United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
REONA J. DALY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Santiago Diaz, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), brings this
lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his
constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated
at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”).
Plaintiff alleges he was provided inadequate medical
treatment for an injury he incurred to his right hand while
working in the dietary department at Lawrence.
Plaintiff's complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A and he was allowed to proceed on the following
Count Two: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Jane Doe Nurses #1-2 and PA Blanchard for delaying
and denying adequate medical care for Plaintiff's broken
hand and failing to provide him with surgery.
Kink was added as a party only in his official capacity for
the purpose of carrying out any injunctive relief to which
Plaintiff may be entitled.
the filing of his complaint, Plaintiff was assigned counsel.
Plaintiff, through assigned counsel, now seeks to amend the
complaint. Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Leave to File
First Amended Complaint (Doc. 37) is now before the Court.
Defendants have not responded.
indicates he seeks to amend his complaint to identify Jane
Doe #1 as Claudia G. Dowty and Jane Doe #2 as Jeanie L.
Stephens. Plaintiff also seeks to name the Director of the
IDOC in his official capacity only, for purposes of carrying
out any injunctive relief that cannot be performed by the
Warden of Lawrence, and seeks to substitute Deanne Brookhart,
the acting Warden of Lawrence, for Kevin Kink.
also seeks to add additional Eighth Amendment claims against
Lt. Jana Carie, James Berkes, PA-C, Wexford Health Sources,
Inc., The Carle Foundation, and the IDOC.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that a party may amend
a pleading and that leave to amend should be freely given
"when justice so requires." The Seventh Circuit
maintains a liberal attitude toward the amendment of
pleadings "so that cases may be decided on the merits
and not on the basis of technicalities." Stern v.
U.S. Gypsum, Inc., 547 F.2d 1329, 1334 (7th Cir. 1977).
The Circuit recognizes that "the complaint merely serves
to put the defendant on notice and is to be freely amended or
constructively amended as the case develops, as long as
amendments do not unfairly surprise or prejudice the
defendant." Toth v. USX Corp., 883 F.2d 1297,
1298 (7th Cir. 1989); see also Winger v. Winger, 82
F.3d 140, 144 (7th Cir. 1996) (quoting Duckworth v.
Franzen, 780 F.2d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 1985)) ("The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure create [a system] in which
the complaint does not fix the plaintiff's rights but may
be amended at any time to conform to the evidence."). A
court may also deny a party leave to amend if there is undue
delay, dilatory motive or futility. Guise v. BMW
Mortgage, LLC, 377 F.3d 795, 801 (7th Cir. 2004).
outset, the Court finds that Plaintiff's motion to amend
was not unduly delayed, will not unfairly prejudice
defendants, and was not brought with dilatory motive. Insofar
as Plaintiff seeks to identify Jane Does 1 and 2, add John
Baldwin in his official capacity, and substitute Deanna
Brookhart for Kevin Kink, his motion is
regard to Plaintiff's request to add Lt. Jana Carie,
James Berkes, PA-C, Wexford Health Sources, Inc., The Carle
Foundation, and the IDOC as defendants under a theory of
deliberate indifference, the Court finds as follows.
alleges Lt. Jana Carie failed to ensure Plaintiff had a
Spanish/English interpreter after escorting him to the
healthcare unit after sustaining his hand injury. The Court
finds that these factual allegations fail to substantiate an
Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Carie.
Indeed, the allegations do not substantiate any inference
that Carie had any knowledge that her actions would place
Plaintiff at a substantial risk of serious harm. As such,
Plaintiff's claim of deliberate indifference against
Carie is futile and he shall not be allowed to proceed on the
will also not be allowed to proceed on his deliberate
indifference claim against James Berkes and The Carle
Foundation. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff
must establish that a person acting under color of state law
violated his constitutional rights. See West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988). Plaintiff cannot proceed
with a federal claim under § 1983 against a non-state
actor. Am. Mrfs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S.
40, 50 (1999). The Seventh Circuit has emphasized that
“[t]his requirement is an important statutory element
because it sets the line of demarcation between those matters
that are properly federal and those matters that must be left
to the remedies of state tort law.” Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Service, 577 F.3d 816, 822-23 (7th
Cir. 2009). The focus of the court's analysis is on the
particular function of the medical provider “in the
fulfillment of the state's obligation to provide health
care to incarcerated persons.” Id. at 825.
the public function test, district courts must consider the
relationship between the state, the health care provider, and
the prisoner. Id. at 826. For example, when a
physician is employed by the state to provide medical
services to state prison inmates, that physician is
considered a “state actor” whose conduct is
“fairly attributable to the State.” Id.
at 824 (quoting West, 487 U.S. at 54). Also, a
contractual relationship between the state and the health
care provider, although not determinative, is “an
important factor in determining whether the private health
care provider has entered into its relationship with the
state and the prisoner on a voluntary basis.”
Id. at 827 (emphasis in original). If so, the
private provider accepts responsibility to perform duties
“in conformity with the Constitution.”
Id. Additionally, courts consider the relationship
between the provider and the inmate. To qualify as a state
actor, the physician's relationship with the inmate must
be direct, not attenuated. Id. at 828. An
“incidental and transitory relationship with the
state's penal system” or the prisoner is generally
not considered voluntary. Id. at 827-28. Incidental
or transitory relationships often arise in the context of
treatment at a hospital emergency room. Id.
the allegations against Berkes and The Carle Foundation do
not demonstrate they were acting under color of state law.
Indeed, there is no evidence of an ongoing contractual
relationship between the state and either Berkes or The Carle
Foundation. Plaintiff alleges he only went to one furlough
appointment at Carle Orthopedics where he was examined by
Berkes. Based on these allegations, the Court cannot find
that either Berkes or The Carle Foundation had more than an
incidental and transitory relationship with the state's