 1 at 7).

         One month later, Plaintiff was moved to a cell on the first floor of the West House housing area and placed on “permanent lay-in” for over eight years. (ECF No. 1 at 7). From December 2009 to March 2016, Plaintiff was prohibited from leaving West House: no yard, chow hall, chapel, library, commissary, or prison programs. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Apart from visits to the health care unit, Plaintiff was denied access to a wheelchair for the entire period. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Even as he was transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center in March 2016, Plaintiff was denied access to a wheelchair and forced to crawl on the pavement to the bus. (ECF No. 1 at 7).

         Plaintiff-still incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center-filed suit against 21 individual defendants and two unknown medical staff members pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court severed the claims into four new cases. (See ECF No. 14). Counts 3 and 4 against Defendant are the only remaining claims here.

         The pro se Complaint raises two claims against Defendant: (1) deliberate indifference under the Eight Amendment; and (2) retaliation under the First Amendment. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing that the claims are barred by the statute of limitations.[1] Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that this Court deny Defendant's Motion. Defendant objected, prompting de novo review.

         III. LAW & ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         Any party may object to a magistrate judge's proposed dispositive findings, recommendations, or reports (collectively “R&R”). SDIL-LR 73.1(b). The district court shall review de novo those portions of the R&R that are specified in the party's written objection. Id. The district court may accept, reject, or modify the R&R, in whole or in part. Id.

         Motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim are governed by Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. To survive, a complaint must contain enough factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausible give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). “[A]ssuming that a plausible claim for relief is pleaded, the Federal Rules continue to rely on discovery and summary judgment practice to define the issues, identify genuine fact disputes, and dispose of unmeritorious claims.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 advisory committee's note. “At this stage the plaintiff receives the benefit of imagination, so long as the hypotheses are consistent with the complaint.” Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994). And a pro se complaint, “however inartfully pleaded, ” must be held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

         B. Eighth Amendment Claim: Deliberate Indifference

         Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Eight Amendment deliberate indifference claim is barred by the statute of limitations. Specifically, Defendant argues that since the Complaint makes no mention of Defendant after 2008, ...

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