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Williams v. Ahmed

March 31, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge


A. Introduction

On November 8, 2004, Travis Williams filed the above-captioned civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Dr. Faisal Ahmed (Doc. 1). Williams alleges that while he was confined at Menard Correctional Center, Dr. Ahmed violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when Dr. Ahmed was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs concerning a stomach ulcer.

On March 27, 2008, Defendant moved for summary judgment (Doc. 46). On April 30, 2008, Williams filed a response to Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 53).*fn1 On June 6, 2008, United States Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier submitted a Report and Recommendation urging the undersigned District Judge to grant the Defendant's summary judgment motion (Doc. 64). Williams timely filed objections to the Report on June 11, 2008, arguing the Magistrate Judge was prejudicial towards him, that the Magistrate Judge improperly refused to appoint counsel for his civil proceedings, and that a genuine issue of material fact still remains as to the adequacy of Dr. Ahmed's diagnosis and treatment.

Accordingly, the Court now undertakes de novo review of the portions of the report to which objects were made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); FED.R.CIV.P.72(b); Southern District of Illinois Rule 73.1(b); Govas v. Chalmers, 965 F.2d 298, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). The Court may accept, reject, or modify the recommended decision, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. FED.R.CIV.P.72(b); Willis v. Caterpillar, Inc., 199 F.3d 902, 904 (7th Cir. 1999).

For the reasons explained below, the Court OVERRULES Williams's objections and ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation in its entirety.

B. Analysis

Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Breneisen v. Motorola, Inc., 512 F.3d 972 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c); Celetex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Krieg v. Seybold, 481 F.3d 512, 516 (7th Cir. 2007)). Because the primary purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims, the non-movant may not rest on the pleadings but must respond, with affidavits or otherwise, setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Oest v. IDOC, 240 F.3d 605, 610 (7th Cir. 2001); Moore v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., 221 F.3d 944, 950 (7th Cir. 2000). 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, 248 (1986).

In ruling on a summary judgment motion, this Court must construe the evidence and all inferences reasonably drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Tas Distribution Co., Inc. v. Cummins Engine Co., Inc., 491 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2007); Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 764 (7th Cir. 2007). Thus, the Court construes all facts and makes all reasonable inferences in favor of Williams in ruling on Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

1. Williams's Deliberate Indifference Claim

The Eighth Amendment protects citizens from cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. CONST.AMEND.VIII.*fn2 The Supreme Court has recognized that "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners" may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). This encompasses a broader range of conduct than intentional denial of necessary medical treatment, but it does not include "negligen[ce] in diagnosing or treating a medical condition." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106; see also Jones v. Simek, 193 F.3d 485, 489 (7th Cir. 1999); Steele v. Choi, 82 F.3d 175, 178 (7th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 897 (1996).

In order to prevail under this theory, a prisoner must satisfy two requirements: The first one is an objective standard: "[T]he deprivation alleged must be, objectively, 'sufficiently serious.'" Farmer,511 U.S. at [834], 114 S.Ct. at 1977. As the Court explained in Farmer, "a prison official's act or omission must result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities." Id. The second requirement is a subjective one: "[A] prison official must have a 'sufficiently culpable state of mind,'" one that the Court has defined as "deliberate indifference." Id.

Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991-92 (7th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1230 (1997).

However, the Supreme Court stressed that this test is not an insurmountable hurdle for inmates ...

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