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Strickland v. Blagojevich

February 18, 2009

TYRONE STRICKLAND, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, 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 41, 45]

I. BACKGROUND

The pro se plaintiff, Tyrone Strickland filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 claiming that his constitutional rights were violated at the Pontiac Correctional Center. On April 20, 2007, the court conducted a merit review of the plaintiff's complaint and found that the plaintiff had adequately alleged that Defendants Illinois Department of Corrections Director Roger Walker, Medical Director Dennis Larson, Warden Eddie Jones, Former Warden Guy Pierce, Dr. Zhang and Dr. Vade had violated the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights when they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that he had been diagnosed with a muscular disease and had failed to receive the "proper meds, etc, treatment" for his pain. The plaintiff stated that Dr. Zhang discontinued his treatment for back pain. Dr. Larsen failed to prescribe the appropriate medicine and ignored his sick call requests and Dr. Vade refused to provide a treatment plan.

The court found that for the purposes of notice pleading the plaintiff had stated a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. However, the court also noted that many of the exhibits attached to the complaint indicated that it was possible the plaintiff was simply disagreeing with treatment that had been provided. April 20, 2007 Merit Review Order, p.2.

The defendants have now filed motions for summary judgment and the plaintiff has responded.

II. FACTS

Defendant Pierce says he was employed as the Pontiac Correctional Center Warden at the time of the allegations in the plaintiff's complaint. Pierce says he was responsible for the overall administration and operation of the facility and assigned a designee to review all inmate grievances. Consequently, Pierce says he did not review any of the plaintiff's grievances or final determinations made by the designees. (Def. Memo, Ex B, p 1-2) Defendant Pierce does not identify any designees.

In addition, Defendant Pierce says he did not meet with the plaintiff to discuss his concerns and had no personal involvement with his allegations. Pierce says if he had been aware of the plaintiff's concerns involving his medical care, he would have forwarded the grievance to the Health Care Unit. Pierce says he relied on licensed medical professionals to provide appropriate health care. (Def. Mot, Ex. B)

Defendant Eddie Jones says he became the Warden at Pontiac Correctional Center in April of 2006. Prior to this, Jones was the Assistant Warden of Operations at Tamms Correctional Center. Defendant Jones says he was unaware of the plaintiff's grievances and if he had been, he also would have referred them to the Health Care Unit.

The Manager of the Office of Inmate Issues, Terri Anderson, says the responses to the plaintiff's grievances in this case were not signed by Defendant Walker. Anderson says Defendant Walker did not receive, review or respond to any of the grievances. Instead, this was done by a designee. The defendants do not identify this designee. (Def. Mot, Ex. A) .

The plaintiff admits he has never met Defendants Walker, Jones or Pierce. (Def. Memo, Ex. D, p. 61, 65, 68)

The plaintiff transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center on January 18, 2006. Defendants Dr. Vade and Dr. Larson both state that the Health Status Transfer Summary indicates the plaintiff's only chronic condition at the time of his transfer was psychiatric in nature and the plaintiff was receiving Prozac as a result. (Def. Mot, Vade Aff, p. 1; Larson Aff, p. 6). In addition, the ...


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