United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW - AMENDED COMPLAINT
BILLY McDADE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se, files an amended complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs at the Pontiac Correctional Center
(“Pontiac”). The case is before the Court for a
merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing
the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as
true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor.
Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649-51 (7th Cir.
2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are
insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”
Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
While the pleading standard does not require “detailed
factual allegations, ” it requires “more than an
accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx.
588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
needs corrective lenses for issues with his eyesight. When he
was previously confined at the Cook County Jail and at the
Stateville Correctional Center, he was allowed contact
lenses. In September 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to the
Pinckneyville Correctional Center and his contact lenses were
confiscated. He was later transferred to Pontiac where he
continued to wear eyeglasses but not contact lenses.
Plaintiff received new eyeglasses at Pontiac some time in
2015. He indicates that he wore them “sparingly”
for the next one or two years as, if he wears glasses for
longer than 15 minutes, he experiences headaches, blurred
vision, and dizziness.
February 7, 2017, Plaintiff told Pontiac ophthalmologist
Defendant Dr. Kehoe of this problem. Defendant Kehoe referred
Plaintiff to INI Neuro-ophthalmology where he was seen by
specialist Dr. Reuben Valenzuela on October 5, 2017, June 21,
2018, and October 4, 2018. Plaintiff asserts that at the time
of the last appointment, Dr. Valenzuela determined that
Plaintiff's problems were caused by a neurological
disorder, not otherwise identified. Dr. Valenzuela informed
Plaintiff that his headaches and dizziness would be
eliminated if he wore contact lenses instead of eyeglasses.
Dr. Valenzuela referred Plaintiff to the UIC Hospital to
receive the contact lenses, with instructions that Plaintiff
return for follow-up after receiving them.
Plaintiff returned to Pontiac, Defendant Doctors Tilden and
Kehoe referred him to UIC, not for contact lenses, but for a
second opinion. Plaintiff was seen there on December 7, 2018,
by Dr. Wyatt Messenger, an optometrist. Dr. Messenger
performed an exam and indicated that there was no
ophthalmological reason for Plaintiff to be unable to wear
eyeglasses. When Plaintiff responded that he had been
diagnosed with a neurological condition, Dr. Messenger told
him that he had no documentation of this as Dr.
Valenzuela's records had not been forwarded to him.
Plaintiff returned to Pontiac, he met with Dr. Kehoe who told
him that the request for contact lenses had been denied under
the IDOC contact lens policy. Plaintiff argued, to no avail,
that his request conformed to the policy as a physician had
determined that the contact lenses were medically necessary.
asserts that Defendant Tilden was deliberately indifferent in
failing to forward his records to Dr. Messenger and canceling
the follow-up appointment with Dr. Valenzuela. He asserts
that Defendants Tilden and Kehoe were deliberately
indifferent in refusing to authorize the contact lenses which
had been deemed medically necessary by a specialist.
Plaintiff requests injunctive relief, that he be provided
contact lenses and contact lens supplies, and compensatory
and punitive damages.
Plaintiff alleges that he has a neurological disorder
diagnosed by a specialist, Dr. Valenzuela. He alleges,
further, that Dr. Valenzuela determined that Plaintiff's
headaches and dizziness were the result of the neurological
disorder and would abate if he wore contact lenses rather
than eyeglasses. While it appears that Defendants Tilden and
Kehoe relied on the contradictory opinion of an optometrist,
the optometrist did not have the relevant records for review
and did not have the level of expertise of
neurological-ophthalmologist Dr. Valenzuela. This is
sufficient to state a claim against Defendants Tilden and
Kehoe. See Zaya v. Sood, 836 F.3d 800, 807 (7th Cir.
2016) (there existed a material issue of fact as to whether
the defendant general practitioner should have followed the
recommendations of the specialist). See also,
Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 729 (7th Cir.
2016), as amended (Aug. 25, 2016) (a prison
doctor's refusal to “take instructions from a
specialist” may be evidence of a significant departure
from acceptable medical judgment).
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. This case shall proceed solely on the deliberate
indifference claims against Defendants Tilden and Kehoe,
identified herein. All other claims will not be included in
the case, except in the Court's discretion upon motion by
a party for good cause shown, or by leave of court pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15. As Plaintiff has not
re-pled any claims against Defendants Meeks and Wexford, they
2. The Clerk is directed to send to each Defendant pursuant
to this District's internal procedures: 1) a Notice of
Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service; 2) a Waiver of
Service; 3) a copy of the Complaint; and 4) a copy of this
3. If a Defendant fails to sign and return a Waiver of
Service to the Clerk within 30 days after the Waiver is sent,
the Court will take appropriate steps to effect formal
service on that Defendant and will require that Defendant pay
the full costs of formal service pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 4(d)(2). If a Defendant no longer works at
the address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for which
Defendant worked at the time identified in the Complaint
shall provide to the Clerk Defendant's current work
address, or, if not known, Defendant's forwarding
address. This information will be used only for purposes of
effecting service. Documentation of forwarding addresses will
be maintained only by the Clerk and shall not be maintained
in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.
4. Defendants shall file an answer within the prescribed by
Local Rule. A Motion to Dismiss is not an answer. The answer
it to include all defenses appropriate under the Federal
Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings are to address the
issues and claims identified in this Order.
5. Plaintiff shall serve upon any Defendant who has been
served, but who is not represented by counsel, a copy of
every filing submitted by Plaintiff for consideration by the
Court and shall also file a certificate of service stating
the date on which the copy was mailed. Any paper received by
a District Judge or Magistrate Judge that has not been filed
with the ...