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WALKER v. PETERS

August 30, 1994

CLARENCE WALKER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
HOWARD A. PETERS, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON I. SHADUR

 Clarence Walker ("Walker") originally started this action as the first-named plaintiff in what for the most part has proved to be a frivolous lawsuit in the legal sense -- a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") action complaining of the asserted unconstitutional treatment of several Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville") inmates by reason of the filming at the institution of scenes for a motion picture titled "Natural Born Killers." *fn1" This Court's review of the legally frivolous aspects of this action then carved it down dramatically by the issuance of opinions and orders dismissing out all plaintiffs other than Walker and all defendants save four members of the Stateville staff (referred to here, for convenience, as "Stateville Defendants"). *fn2" But Walker himself survived those dismissals because this Court found that he had asserted a claim for failure to treat serious medical needs that was facially sufficient under Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1976) and its progeny.

 Three recent developments have placed this action into a posture for final disposition. First, all of the remaining earlier-served members of the Stateville staff (Warden Salvador Godinez, Assistant Warden of Operations James Schomig and Assistant Warden of Programs Jerome Springborn ("Springborn")) have filed a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 that, with the filing of Walker's cross-motion and of the Stateville personnel's response to that motion, has now become fully briefed. Second, Walker's July 25, 1994 filing of a motion for preliminary injunctive relief was denied in this Court's August 26 memorandum opinion and order. And third, late-served defendant Christine Blue ("Blue") has requested, and on August 26 was granted, leave to join in her codefendants' summary judgment motion (hence the enlargement of the term "Stateville Defendants" in this opinion to include Blue as well as the original three defendants who had been given that label). This opinion therefore turns to the cross-motions under Rule 56.

 Summary Judgment Standards

 Because of the nature of the parties' submissions, a few words should be said at the outset about the ground rules governing this decision. Familiar Rule 56(c) principles teach that to be "entitled to a judgment as a matter of law," any moving party must establish the absence of any "genuine issue as to any material fact" ( Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986)). In that respect a "genuine issue" requires that there be sufficient evidence for a jury to return a verdict in favor of the nonmovant ( Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986)), while a "material fact" is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law" ( id. at 248; Pritchard v. Rainfair, Inc., 945 F.2d 185, 191 (7th Cir.1991)). In applying those principles, this Court is not required to draw "every conceivable inference from the record -- only those inferences that are reasonable" in favor of the nonmovant ( Bank Leumi Le-Israel, B.M. v. Lee, 928 F.2d 232, 236 (7th Cir.1991)). Where as here cross-motions are involved, it is thus necessary to adopt a different perspective on each of those motions.

 But the need to draw such inferences does not require this Court to don blinders. Because summary judgment motions are tested by the same standard as motions for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(a) ( Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250-52), the process necessarily implies some weighing of opposing evidence -- as Anderson, id. at 251-52 has put it:

 
In essence, though, the inquiry under each is the same: whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.

 In this instance the parties have aided this Court by conforming to the requirements of this District Court's General Rule ("GR") 12, intended to facilitate the resolution of Rule 56 motions. *fn3" GR 12(m) requires every summary judgment movant to submit a statement of assertedly uncontested facts, with citations to the record in support of each. In turn GR 12(n) requires each nonmovant to respond to the GR 12(m) statement point by point, with citations to the record in support of (1) any claimed contest of the movant's version of the facts and (2) any additional facts that the nonmovant chooses to assert. For purposes of this opinion the only record references that are needed are to exhibits forming part of Stateville Defendants' GR 12(n) response, cited here as "D. 12(n) Ex.--."

 Facts

 In light of the just-discussed principles, the factual discussion here can be brief indeed. When Stateville Warden Godinez agreed to make the Stateville facilities available to Stone to shoot some of the scenes for "Natural Born Killers," a bulletin was issued to all members of the staff and all inmates (D. 12(n) Ex. 1) explaining what portions of the facility would be closed and reopened during what periods of time. Despite Walker's unsupported assertions to the contrary, the medical treatment for his numerous physical ailments was never cancelled or interrupted. *fn4" That has been established by thick medical records (as well as by affidavits) supplied to this Court, so that Walker's contrary (and wholly unsubstantiated) protestations need not and will not be credited under the already-stated principles.

 Nor was Walker denied pain medication during the June 29 to August 10, 1993 period, as he also asserts without evidentiary support. Exactly the opposite is true -- the contemporaneously-prepared medical records conclusively show otherwise. In fact, D. 12(n) Ex. 5 (Medical Progress Notes for July 14 and 15, 1993) expressly quote Walker as saying on July 15:

 I don't like all the extra medicine [Doctor] Brewer has me on.

 In summary, what the admissible evidence in the record shows overwhelmingly is a prisoner who does indeed suffer from a number of medical needs of a serious nature (at one point Walker was operated on to remove one of his kidneys), but all of which have been the subject of constant medical attention. As this Court's August 26 opinion denying Walker preliminary injunctive relief stated, the Medical Progress Notes addressing Walker's treatment alone and covering the short period beginning May 31 of this year comprise fully 36 pages, and they are supplemented by a battery of other medical records. Indeed, Walker's perception of that situation as somehow calling for the extraordinary remedy ...


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