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Hunter v. Awada

September 8, 2008

ANDRE HUNTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. BEN AWADA, ET.AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER

This cause is before the court for consideration of the defendants' motions for summary judgment. [d/e 51, 52]

I. BACKGROUND

The pro se plaintiff filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against 13 defendants at the Illinois River Correctional Center including: Dr. Ben Awada; Dr. Graciela Grammar; Dr. Seth Osafa; Dr. Williard Elyea; Illinois Department of Corrections (herein I.D.O.C) Deputy Director Barbara Hunt; I.D.O.C. Director Roger Walker; Administrative Review Board Members Terri Anderson and Sherry Benton; Dental Assistant Karen Harper; Warden Donald Hulick; Grievance Officer Kevin Kirkbride and Wexford Health Sources.

On March 30, 2007, the court found that the plaintiff had adequately alleged that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical (dental) needs. See March 30, 2007 Text Order. On February 7, 2008, Defendants Harper, Wexford, Awada, Grammar, Osafa filed a motion for summary judgment. [d/e 51] On February 8, 2008, the remaining I.D.O.C. defendants also filed a motion for summary judgment. [d/e 52]. The plaintiff filed a response to the first motion for summary judgment, but did not respond to the second motion. [d/e 56]

II. FACTS

The plaintiff did not respond to the defendants statement of undisputed facts. The following facts are therefore taken from the dispositive motion and response along with attached affidavits and exhibits.

The plaintiff had a root canal on his #19 tooth in 1998. (Def. Memo, Plain. Depo, p. 42). The dentist who performed the root canal did not put a cap or crown on the plaintiff's tooth after the procedure. (Def. Memo, Plain. Depo. p. 42-43). The plaintiff entered the Illinois Department of Corrections sometime in December of 2000.

Dr. Graciela Grammar is a Doctor of Dental Surgery and has worked as a dentist since 1976. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Grammar worked as a part-time dentist at two correctional centers including the Illinois River Correctional Center. The plaintiff was one of the doctor's patients during this time frame.

Dr. Ben Awada is also a Doctor of Dental Surgery and began provided dental services within the Illinois Department of Corrections in 1995. Dr. Awada currently works as the only dentist at Illinois River Correctional Center. The plaintiff was one of Dr. Awada's patients.

Karen Harper is a dental assistant and she does not make any decisions with regard to patient care, nor can she contradict or change care provided by the licensed dentists. (Def. Memo, Harper Aff. p. 1)

The dentists say there are approximately 2000 inmates at Illinois River Correctional Center and more than sixty percent enter prison with serious dental problems. (Def. Memo, Awada Depo., p. 1) The doctors also state that often prisoners have had no access to dental services prior to prison. (Def. Memo, Gram. Depo, p. 2)

Dr. Seth Osafo was the Medical Director at Illinois River Correctional Center. Dr. Osafo says he is not a dentist and does not have any control or direction in the treatment of dental problems other than as a temporary provider until a patient can be seen by a dentist. Consequently, Dr. Osafo says he did not personally examine the plaintiff for tooth pain, but did personally examine the plaintiff for a variety of other reasons. (Def. Memo, Osafo Depo, p. 1, 3)

Dr. Grammar saw the plaintiff on October 16, 2001 and put a filling into the plaintiff's #19 tooth. The doctor says she believes the filling was the appropriate treatment for the plaintiff at the time. (Def. Memo, Gram. Depo, p. 2)

On April 13, 2004, Dr. Awada gave the plaintiff his two-year dental examination. Afterwards, the doctor made an appointment for follow-up work on the plaintiff's #19 tooth.

On May 4, 2004, the plaintiff returned to the dental clinic and X-rays were taken of his teeth. Dr. Awada removed an old filing and decay from tooth #19 and replaced the filing. Dr. Awada says it was his belief that this was the appropriate care for the plaintiff. (Def. Memo, Awada Depo. p. 2)

Dr. Grammar saw the plaintiff again on July 21, 2005. The plaintiff was complaining of pain to tooth #19. Dr. Grammar determined that the plaintiff needed another filing and scheduled the plaintiff for a follow-up visit on August 2, 2005. Dr. Grammar placed a new filling in the plaintiff's tooth at the follow-up visit. Dr. Grammar again states that she believes this was the correct treatment for ...


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