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Gomez v. Snyder

May 18, 2007

JUAN GOMEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONALD N. SNYDER, ET. AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCuskey Chief United States District Judge

OPINION

Before the court are the defendants, Blair Leibach and Donald Snyder's summary judgment motion [47] and the plaintiff's response [98].

Standard

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).

Background

Plaintiff is an inmate, currently incarcerated at Danville Correctional Center, who brings his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that sometime during 1999, he began to experience back pain, subsequent leg pain, and difficulty urinating. Plaintiff's complaint chronicles his medical care between 1999 and April of 2003 and includes several examinations by physicians, including specialists. Plaintiff admits he received diagnostic tests, including x-rays, an EMG, a nerve conduction study and two MRIs. Plaintiff's care also included prescriptions for medication, exercises, vitamin E injections, and an epidural injection.

Defendants assert that in light of the facts claimed to be undisputed, Plaintiff's claim alleging deliberate indifference, fails as a matter of law. Defendants assert that Plaintiff is unable to prove any personal involvement of Defendant Snyder, nor can he establish the requisite subjective component of Estelle v. Gamble, without which, it is impossible to show deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Moreover, Defendants assert that neither of them have a duty to provide injunctive relief to Plaintiff for two reasons: first, because neither of them work at Plaintiff's institution, or in the case of Defendant Snyder, for the Department of Corrections, and second, because Plaintiff does not have an ongoing constitutional violation.

Undisputed Material Facts*fn1

1. Plaintiff is suing Defendant Snyder because "he signed off on" Plaintiff's grievances. See Plaintiff's dep. p. 19, l. 14 - 18 [47].

2. Defendant Snyder did not receive or review the grievances regarding Plaintiff's medical issues. See Affidavit of Terri Anderson [47].

3. The grievances were reviewed by Terri Anderson of the Administrative Review Board and signed by Sandra Kibby-Brown as the Director's designee. Id.

4. Plaintiff is suing Defendant Leibach because he reviewed, denied and signed Plaintiff's grievances regarding his medical care at the institutional level and because Plaintiff wrote him letters, including one regarding a slow walk pass. See Plaintiff's dep. p. 20, l. 11 - p. 21, l. 17 [47].

5. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Leibach told him the walkers were placed in front of the movement line for security reasons. See Id., p. 20, l. 11 - p. 21, l. 17).

6. Inmates with slow walk passes were placed in the front of the line for security reasons as all inmate movement at Danville had to be escorted. See Affidavit of Liebach [47].

7. Plaintiff never spoke personally with Defendant Leibach. See Plaintiff's dep. p. 21, l. 22 - 24 [47].

8. Defendant Leibach is not a physician and not trained or licensed to determine what care an inmate needs or to prescribe that care. See Affidavit of Leibach [47].

9. Defendant Leibach reviewed Plaintiff's grievances, which included notations by the grievance officer that Plaintiff was receiving medical care for his back pain, ...


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