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Irvin v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

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

December 19, 2019

Brandon Irvin, Plaintiff,
v.
Wexford Health Sources, Inc., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Philip G. Reinhard Judge.

         Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc.'s motion to dismiss [44] is denied. Defendant Mershon's motion to dismiss [52] is denied. Defendant Varga's motion to dismiss [42] is denied. Defendant White's motion to dismiss [55] is denied. The parties are ordered to contact Magistrate Judge Johnston's operations specialist within 14 days to discuss the scheduling of a settlement conference.

         STATEMENT-OPINION

         Background

         Plaintiff Brandon Irvin, incarcerated at Dixon Correctional Center (“Dixon”), brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition and inadequate medical treatment while in custody at Dixon. Plaintiff brings his claims against the Illinois Department of Correction's (“IDOC”) medical service provider Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), Dixon warden John Varga, Wexford's nurse practitioner Kristina Kay Mershon, and IDOC's Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) member Dave White. Plaintiff's complaint also claims Wexford maintained a custom, policy, or practice that resulted in a deprivation of plaintiff's constitutional rights.

         Plaintiff filed an amended complaint (through appointed counsel) on April 12, 2019 [40]. On May 8, 2019, defendants Wexford and Varga filed motions to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint [42], [44]. On June 27, 2019, defendant Mershon filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint [52]. On July 8, 2019, defendant White filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint [55]. Plaintiff responded to all four motions to dismiss on August 21, 2019 [69], [70], [71], [72]. Defendants Mershon and Wexford filed replies to plaintiff's response on September 12, 2019 [73], [74].[1] All motions are now before the court.

         Facts

         According to plaintiff's amended complaint, plaintiff was in custody at Dixon from at least 2017. In early 2017, he requested a low bunk permit for his back pain and was denied this request. In December 2017, plaintiff slipped and fell in his cell while climbing to his top bunk. Following his fall, on January 11, 2018, plaintiff saw defendant Mershon for abdominal pain. At that visit, defendant Mershon diagnosed plaintiff with a hernia. Defendant Mershon told plaintiff that Wexford would not pay for a hernia surgery because Wexford deemed it to be “cosmetic.” Plaintiff instead was told to “push the hernia in” and avoid strenuous activity. Plaintiff was warned that the hernia could grow, become more painful, and could result in infection. On January 11, 2018, plaintiff filed a grievance requesting a low bunk permit and surgery for his hernia. Within his grievance, plaintiff discussed his chronic back pain, the denial of his low bunk permit, the fall in his cell, the denial of hernia surgery, and the possible complications of the hernia. Defendant Varga reviewed the grievance on January 18, 2018. Plaintiff's grievance was received by the ARB on January 26, 2018. ARB member defendant White reviewed the grievance on February 1, 2018. Defendant White noted there would be no further redress of plaintiff's grievance.

         Plaintiff also alleges in his amended complaint that defendant Wexford maintains a policy or practice of ignoring prisoners' serious medical needs in the interest of cost-cutting to maximize profits. These policies and practices include delaying or denying treatment of prisoners for conditions requiring surgery, such as a hernia repair. Defendants' refusal to provide plaintiff with hernia surgery as well as reasonable accommodations to prevent further injury to his hernia place plaintiff at risk for medical complications, including hernia strangulation and infection, as well as continued pain and suffering.

         In his complaint, plaintiff claims defendants' actions and inactions amount to deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the individual defendants and Wexford. Plaintiff's complaint seeks money damages.

         Standard of review

         When evaluating a Rule 12 (b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must “accept[] all well-pleaded facts as true and draw[] all reasonable inferences in favor of the . . . non-moving parties.” Bonnstetter v. City of Chicago, 811 F.3d 969, 973 (7th Cir. 2016) (internal citations omitted). “A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint itself.” Id. “To state a claim, a complaint must first provide ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “The statement of the claim must sufficiently give ‘fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests' to the defendants.” Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To state a claim for relief, a complaint must provide more than “abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Instead, a plausible claim must include “‘factual content' sufficient to allow the court ‘to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Charleston v. Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 741 F.3d 769, 772 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         Analysis

         Defendant Wexford ...


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