Argued January 8, 2014
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:10-cv-06836 -- George M. Marovich, Judge.
For LADELL HENDERSON, Plaintiff - Appellant: Leslie D. Davis, Attorney, DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH, LLP, Chicago, IL.
For PARTHASARATHI GHOSH, Doctor, EVARISTO AGUINALDO, Doctor, LIPING ZHANG, Defendants - Appellees: Michael John Charysh, Attorney, CHARYSH & SCHROEDER, LTD., Chicago, IL.
Before BAUER, WILLIAMS, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.
Ladell Henderson, a prisoner at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois, sued health care providers and other corrections employees alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The district court denied his motions for recruitment of counsel filed during the pleading and discovery phases of the litigation. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, and Henderson filed another motion for recruitment of counsel, which was granted. After counsel filed Henderson's summary judgment response, the district court granted the defendants summary judgment. Henderson now appeals from that judgment, contending that it should be overturned because of error in the denials of his requests for recruitment of counsel. We reverse.
Henderson has been an inmate at Stateville since 1995. He was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 1999 and with diabetes in 2000. He has received some medical treatment for both conditions. In September 2009, Henderson suffered diabetic hypoglycemia and tremulous convulsions in his cell and was taken to Stateville's emergency room for evaluation. He underwent diagnostic testing, which revealed that his blood urea nitrogen, potassium, and creatinine levels were " out of range." At an appointment with Dr. Liping Zhang in early October 2009, Henderson was informed that he had a " bad kidney problem."
Later that month, Henderson was seen by a nephrologist who recommended immediate hospital admission for hemodialysis surgery and treatment. At the hospital Henderson was informed that he had " end-stage" or " Stage 5 kidney failure," which he understood to mean that he would have to undergo dialysis or he would die. According to Henderson, that was the first time anyone informed him that he had kidney disease, renal insufficiency, or kidney failure. Henderson underwent a surgical procedure in order to undergo hemodialysis. He must undergo dialysis several times a week.
In October 2010, Henderson sued the defendants alleging that they acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. His complaint alleges that diagnostic testing revealed that his toxic waste levels were " out of range," but he was not notified of this fact nor treated for his kidney problems until he had reached Stage 5 kidney disease. At the same time he filed his complaint, Henderson filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion for recruitment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). The latter motion stated that Henderson was an inmate at Stateville, was " illiterate to" civil litigation, was " not competent to prosecute" his case, had a fifth grade education, and had presented his claims through the assistance of other inmates who had no obligation to help him. The affidavit of Lester Dobbey, the inmate who assisted Henderson in preparing his filings, was attached to the motion for counsel. The affidavit stated that Dobbey had only a GED and no formal legal education. It also said that Henderson had stated that he had a low IQ and was " incompetent" to prosecute his case himself.
In February 2011, the district court granted Henderson leave to proceed in forma pauperis and denied his motion for recruitment of counsel. The court ...