Ruiz v. Botalid et al
Order for Service of Process upon Batalid, Thompson, Baldwin, Wexford, and the Warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center (official capacity only). The following claims will proceed: Counts 1 and 2 against Dr. Batalid, Count 3 against R. Scott Thomp son and John R. Baldwin, and Count 4 against Wexford Health Sources, Inc. Count 5 is DISMISSED without prejudice. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to ADD the Warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center, in his or her official capacity, to the docket for purposes of Plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief. Additionally, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to ENTER the standard qualified protective order pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 10/14/2020. (ksp)
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 1 of 8 Page ID #135
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ANDREW RUIZ, #K89371,
R. SCOTT THOMPSON,
JOHN R. BALDWIN,
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC,
WARDEN OF PINCKNEYVILLE
Case No. 20-00034-SMY
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
YANDLE, District Judge:
Plaintiff Andrew Ruiz, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently
incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. He claims deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs and seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1).
This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious
claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious,
fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an immune defendant must be
dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint (Doc. 1): Plaintiff, who is a
paraplegic due to gunshot wounds, arrived at Pinckneyville on July 21, 2015. He has bullets in
his lungs, abdomen, and spine. Absent timely administration of the proper medications and
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 2 of 8 Page ID #136
medical care, the bullets cause fever, shakes, stabbing leg pains, and colds that accelerate to
pneumonia within 48 hours. This information is contained in Plaintiff’s medical records. Plaintiff
is required to visit the prison hospital daily for treatment and check-ups for rashes, sores, and
ineffective pain medication. He faces a substantial risk of developing resistance to medications,
contracting diseases, declining health, and untimely death. Plaintiff’s medications and medical
care were not administered in a regular and timely manner at Pinckneyville.
Plaintiff told Nurse Marsha in the first week of January 2017 that he was having problems
breathing, running a fever, and that his feet were swollen. Her response was that she had, and will
again, tell Dr. Batalid. Plaintiff believes Nurse Marsha reported his condition to Dr. Batalid.
Plaintiff told Nurse Danniel in January 2018 that he was short of breath, coughing blood,
and his feet were swollen. She stated she would tell Dr. Batalid. Plaintiff believes Nurse Danniel
reported his condition to Dr. Batalid.
Plaintiff told Nurse Loddy that he was short of breath, coughing blood, running a fever,
that his feet were swollen, and that he needed to see a doctor. She told Plaintiff she would tell the
doctor and instructed him to put in a sick call request for a nurse follow-up visit.
Plaintiff wrote letters to Scott Thompson and John Baldwin on October 30, 2017 and
January 16, 2018 advising them of his breathing issues, pain in his lungs and back, the sores on
his feet and legs, and that Dr. Batalid was refusing to treat him. He told Thompson that he was
having a hard time breathing and his lungs hurt during a property box check on January 25, 2018,
but Thompson just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. During a property box check on
March 29, 2018, Plaintiff asked his cellmate to call to Baldwin that he had an emergency. Baldwin,
Thompson, and Lt. Wagner came to the cell and he showed them a bloody rag and told them he
was sick, coughing and throwing up blood, and was having difficulty breathing. Baldwin told him
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 3 of 8 Page ID #137
to file a sick call request and walked away. 1
Plaintiff was having shortness of breath and requested x-rays because it felt like he had
pneumonia. Dr. Batalid denied his request stating, “You write grievances and complaints on me,
now you want a favor from me. You need to think about that next time you are sick. No x-ray.
We are done here.” Plaintiff filed grievances on April 18 and 20, 2018 about Dr. Batalid denying
his request for x-rays and his sick call requests with no responses.
Plaintiff told Dr. Batalid that his urine was cloudy with a strong odor and that he had
shortness of breath and pain in his lungs. Dr. Batalid replied that all he would do is provide the
same antibiotics for the urine issue that Plaintiff had taken for a month. Dr. Batalid refused to
discuss the shortness of breath and pain in his lungs. Two weeks later Plaintiff was rushed to a
hospital. He went into cardiac arrest and was unresponsive for 10 minutes. He was put on life
support where he remained in a coma for several days. He was diagnosed with a pulmonary
embolism, pneumonia, and an infection in his blood.
