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Padilla v. Powers

December 20, 2007

JESUS PADILLA, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARVIN POWERS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("Report") (Doc. 43) of Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson recommending that the Court deny defendant Marvin Powers's ("Powers") motion for summary judgment (Doc. 25). Powers has objected to the Report (Doc. 44), and plaintiff Jesus Padilla, Jr. ("Padilla") has responded to the objection (Doc. 46).

I. Report and Recommendation Review Standard

After reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in the report. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are made. Id. "If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error." Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).

II. The Report and Objections

This matter stems from an incident in April 2004 when plaintiff Jesus Padilla Jr. ("Padilla"), an inmate at Tamms Correctional Center, was seen in the infirmary by Powers, a doctor at the facility. Viewing all facts and inferences in Padilla's favor, the evidence reveals the following.

Early in the morning a nurse reported to Powers that Padilla was complaining of back pain. Powers ordered Padilla to be moved to the infirmary for observation. When Powers visited Padilla approximately five hours later, Padilla was lying on his side complaining of lower back pain and told Powers he could not get up and would not try to get up. After opining that Padilla was faking his ailment, Powers directed a tactical team of prison guards to secure Padilla in restraints and make him sit up, both of which caused Padilla severe pain. Powers examined Padilla briefly, found no medical basis for Padilla's complaints of pain, prescribed several medications and ordered Padilla to remain in the infirmary for further observation and assessment. Powers refused to order further testing or wheelchair transportation within the facility when Padilla was released from the infirmary in May 2004. Padilla filed this lawsuit alleging Powers was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

The Report found that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Padilla was suffering from a serious medical need and whether Powers behaved with deliberate indifference.

In his objection, Powers argues that there is no medical evidence showing Padilla was suffering from a serious medical need or showing Powers was aware of any serious medical need before examining Padilla, when the tactical team restrained him and made him sit up. Powers has submitted a supplemental affidavit in support of his objection.

III Analysis

The Court has reviewed the motion de novo and concurs with the Report with the following clarifications. The Report adequately sets forth the relevant law, so the Court need not repeat it in this order.

A. Serious Medical Need

Powers argues that Padilla never suffered from a serious medical need, as is borne out by his post-incident medical records. The evidence, however, shows that although Powers found Padilla did not suffer from an objective, medically diagnosable neurological deficiency, he diagnosed Padilla with soft tissue aches and pains. Furthermore, Padilla testified that he was in severe pain. This is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that Padilla was suffering serious pain requiring medical attention. Prisoners are not required to provide ...


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