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NELSON v. STOVER

March 30, 2004.

CEDRIC M. NELSON, #2001-0015469, Plaintiff,
v.
DETECTIVE D. STOVER, Detective #21337, DETECTIVE J. DOUGHERTY, Detective #20432, JEAN KIRIAZES, JOHN DOE STAFF, and JANE DOE STAFF, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MORTON DENLOW, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Cedric Nelson ("Plaintiff), currently a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail ("the jail"), brings this pro se civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Chicago Police Detectives Danny Stover and John Dougherty, as well as Jean Kiriazes and unknown individuals identified as John Doe Staff and Jane Doe Staff. On June 6, 2002, Defendant Jean Kiriazes was dismissed from the case. The unnamed John and Jane Does are also dismissed from the case because they were never named or served. Defendants Stover and Dougherty (collectively "Defendants") are the only remaining defendants. They are charged with violating Plaintiffs constitutional rights by failing to provide him with medical Page 2 care at the time of his arrest and consequently causing him substantial harm. Plaintiff now proceeds pro se because his appointed counsel was given leave to withdraw from the case on January 14, 2003.*fn1

This case is now before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted, and the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

  I. BACKGROUND

  When considering a motion for summary judgment, the brief and complaints of a pro se prisoner who is not skilled in legal analysis must be liberally construed. Whittford v. Boglino, 63 F.3d 527, 535 n.10 (7th Cir. 1995) (liberally construing the brief of a pro se prisoner to find that the prisoner had not waived an issue within the summary judgment context); Woods v. Thieret, 903 F.2d 1080, 1082 (7th Cir. 1990) (liberally construing the complaints of a pro se litigant in a civil rights case and finding a genuine issue of material Page 3 fact on cross-motions for summary judgment). Therefore, the Court has construed the facts put forth by Plaintiff in such a way as to construct the most logical sequence of events and arguments possible.*fn2 This liberal construction, however, does not obviate the need for Plaintiff to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) and Local Rule 56.1 because experience has shown that the best guarantee of evenhanded administration of the law is strict adherence to procedural requirements. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993). Therefore, the Court considers only those statements and allegations that Plaintiff supports with a sworn affidavit.

  On February 21, 2001, Defendants went to Plaintiffs home at 6:30 p.m. to arrest Plaintiff in connection with an aggravated criminal assault. Def. Facts ¶¶ 6, 8. Plaintiff claims that at the time of his arrest he was "injecting dope in [his] groin area and the hypodermic needle [he] was using broken [sic] leaving 2 1/2 centimeters of needle in [him]. While [he] was preparing to go to the hospital [Defendants] knocked on [his] door." Cmplt. at 6; Pl. Ex. ¶¶ 3-4. Plaintiff claims that when Defendants knocked on the door, he told Page 4 Defendants that he was planning to go to the hospital because of the hypodermic needle embedded in his groin, that he was going through heroin withdrawal, and that he was physically in pain. Id.; Pl. Ex. A ¶¶ 13, 18. Defendants deny having knowledge of Plaintiffs conditions, and there is no mention of Plaintiff's complaints in the case supplementary report. Def. Exs. B-D.

  Defendants transported Plaintiff to the Area Two police station, interviewed him, and left Plaintiff there while they went to speak to Plaintiff's alleged victim's doctor. Def. Facts ¶ 10. Defendants then returned to the police station and re-interviewed Plaintiff regarding the alleged crime. Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff claims that he made several requests for medical treatment and again told Defendants about his injury and pain. Id. ¶ 18; Pl. Ex. A ¶ 18. Additionally, Plaintiff claims that the next day, February 22, 2001, Defendants asked to see Plaintiff's wound, which was "draining a clear substance." Id. ¶¶ 18, 20; Pl. Ex. A ¶ 20. Defendants claim that at no point did Plaintiff indicate that he was in physical pain or in need of medical attention and that they never observed any injuries to Plaintiff. Id. They also claim that if Plaintiff had indicated that he was in physical pain or needed medical attention, they would have arranged for Plaintiff's transportation to the nearest hospital. Id. ¶ 19.