Wexford has a policy of cost cutting measures in providing health care and medical
personal to inmates that results in imminent danger and health problems for the inmates including
Plaintiff. Wexford places profits over inmate care, encourages its employees to avoid costly
treatment by refusing medical treatment and monitoring, and pressures health care providers to
deny or limit medical care. Wexford has a practice of hiring individuals who are either not suitable
to, or under the conditions in which they work become unable to, provide inmates with the
necessary medical care. Wexford fails to adequately supervise its employees and/or fails to
discipline or discharge employees who repeatedly fail to provide inadequate care. Wexford
understaffs Pinckneyville resulting in employees who are too overwhelmed or who become too
Plaintiff also describes this exact scenario as occurring in January 2018 and states Assistant Warden Love was also
present. It is not clear from the Complaint whether there were separate occurrences.
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 4 of 8 Page ID #138
callous to the needs of the inmates to provide adequate care. Wexford does not provide adequate
evaluations, monitoring, or treatment for inmates known to have chronic, and in some cases life
threatening, medical conditions. Wexford’s policies and practices allowed Dr. Batalid to retaliate
and deny medical care to Plaintiff.
Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court designates the following claims in this
pro se action:
Eighth Amendment claim against Dr. Batalid for deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff’s serious medical needs.
First Amendment retaliation claim against Dr. Batalid for denying
Plaintiff medical care in response to him filing grievances.
Eighth Amendment claim against Thompson and Baldwin for
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s serious medical needs.
Eighth Amendment claim against Wexford for deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff’s serious medical needs based on its policies
and practices that resulted in a denial of medical care.
Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Defendants.
Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading
standard. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (an action fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim that is
plausible on its face.”).
Plaintiff refers to individuals in his statement of claim who are not named as defendants in
the case caption, including Nurse Marsha, Nurse Danniel, Nurse Loddy, Assistant Warden Love,
Lt. Wagner, Counselor Hall, and Counselor Loos. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(a) requires
the names of all parties to be included in the case caption. Therefore, any claims intended against
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 5 of 8 Page ID #139
the individuals not identified in the case caption are dismissed without prejudice. See Myles v.
United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551–52 (7th Cir. 2005) (holding pro se Complaint failed to state a
claim against individual mentioned in body of Complaint but not specified in the caption).
Counts 1, 3, and 4
An Eighth Amendment claim based on the denial of medical care requires a plaintiff to
show that (1) his medical condition was sufficiently serious, and (2) the defendants acted with
deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Rasho v. Elyea, 856 F.3d 469, 475-76 (7th Cir. 2017).
The allegations in the Complaint are sufficient to proceed on the deliberate indifference claim in
Count 1 against Dr. Batalid and Count 3 against Thompson and Baldwin. Additionally, Plaintiff
has stated a viable claim that he was denied medical care as a result of Wexford policies and
practices in Count 4. See Woodward v. Corr. Med. Serv. of Ill., Inc., 368 F.3d 917, 927 (7th Cir.
2004) (corporation can be held liable for deliberate indifference if it had a policy or practice that
caused the violation). However, the doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to § 1983
actions. Thus, Plaintiff fails to state a respondeat superior claim against Wexford based on the
acts/omissions of its employees.
Prison officials may not retaliate against inmates for filing grievances, exercising First
Amendment rights, or otherwise complaining about their conditions of confinement. See, e.g.,
Gomez v. Randle, 680 F.3d 859, 866 (7th Cir. 2012). To state a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must
allege that “(1) he engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment; (2) he suffered a
deprivation likely to deter such activity; and (3) the First Amendment activity was at least a
motivating factor in the decision to impose the deprivation.” Hawkins v. Mitchell, 756 F.3d 983,
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 6 of 8 Page ID #140
996 (7th Cir. 2014). Plaintiff’s allegations are sufficient to proceed on a retaliation claim against
Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process by
failing to follow written protocols, rules, and regulations for the treatment of inmates with serious
medical needs. Because Plaintiff’s claim that he was denied medical treatment specifically
implicates the protections afforded by the Eighth Amendment, there is no occasion to invoke the
limited protections of due process. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 273 (1994) ( “Where a
particular Amendment provides an explicit textual source of constitutional protection against a
particular sort of government behavior, that Amendment, not the more generalized notion of
substantive due process, must be the guide for analyzing such a claim.”) (plurality opinion of
Rehnquist, C.J.) (internal quotations omitted).
