United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
June 7, 2004.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PHILIP REINHARD, District Judge
For the reasons stated on the reverse memorandum opinion and
order, the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment
as to all claims in the amended complaint and dismisses this
cause in its entirety. MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Terry Olson, a sentenced inmate incarcerated at the
Winnebago County Jail, filed a three-count, amended complaint
against defendants, the sheriff of Winnebago County and T.
Schiro, a corrections officer at the jail, alleging an Eighth
Amendment denial of medical care in Count I against Schiro, the
same claim against the sheriff in Count II, and a claim under the
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) against the sheriff in
Count III. Defendants moved for summary judgment as to all
claims, and in his response thereto, plaintiff concedes he has no
Eighth Amendment claim against the sheriff. Summary judgment is
therefore granted as to Count II of the amended complaint,
leaving for disposition the motion as to Counts I and III.
Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue
of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Nevel v. Village of Schaumburg, 297 F.3d 673,
678 (7th Cir. 2002).
Turning first to Count I, prison officials violate the Eighth
Amendment when their conduct demonstrates deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs. Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364,
1369 (7th Cir. 1997). This standard has both an objective
element and a subjective element. Gutierrez, 111 F.3d at 1369.
The objective element requires any deprivation to be objectively,
sufficiently serious. Gutierrez, 111 F.3d at 1369.
Sufficiently serious means that a prison official's act or
omission must result in the denial of the minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities. Gutierrez, 111 F.3d 1369.
As for the subjective component, a prison official cannot be
found liable under the Eighth Amendment unless the official knows
of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health and safety.
Gutierrez, 111 F.3d at 1369. The official must both be aware of
facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.
Gutierrez, 111 F.3d at 1369.
In this case, plaintiff complains that Schiro failed to timely
provide him with a diabetic snack on one occasion resulting in
his experiencing a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episode and
that on another occasion Schiro failed to allow him access to his
insulin which resulted in his suffering hyperglycemia (high blood
sugar). Neither situation satisfies either the objective or
subjective elements of the Eighth Amendment standard.
As for the delay in getting plaintiff a snack, the undisputed
evidence shows that when asked by plaintiff for his snack,
Schiro, who discovered the snack was not available, promptly
initiated steps to obtain a snack for plaintiff, which was
provided to plaintiff in a relatively brief period of time.
Unfortunately, during the delay, plaintiff experienced
hypoglycemia. There is no indication, however, that Schiro
intentionally delayed in obtaining a snack for plaintiff once he
was made aware that no snack was available. Schiro's conduct
cannot be construed as deliberate indifference to the medical
needs of plaintiff under the objective standard.
The same can be said for the subjective element. There is no
evidence to support a conclusion that Schiro was aware of the
seriousness of plaintiff's condition at the time he requested a
snack or that Schiro deliberately delayed in obtaining the snack.
The undisputed evidence shows the opposite, that Schiro acted
diligently in providing a replacement snack for plaintiff. Schiro
is entitled to summary judgment on this aspect of plaintiff's
Eight Amendment claim.
Regarding the insulin deprivation, the undisputed evidence
shows that when plaintiff approached Schiro intending to ask for
access to his insulin Schiro told him he did not have time for
him right then. According to Schiro, he was occupied at the time
with incoming inmates. Schiro assumed that if the matter was
urgent plaintiff would have recontacted him. Plaintiff does not
offer any evidence to contradict Schiro's explanation and, in
fact, testified that he did not press the matter with Schiro as
he assumed Schiro must be busy and would get back to him. As it
turned out, almost two hours later, plaintiff approached another
officer who provided the insulin. Unfortunately, in the interim
plaintiff's blood sugar escalated to the point he need to be
Again, the undisputed evidence does not give rise to a
reasonable inference that Schiro was deliberately indifferent to
plaintiff's serious medical need. The evidence does not
demonstrate that Schiro even knew of plaintiff's condition at the
time plaintiff approached him. Further, plaintiff never advised
Schiro of his need for the insulin. The best the evidence shows
is that Schiro may have been careless in not following up with
plaintiff to see what he wanted. The failure to follow up under
the circumstances does not constitute deliberate indifference.
Therefore, summary judgment is appropriate as to the claim based
on a failure to timely provide plaintiff his insulin.
The court's conclusion as to plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim
against Schiro is bolstered by the nature of plaintiff's illness.
According to the medical testimony, plaintiff was required to be
an active participant in his treatment. His failure to explicitly
advise Schiro of the need for his insulin and the seriousness of
the situation contributed significantly to the deterioration of
his condition. Schiro cannot be considered deliberately
indifferent where plaintiff failed to advise him of his need for
Summary judgment is also proper regarding plaintiff's ADA
claim. Plaintiff has offered no evidence that he received any
differential treatment or that he was denied any reasonable
accommodation because of his diabetes. In fact, the evidence
shows accommodations were made for his illness. Moreover, the ADA
is not violated by a prison's simply failing to attend to the
medical needs of a disabled person. Bryant v. Madigan,
84 F.3d 246, 249 (7th Cir. 1996). The ADA does not create a remedy
for medical malpractice. Bryant, 84 F.3d at 249. Accordingly,
the court grants summary judgment as to Count III as well.
For the foregoing reasons, the court grants summary judgment as
to all three counts of the amended complaint.
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