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Bilik v. Hardy

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 27, 2019

MARCUS HARDY, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Richard Bilik is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. This lawsuit concerns two medical issues Bilik has suffered since he has been incarcerated: first, he suffered a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (“MRSA”) infection while incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”); and later, during his incarceration at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), he experienced the regrowth of a cyst on his cranium that caused him substantial pain. Bilik claims he did not receive constitutionally-sufficient medical treatment for either condition. As a result, he has brought the present action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against various officials at Stateville and Menard for their deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Now before the Court are five motions to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Three Stateville nurses (Defendants Stacey Keagle, Gary Drop, and Athena Rossiter Raheem), [1] and one Menard sergeant (Defendant David Fedderke) have each filed his or her own individual motion to dismiss. (Dkt. Nos. 194, 205, 217, 225.) In addition, the remaining Defendants (with one exception) have filed a consolidated motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 210.) For the reasons that follow, the motions filed by Keagle, Drop, Raheem, and Fedderke are all denied, while the consolidated motion is granted in part and denied in part.


         For the purposes of the motions to dismiss, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts in the TAC as true and views the facts in the light most favorable to Bilik as the non-moving party. Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nev., N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007).

         At all relevant times, Bilik was an inmate incarcerated in facilities run by the Illinois Department of Corrections. (TAC ¶ 1, Dkt. No. 182.) On June 9, 2010, while incarcerated at Stateville, Bilik developed a MRSA infection on his face. (Id. ¶ 3.) The infection caused substantial swelling on Bilik's face that was plainly visible to anyone who saw him. (Id. ¶ 5.) In addition, Bilik suffered extreme pain that frequently caused him to weep and rendered him unable to eat or sleep. (Id.) Every time a correctional officer or nurse visited his cell tier, Bilik cried out for medical assistance. (Id. ¶ 6.) Yet, each and every time, his pleas were ignored. (Id. ¶ 7.) Consequently, Bilik was left in agony from the untreated MRSA infection for a week. (Id.) Only after Bilik was transferred to a different prison on June 16, 2010 did he receive appropriate medical care. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 18.)

         Later, while incarcerated at the Cook County Jail, Bilik underwent surgery to remove a large cyst on his cranial vertex.[2] (Id. ¶¶ 9-10.) Following the surgery, Bilik's surgeon advised him to return for a follow-up examination to ensure that the entire cyst had been removed. (Id. ¶ 11.) At the time of his scheduled follow-up examination, Bilik was incarcerated at Menard. (Id. ¶ 12.) Due to a lock-down at Menard, Bilik missed the follow-up examination, which was never rescheduled. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 69.)

         Ultimately, the cyst did in fact grow back during Bilik's time at Menard. (Id. ¶ 13.) As a result, Bilik experienced intense headaches that painkillers did not sufficiently alleviate. (Id.) Moreover, the pain caused by the cyst was so great that it kept Bilik largely confined to his cell. (Id. ¶ 14.) Bilik submitted several grievances to both his counselor and a grievance officer. (Id. ¶ 62.) Yet he received no medical assistance in response to the grievances. (Id. ¶ 63.) Instead, Fedderke, a sergeant at Menard, came to Bilik's cell to demand that he stop filing grievances. (Id. ¶¶ 43, 63-64.) That message was delivered at the behest of Defendant Jacqueline Lashbrook, a major at Menard who had primary responsibility for the area in which Bilik was incarcerated. (Id. ¶¶ 40-41, 44, 63-64.) Moreover, to drive the message home, Fedderke tossed Bilik's belongings around his cell. (Id. ¶ 64.)

         In his TAC, Bilik claims that prison officials and staff at Stateville and Menard were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In Count I, Bilik brings a deliberate indifference claim related to the MRSA infection he suffered at Stateville. (Id. ¶¶ 53-58.) He names as Defendants numerous Stateville correctional officers (“Stateville COs”) and nurses (“Stateville Nurses”) who he alleges knew of his MRSA infection but nonetheless ignored his pleas for medical assistance. In addition, he also names Stateville's Warden, Marcus Hardy, as a Defendant. Count II asserts a deliberate indifference claim concerning the cranial cyst Bilik contends was not adequately treated during his time at Menard. (Id. ¶¶ 59-72.) That count names as Defendants Fedderke, Lashbrook, and Menard's Warden, Kim Butler. Finally, Count IV[3] is another deliberate indifference claim, this one brought against Robert Shearing, a medical doctor working at Menard who Bilik alleges failed to arrange for a follow-up examination of his cyst.[4](Id. ¶¶ 73-78.)


         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). This pleading standard does not necessarily require a complaint to contain detailed factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Rather, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 728 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         In each of the motions to dismiss (with the exception of Fedderke's motion), Defendants contend that Bilik does not plead sufficient facts in support of his deliberate indifference claims. Specifically, they claim that Bilik's allegations fail to demonstrate that they were personally involved in the purported constitutional deprivation and that they acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind. Moreover, in the individual motions to dismiss, Keagle, Drop, Raheem, and Fedderke argue that the claims against them were brought after the running of the statute of limitations. The Court begins by addressing the statute of limitations defense and then addresses whether Bilik successfully states claims against Defendants.

         I. Statute of Limitations

         A. Keagle, Drop, and Raheem

         Although Keagle, Drop, and Raheem each filed their own motion to dismiss, all three motions are basically identical in substance. Their motions primarily contend that the claims against them must be dismissed as untimely because they were not named in the lawsuit until after the running of the statute of limitations.

         The statute of limitations provides an affirmative defense to constitutional tort claims. E.g., United States v. N. Tr. Co., 372 F.3d 886, 888 (7th Cir. 2004). Generally, a complaint need not state all facts necessary to overcome an affirmative defense, which is why it is “irregular to dismiss a claim as untimely under Rule 12(b)(6).” Hollander v. Brown, 457 F.3d 688, 691 n.1 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted). Dismissal on statute of limitations grounds at the pleading stage may be warranted, however, when a plaintiff pleads facts that effectively establish the defense. Id.

         The statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim is “governed by the personal injury laws of the state” in which the injury occurred. Hileman v. Maze, 367 F.3d 694, 696 (7th Cir. 2004). In the present case, the injury occurred in Illinois, so the statute of limitations is two years. See 735 ILCS 5/13-202. For deliberate indifference claims in which a prisoner contends that the defendants refused to treat his medical condition, every day the defendants “prolong[] [the prisoner's] agony by not treating his painful condition mark[s] a fresh infliction of punishment that cause[s] the statute of limitations to start running anew.” Heard v. Sheahan, 253 F.3d 316, 318 (7th Cir. 2001). Where the refusal continues for the entirety of the prisoner's incarceration, ...

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