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Jones v. Moore

March 24, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Clifford J. Proud U. S. Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff Gerald Jones, who at all relevant times was incarcerated at Tamms Correctional Center, has brought suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that on February 6, 2001, defendants Serles, Moore, Neighbors, Shields and Wright, intentionally used excessive force against him in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (See Docs. 1 and 6). Plaintiff further alleges that Dr. Powers was deliberately indifferent to serious medical needs that resulted from the assault-- another Eighth Amendment violation. (See Docs. 1 and 6). Defendant Powers is now before the Court seeking summary judgment. (Doc. 49).

A Report and Recommendation issued by this Court was pending at the time the parties consented to have this matter tried before a magistrate judge. The Court had recommended that defendant Powers be granted summary judgment. (Doc. 87). Plaintiff filed an objection, to which defendant Powers responded. (Docs. 89 and 91). Out of an overabundance of caution and consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this Court will now consider plaintiff's objections and defendant Powers' response and review the recommendation de novo and enter a final ruling.

Arguments for Summary Judgment

Relying primarily on plaintiff's deposition testimony and medical records, Dr. Powers argues that plaintiff did not have a serious medical need and, in any event, he received medically appropriate treatment. (Docs. 49 and 50). Plaintiff, stressing that his pain was not treated, counters that material questions of fact remain that preclude summary judgment. (Doc. 32). Plaintiff also attempts to discount his deposition testimony, noting he "reserved signature," implying that the accuracy of the deposition is in question. (Doc. 32; see also Doc. 59).

Additional filings debate whether plaintiff's recitation of "undisputed material facts" are undisputed. (Compare Doc. 52, pp. 6-11 (as numbered in CM/ECF) and Doc. 66 with Doc. 58). It should suffice to say that this debate makes it axiomatic that the facts are disputed.

In objection to the Court's Report and Recommendation, plaintiff now argues that the Court should not rely upon his deposition testimony, which erroneously indicates that plaintiff sought mental health care, not medical care, when plaintiff actually requested both. Plaintiff also argues that the nurse's notes did not reflect the true nature of his condition and the doctor's notes are falsified. Plaintiff otherwise insists and asserts throughout his 48 page objection that his injuries and pain were serious and that material questions of fact and veracity preclude summary judgment. (Doc. 89).

In response, Defendant Powers relies on Darnell v. Target, 16 F.3d 174 (7th Cir. 1994). (Doc. 91).

Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986). The evidence is construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all justifiable inferences are drawn in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Once the moving party has produced evidence to show that he or she is entitled to summary judgment, the non-moving party must affirmatively demonstrate that a genuine issue of material fact remains for trial.Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996).

In responding to a summary judgment motion, the non-moving party may not simply reiterate the allegations contained in the pleadings, more substantial evidence must be presented at this stage. "The object of [Rule 56(e) ] is not to replace conclusory allegations of the complaint or answer with conclusory allegations of an affidavit." Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). Moreover, a genuine issue of material fact is not shown by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties" (Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247), or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, (Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986))." "[S]ummary judgment will not be defeated simply because issues of motive or intent are involved, and is proper when plaintiff fails to indicate any motive or intent to support plaintiff's position." Morgan v. Harris Trust and Savings Bank, 867 F.2d 1023, 1026 (7th Cir. 1989).


The Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment requires prison officials to take reasonable measures to ensure a prisoner's safety and forbids them from intentionally denying or delaying medical care. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-105 (1976). However, not every injury a prisoner suffers violates the Eighth Amendment.

To state an Eighth Amendment claim, a prisoner must show that (1) he had a serious medical need, and (2) the defendants were deliberately indifferent to it. An objectively serious medical need is "'one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.'" Deliberate indifference entails more than "mere negligence," and requires the prisoner to show that the prison official was subjectively aware of the prisoner's serious ...

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