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Logan v. Hertz

August 7, 2009

JESSE J. LOGAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT J. HERTZ, AND B. UNFRIED, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

A. Introduction

On July 27, 2006, Jesse J. Logan filed the above-captioned civil rights action challenging the conditions of his detention at the Madison County Jail (Doc. 1). Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Unfried and Hertz (Doc. 53). Unfried seeks judgment in her favor on Count 1, arguing that the evidence could not support a finding that she responded with deliberate indifference to Logan's serious medical needs. Hertz seeks judgment in his favor on Count 2, arguing that the evidence does not show that he was personally involved in a constitutional deprivation. Logan filed a response on June 9, 2009 (Doc. 58) and the Defendants submitted their reply on June 18, 2009 (Doc. 61).

Having fully considered the parties' filings, the Court hereby GRANTS the Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

B. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

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. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56(a) provides:

[Summary judgment] should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact that the movant is entitled to as a matter of law.

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).

The burden is on the non-moving party to produce specific facts that show a genuine issue for trial. FED.R.CIV.P. 56(e); Moore, 221 F.3d at 950. "Conclusory allegations and self-serving affidavits, if not supported by the record, will not preclude summary judgment." Haywood v. North American Van Lines, Inc., 121 F.3d 1066, 1071 (7th Cir. 1997); see alsoFED.R.CIV.P. 56(e) ("an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading").

In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the Court views the record in the light most favorable to-and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of-the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

C. Analysis

1. Deliberate Indifference to a Serious Medical Need (Count 1)

In Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment imposes a duty upon the States to provide adequate medical care to inmates. Failure to provide medical care violates the Eighth Amendment when there is "deliberate indifference" to a substantial risk of harm.Sherrod v. Lingle, 223 F.3d 605, 610 (7th Cir. 2000); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). In order to satisfy the deliberate indifference standard, a plaintiff must establish that: (1) his medical condition was objectively serious and (2) the defendant was subjectively aware of the medical need and disregarded an excessive risk to the inmate's health. Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 593 (7th Cir. 2001).

The parties recognize that Logan was not a convicted inmate at the time his claims arose. He was a still a pre-trial detainee when he was confined in the Madison County Jail. As such, his claim arises under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. But this distinction is a minor one, as there is little practical difference between medical care claims brought ...


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