United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. Wood United States District Judge
September 2012, Plaintiff James Johnson injured his ankle
while playing basketball at Stateville Correctional Center
(“Stateville”). The injury caused Johnson to
experience severe pain in his ankle. Yet, according to
Johnson, Dr. Saleh Obaisi, Dr. Arthur Funk, and Nicolette
Duffield (collectively, “Defendants”) failed to
provide him with appropriate medical care. And so Johnson has
filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference
to his serious medical condition. Ghaliah Obaisi, in her role
as the independent executor of Dr. Obaisi’s estate, and
Dr. Funk have moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that Johnson’s claims are
barred by the statute of limitations. (Dkt. No. 33.) Duffield
has also filed her own separate Rule 12(b)(6) motion,
claiming that the FAC fails to allege sufficiently that she
was personally involved in Johnson’s deficient care.
(Dkt. No. 49.) For the reasons explained below, both motions
purposes of the motions to dismiss, the Court accepts the
well-pleaded facts in the FAC as true and views those facts
in the light most favorable to Johnson. See, e.g.,
Anicich v. Home Depot USA, Inc., 852 F.3d 643, 648
(7th Cir. 2017). The FAC alleges as follows.
early September 2012, while incarcerated at Stateville,
Johnson suffered a painful injury to his ankle playing
basketball. (FAC ¶¶ 14–15, Dkt. No. 21.)
Stateville medical staff provided Johnson with a crutch and
ibuprofen, but he was not treated by a doctor at that time.
(Id. ¶ 17.) Four days later, medical staff
x-rayed Johnson’s ankle. (Id. ¶ 19.)
Eventually, after he filed a grievance requesting medical
attention, Johnson was seen by Dr. Obaisi in October 2012.
(Id. ¶¶ 20–21.) Dr. Obaisi told
Johnson that he had a sprained ankle and provided him with a
brace and meloxicam. (Id. ¶¶ 21–22.)
continued to file grievances, complaints, and sick-call
requests seeking medical attention for his ankle injury.
(Id. ¶ 23.) As a result, he was seen again by
Dr. Obaisi in November or December 2012. (Id.)
During that visit, Dr. Obaisi took away Johnson’s
crutch and, despite Johnson’s complaint that the pain
was “too much to walk on, ” advised him to
“walk on it and it would get better.”
(Id.) Johnson also told Dr. Obaisi that he was
experiencing hip pain from using the crutch, to which Dr.
Obaisi responded that the pain “would go away
soon.” (Id. ¶ 24.) When Johnson informed
Dr. Obaisi that he was uncomfortable walking without his
crutch while in so much pain, Dr. Obaisi replied,
“Trust me, I’m a doctor.” (Id.
thereafter, Johnson fell getting out of his top bunk and
injured himself further. (Id. ¶ 26.) He filed
several grievances related to the fall and was summoned to
Dr. Obaisi’s office in January 2013. (Id.
¶¶ 26–27.) But instead of treating Johnson,
Dr. Obaisi accused him of “f**king lying” about
the fall from his bunk, told him “there is nothing
wrong with your ankle mother f**ker, ” and demanded he
leave the office. (Id. ¶ 27.)
August 2014, Johnson again filed a grievance about pain in
his ankle, back, and neck, and requested x-rays.
(Id. ¶ 28.) Later that month, Dr. Obaisi
overheard another doctor attending to Johnson and interjected
that Johnson could walk and did not need crutches.
(Id. ¶ 29.) The other doctor then refused to
provide Johnson with crutches. (Id.) Two years
later, in August 2016, Johnson was seen by a third doctor,
Dr. Aguinaldo,  for pain in his shoulder and wrist.
(Id. ¶ 30.) When Johnson also complained about
pain in his ankle, Dr. Aguinaldo instructed Johnson to file a
separate sick-call slip for that injury. (Id.)
Johnson then filed several emergency grievances for pain in
his ankle, all of which were denied. (Id. ¶
subsequently filed the present lawsuit in June 2017, claiming
that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his
serious medical condition in violation of his Eighth
Amendment rights by failing to treat his ankle injury
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face” and allege facts that “allow the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In considering a motion
to dismiss, this Court accepts all of the plaintiff’s
factual allegations as true and “draw[s] all
permissible inferences” in the plaintiff’s favor.
Bible v. United Student Aid Funds Inc., 799 F.3d
633, 639 (7th Cir. 2015).
Dr. Obaisi and Dr. Funk
statute of limitations provides an affirmative defense to
constitutional tort claims. E.g., United States
v. Northern Trust 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.
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, Johnson’s injury occurred in Illinois, so the
statute of limitations is two years. See 735 ILCS
5/13-202. While the length of the limitations period is
determined by state law, the rules governing accrual are
determined by federal law. Hileman, 367 F.3d at 696.
Although the statute of limitations begins to run the day an
injury accrues, the continuing-violation doctrine allows
“a plaintiff to reach back to [the beginning of a
violation] even if that beginning lies outside the statutory
limitations period, when it would be unreasonable to require
or even permit him to sue separately over every incident of
the defendant’s unlawful conduct.” Heard v.
Sheahan, 253 F.3d 316, 319–20 (7th Cir. 2001). For
Eighth Amendment claims, any time a defendant has the power
to treat a prisoner but does not, he creates “a fresh
infliction of punishment that ...