Moreover, § 1983 “protects plaintiffs from
constitutional violations, not violations of state laws or ... departmental regulations and police
practices.” Scott v. Edinburg, 346 F.3d 752, 760 (7th Cir.2003); see also Ashley v. Snyder, 739
N.E.2d 897, 902 (Ill.App.Ct. 2000) (prison regulations were “never intended to confer rights on
inmates or serve as a basis for constitutional claims”). Accordingly, Count 5 will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Plaintiff’s Complaint includes a request for injunctive relief. Accordingly, the Warden of
Pinckneyville Correctional Center, in his/her official capacity, will be added to the docket with
regard to the request for injunctive relief. See Gonzales v. Feinerman, 663 F.3d 311, 315 (7th Cir.
2011) (holding warden is proper defendant for injunctive relief claim as he would be responsible
for ensuring that any injunctive relief would be carried out).
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 7 of 8 Page ID #141
The Complaint states colorable claims in Counts 1 and 2 against Dr. Batalid, Count 3
against R. Scott Thompson and John R. Baldwin, and Count 4 against Wexford Health Sources,
Inc. Count 5 is DISMISSED without prejudice. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to ADD the
Warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center, in his or her official capacity, to the docket for
purposes of Plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief.
The Clerk of Court shall prepare for Dr. Batalid, Thompson, Baldwin, Wexford, and the
Warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center (official capacity only): (1) Form 5 (Notice of a
Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons), and (2) Form 6 (Waiver of Service of
Summons). The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail these forms, a copy of the Complaint, and this
Memorandum and Order to Defendant’s place of employment as identified by Plaintiff. If a
Defendant fails to sign and return the Waiver of Service of Summons (Form 6) to the Clerk within
30 days from the date the forms were sent, the Clerk shall take appropriate steps to effect formal
service on the Defendant, and the Court will require the Defendant to pay the full costs of formal
service, to the extent authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
If a Defendant cannot be found at the work address provided by Plaintiff, the employer
shall furnish the Clerk with the Defendant’s current work address, or, if not known, the
Defendant’s last-known address. This information shall be used only for sending the forms as
directed above or for formally effecting service. Any documentation of the address shall be
retained only by the Clerk and shall not be maintained in the court file or disclosed by the Clerk.
Defendants are ORDERED to timely file an appropriate responsive pleading to the
Complaint and shall not waive filing a reply pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g). Pursuant to
Administrative Order No. 244, Defendants need only respond to the issues stated in this Merit
Case 3:20-cv-00085-SMY Document 15 Filed 10/14/20 Page 8 of 8 Page ID #142
Plaintiff is ADVISED that if judgment is rendered against him and the judgment includes
the payment of costs under 28 U.S.C. §1915, he will be required to pay the full amount of the
costs, regardless of whether his application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. See 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff is further ADVISED that he is under a continuing obligation to keep the Clerk of
Court and the opposing party informed of any change in his address; the Court will not
independently investigate his whereabouts. This shall be done in writing and not later than 7 days
after a transfer or other change in address occurs. Failure to comply with this order will cause a
delay in the transmission of court documents and may result in dismissal of this action for want of
prosecution. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).
Finally, based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to
ENTER the standard qualified protective order pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: October 14, 2020
s/ Staci M. Yandle_____
STACI M. YANDLE
United States District Judge
Notice to Plaintiff
The Court will take the necessary steps to notify the Defendants of your lawsuit and serve
them with a copy of your Complaint. After service has been achieved, Defendants will enter an
appearance and file an Answer to your Complaint. It will likely take at least 60 days from the date
of this Order to receive the Defendants’ Answer, but it is entirely possible that it will take 90 days
or more. When Defendants have filed their Answers, the Court will enter a Scheduling Order
containing important information on deadlines, discovery, and procedures. Plaintiff is advised to
wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before filing any motions, to give the Defendants
notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before Defendants’ counsel
has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit any
evidence to the Court at this time, unless specifically directed to do so.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?