The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge.
Willie Williams — a state prisoner — has brought this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
He claims that the defendants — correctional officials and
health care providers at the Graham Correctional Center —
violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by acting with
deliberate indifference to his medical needs.
More specifically, he alleges that "systematic deficiencies" in
the prison's medical procedures frequently resulted in his going
without his prescribed medication; that nurses sometimes
dispensed medication at the wrong hour, thereby jeopardizing his
health and comfort; and that one nurse refused to take the
plaintiff his medicine when she learned that he had been
transferred to another unit.
The defendants' motions for summary judgment are allowed.
Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91
L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Herman v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc.,
744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028,
105 S.Ct. 1393, 84 L.Ed.2d 782 (1985). In determining whether
factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Beraha v. Baxter
Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992).
However, Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment,
after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial."
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Where the record taken as a whole
could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party there is no `genuine' issue for trial."
Mechnig, v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359 (7th Cir.
1988). A "metaphysical doubt" will not suffice. Matsushita Elec.
Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106
S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Disputed facts are material
only if they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind.
Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992).
The plaintiff is a state prisoner, confined at the Graham
Correctional Center at all times relevant to this action. [The
plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Sheridan Correctional
Center.] The defendants Kenneth Dobucki and Bradley Sassatelli
are, respectively, the prison's warden and assistant warden. The
defendant John Cearlock is the health care unit administrator at
Graham. The defendants Patti White and Susan Schroll (now Linden)
are staff nurses, or were so at the time of the events giving
rise to this lawsuit.
The following facts are undisputed for purposes of this motion:
The plaintiff suffers from chronic hypertension (high blood
pressure). The plaintiff must take medication such as Calan SR,
Zestril, and Lotensin; furthermore, his blood pressure must be
The plaintiff has also been diagnosed with psychosis NOS
[presumably, "not otherwise specified" as a particular type of
mental illness] and depression, for which he has taken (at
various times) Sinequan, Vistaril and Atrex. In addition, the
plaintiff received ongoing care from a psychiatrist and
psychologist while confined at the Graham Correctional Center.
On occasion, the plaintiff refused both his psychiatric
medication and his blood pressure medication.
In "rare instances" the plaintiff did not receive his
prescribed medication. Reasons included oversight or
miscommunication, a prescription not being renewed, or the
pharmacy awaiting delivery of medication not in stock. A
physician orders medication for a specific length of time. When a
medication order expires, it must be re-ordered by a doctor, as
only licensed physicians can prescribe medication.
On each occasion when the plaintiff called an omission to the
health care staff, the reason for the lapse was explained to him.
If the problem stemmed from a failure on the part of the prison
health care staff, efforts were made to ensure that the problem
not recur. See Affidavit of John Cearlock, Health Care Unit
Administrator. On other ...