  At 9:15 p.m. on February 22, 2001, in the presence of Detective Dougherty and the assistant states attorney, Plaintiff signed a statement, confessing to the crime for which he was arrested, Def. Ex. D, but allegedly did so only because Defendants told him that he would not get medical treatment for his injuries unless he signed the statement, Pl. Ex. 1 ¶¶ Page 5 14, 17. However, the signed confession includes statements by Plaintiff that no threats or promises had been made in exchange for his confession, that he was treated well by the police, that he was given food, coffee, and cigarettes, and that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Def. Ex. F.

  After interrogating and detaining Plaintiff at the police station for approximately thirty hours, Defendants brought Plaintiff to the lockup facility in Area Two at approximately 12:05 a.m. on February 23, 2001. `Def. Facts ¶ 21. From that point in time, Defendants did not see Plaintiff again, outside of court proceedings. Id. ¶ 22.

  At the lockup facility, Plaintiff was processed by Officer Warren Hughes, who conducted a visual check of Plaintiff's physical condition and interviewed him. Id. ¶ 23. Officer Hughes claims that he did not see any injuries or physical problems suffered by Plaintiff and did not call to have Plaintiff transported to a hospital. Id. ¶¶ 24, 26. Plaintiff claims that he informed Officer Hughes that there was a hypodermic needle embedded in his groin area and that he was going through heroin withdrawal. Id. ¶ 24; Pl. Ex. A ¶ 24. Plaintiff spent the night in the lockup. See Def. Facts ¶ 24.

  During the day of February 23, 2001, Plaintiff was transported to Cermak Health Services of Cook County, the jail's medical facility, in order to undergo a medical screening. Id. ¶ 27. The intake officer completed a medical intake record, indicating that Plaintiff's general appearance was good and that his chief complaint was "bad health." Def. Ex. H. On a front-view diagram of the human body, there is a notation that Plaintiff has a scar on his Page 6 face. Id. There is also a "D" shaped mark encompassing the diagram's abdomen, right hip, and groin areas that may indicate bruising in those general areas, but its true meaning is unclear. Id. The accompanying right-side-view diagram has no markings on it. Id. Additionally, the intake officer noted that Plaintiff stated that he broke a needle off in his right hip area two months prior. Id.; Def. Facts ¶ 28. Plaintiff disputes this statement, claiming that he told the intake officer that the needle broke off two days prior. Def. Facts ¶ 28.

  On May 10, 2001, Plaintiff was x-rayed at Cermak Health Services and no foreign bodies were noted in his groin. Id. ¶ 33; Def. Ex./. On June 14, 2001, four months after his arrest, Plaintiff was x-rayed again and a needle was seen embedded in soft tissue projecting over Plaintiffs hip joint. Def. Facts ¶ 34; Def. Ex. J. Medical records dated July 20, 2001, indicate that Plaintiff continued to complain that he broke off a needle in his right groin area five months prior, but the physician was unable to palpate the needle and diagnosed Plaintiff with a needle in his right hip area only. Def. Ex. K. The physician referred Plaintiff to a surgeon for removal of the needle. Id August 7, 2001 medical records indicate that Plaintiff complained of a hypodermic needle broken off in his right groin in February 2001 and that the right groin was tender to palpation. Pl. Ex. /. Medical records from November 27, 2001, and July 11, 2002, indicate that both of Plaintiffs testicles demonstrated a normal sonographic appearance and that blood flow was normal in Plaintiff's right leg. Def. Exs. Page 7 M, N. On June 4, 2003, Plaintiff underwent surgery for the extraction of a hypodermic needle from his hip. Pl. Memo, at 18.

  Nonetheless, Plaintiff claims that he has suffered nerve damage and pain and numbness in his right leg. PI. Exs. J, 1 ¶ 14; PL Memo, at 18. He alleges constant pain and that he ...


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