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Dye v. Tilden

February 21, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Court


The Plaintiff, Kenneth Dye brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U. S. C. Section 1983 against Andrew Tilden, a physician at Stateville Correctional Center (hereinafter SCC); Robles Gonzalez, a physician at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (hereinafter PCC); KB, a nurse at PCC; Rosalina, a physician at PCC; R. Hitcheus, a medical technician at Pontiac Correctional Center (hereinafter Pontiac); and Arthur Funk, Balatovic and Trainor, physicians at Pontiac. Before the court are the defendants, R. Hitcheus's summary judgment motion [41] and Dr. Arthur Funk's summary judgment motion [50], pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the plaintiff's responses [47] and [56], respectively.


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); Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Herman v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028 (1985). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992). Further, this burden can be satisfied by "'showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. If such a showing is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 837. A nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must demonstrate that there is admissible evidence that will support its position. Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). Credibility questions "defeat summary judgment only '[w]here an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility.'" Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 838, citing Advisory Committee Notes, 1963 Amendment to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(other citations omitted).

Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. 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 (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 mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, *247-248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986).

Furthermore, the court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to screen the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).*fn1

Pleading particular legal theories or particular facts is not required to state a claim. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (complaint need contain only a short, plain statement of the claim and the relief sought); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 612 (7th Cir. 2000), citing Nance v. Vieregge, 147 F.3d 589, 590 (7th Cir.). The complaint need only give "a short and plaint statement of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Leatherman v. Tarrant county Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993)(citations and internal quotation marks omitted)(cited by Dewalt, 224 F.3d at 612; Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

The merit review standard is the same as a motion to dismiss standard. It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), reh'g denied, 405 U.S. 948 (1972). See also Tarkowski v. Robert Bartlett Realty Company, 644 F.2d 1204 (7th Cir. 1980). They can be dismissed for failure to state a claim only if it appears "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Haines, 404 U.S. at 521; Gregory v. Nunn, 895 F.2d 413, 414 (7th Cir. 1990).

When considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court takes the allegations in the complaint as true, viewing all facts--as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom--in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bethlehem Steel Corp. v. Bush, 918 F.2d 1323, 1326 (7th Cir. 1990). Dismissal should be denied whenever it appears that a basis for federal jurisdiction in fact exists or may exist and can be stated by the plaintiff. Tarkowski, 644 F.2d at 1207, quoting Littleton v. Berbling, 468 F.2d 389 (7th Cir. 1972).

Background and Allegations

The plaintiff filed this lawsuit initially in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 11, 2005. This court takes judicial notice that on September 30, 2005, a status hearing was held before Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois. At that time, Judge Pallmeyer entered an order finding that the plaintiff's claims arising out of conduct at Stateville were untimely, and therefore transferred the case to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

According to allegations the plaintiff made in his amended complaint, while incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, he experienced intense burning pain in his chest and abdomen and an irregular heartbeat. This occurred in October of 2000. The plaintiff sought medical attention from Dr. Tilden, who was at that time a physician at Stateville. The plaintiff claims Dr. Tilden failed to take any steps necessary to identify or treat "this obviously serious health condition."

In October of 2001, the plaintiff was transferred to PCC. There, the plaintiff continued to suffer from symptoms including, but not limited to, episodes of sharp, burning chest pain, along with gastrointestinal discomfort. A nurse, K.B. Dr. Robles-Gonzales and Dr. Rosalina were made aware of these symptoms. The plaintiff claims that rather than treat these ailments, they administered him anti-psychotic drugs meant for another prisoner. The plaintiff claims these drugs not only failed to treat the pain in his chest and abdomen, they may have actually aggravated his heart condition.

On June 5, 2002, the plaintiff was transferred to Pontiac. The plaintiff claims his condition declined rapidly. He experienced extreme pain resulting from the loss of blood flow and oxygen to his heart. Within months, his heart problem was so aggravated that he could barely walk 25 yards without needing to sit down. The plaintiff claims that despite their knowledge of his increasingly severe condition and history, the defendants, Hitcheus, Dr. Balatovic, Dr. Funk and Dr. Trainor failed to take the necessary actions to identify and treat his serious health condition. As a result of the defendants' failure to provide him with the necessary medical treatment, on the afternoon of May 6, 2003, the plaintiff collapsed in his cell, suffering from ...

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