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Gillespie v. Cox

August 19, 2008

BRIAN GILLESPIE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES G. COX, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, PHILLIP R. ROSE, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND UNKNOWN AND UNNAMED OFFICIALS AT THE LOGAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER, IN THEIR OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff, Brian Gillespie, has filed suit against Defendants, James G. Cox and Phillip R. Rose, in their individual and official capacities, and "Unknown and Unnamed Officials at the Logan Correctional Center," under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when they refused his repeated requests to be provided with prescription orthopedic footwear for a pre-existing medical condition, leading to damage to his feet. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (#123) on Plaintiff's claims. Following this court's careful and thorough review, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (#123) is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On November 1, 2005, Plaintiff, Brian Gillespie, filed his initial complaint (#1) against the Illinois Department of Corrections, Unknown and Unnamed Warden of Logan Correctional Center.

Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint (#10) on March 27, 2006, naming James G. Cox, and "Major" Rose, in their official and individual capacities as defendants. Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint (#34) on September 27, 2006, this time naming James G. Cox, in his official and individual capacity, and Phillip R. Rose, in his official and individual capacity, as Defendants.

In his second amended complaint (#34), Plaintiff stated that he was an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections at Logan Correctional Center, where Defendant Cox was Warden and Defendant Rose was Security Officer. Plaintiff was an inmate at Logan from September 20, 2001 to November 3, 2004. During this period, Plaintiff alleged, he was continuously denied access to his prescription orthotics by repeated denials of his requests to fill the prescription by officials at Logan. These denials caused him to experience intense physical pain and discomfort and to suffer permanent damage to his feet.

Count I of the complaint (#34) alleges violations of § 1983 by Defendant Cox in his individual capacity, claiming that Cox exhibited "deliberate indifference" to Plaintiff's medical needs for his orthotics and to his pain and suffering. Plaintiff claims that Cox's failure to heed his requests to get the prescription filled constituted a deliberate violation of his civil rights. Count II of the complaint (#34) alleges § 1983 violations by Cox in his official capacity as Warden, contending Cox knew of the seriousness of Plaintiff's medical condition, yet failed to furnish Plaintiff with the requested orthotics, again exhibiting deliberate indifference and cruel and unusual punishment. Counts III and IV repeated said allegations against Defendant Rose in his individual and official capacities and Count V repeated the allegations against Unknown and Unnamed Officials at Logan.

Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment (#123) on June 4, 2008. In their Motion, Defendants argued that Plaintiff's claims against them must fail because: (1) they are barred by the Statute of Limitations; (2) Defendants were not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs; (3) Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity; and (4) to the extent the allegations are brought against Defendants in their official capacity, the Eleventh Amendment acts as a bar to Plaintiff's claim for damages. In support of their Motion, Defendants included several exhibits:

Exhibit A: An affidavit from Defendant Cox, stating that while he was Warden of Logan from May 16, 1999 through June 30, 2002, he was not a licensed physician and as Warden he had no authority to override the decisions of a treating physician or private medical vendor regarding treatment provided to an inmate. He relied on the facility medical professionals to assess and adequately treat inmate medical problems and at no time during his tenure as Warden did he either deny a request from Plaintiff to receive prescription orthotics nor did he have any role in such denials. He did admit to concurring, on May 27, 2002, in a denial of a grievance filed by Plaintiff regarding denial of his orthotics, but claims that he did not undertake any independent investigation into the allegations but rather relied on his staff to investigate. Further, as a result of the staff investigation, it was learned Plaintiff had been fitted for braces which were in the process of being made.

Exhibit B:An affidavit from Defendant Rose basically reiterating the same points made by Defendant Cox, in that he was not a licensed physician, had no authority to override decisions made by the treating physician or private medical vendors at Logan, relied on the medical professionals to adequately treat inmates, and at no time denied, or had any role in denying, Plaintiff's requests for prescription orthotics.

Exhibit C: Plaintiff's grievance of April 24, 2002, saying he had corrective surgery on both his feet and ankles and had to wear orthopedic supports, and that he arrived at Logan with a prescription for such supports. A doctor at Logan approved the supports, but the healthcare administrator denied the request. He was not informed of the denial for 2 months and was sent in circles when he tried to follow up. Defendant Rose informed Plaintiff that after his initial approval, the healthcare administrator denied the request and that was why he could not get security clearance for the supports. He then dislodged a tendon in his right foot due to the lack of supports. He filed a grievance.

A response to Plaintiff's grievance was filed on May 27, 2002, stating that documentation provided evidence that the braces were being made and that there was no evidence in the medical records that additional damage had occurred to Plaintiff, so the grievance was denied.

Exhibit D: Medical progress reports on Plaintiff's medical condition while at Logan. One document is from Wexford Health Sources, Logan's medical provider. It is dated March 3, 2002, and concerns Plaintiff's request for orthotics. Dr. Cleveland Rayford, the Illinois Regional Medical Director, rejected Plaintiff's request for orthotics as "not medically necessary at this time" and instead suggesting an alternative plan of sending Plaintiff to a podiatrist.

Exhibit E: Plaintiff's answers to Defendants' second set of interrogatories. In his answers, Plaintiff claims to have contacted Defendant Cox concerning Logan's failure to fulfill his prescription on at least 3 occasions. He also believes that his parents and Illinois State Representative Thomas B. Berns contacted Cox but to no avail. Plaintiff believed this resulted in a retaliatory refusal on Cox's part in failing to give permission to the ...


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