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Rice v. Walker

March 16, 2010


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

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Before the court are the defendants, Greg Sims and Roger Walker's summary judgment motion [55] and the plaintiff's response [57].


On September 25, 2006, Plaintiff, Claude Rice, at that time an inmate within the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), filed the instant Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, against Defendant Sims, the former Warden of Taylorville Correctional Center (Taylorville), Defendant Walker, the former Director of IDOC and Co-Defendants, Dr. Rosalina Gonzalez and Health Professionals, Ltd., regarding events that occurred at Taylorville. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding the medical care he received for his right shoulder while incarcerated at Taylorville. On December 10, 2009, the medical defendants were dismissed from this case on their and Plaintiff's joint motion. Defendants Sims and Walker now move for summary judgment.


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 and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Any discrepancies in the factual record should be evaluated in the non-movant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)). The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

"Summary judgment is the 'put up or shut up' moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of events.

Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2000). A party opposing summary judgment bears the burden to respond, not simply by resting on its own pleading but by "set[ting] out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). In order to be a "genuine" issue, there must be more than "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Ind. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "If [the non-movant] does not [meet his burden], summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against [the non-movant]." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Further, "[t]he plaintiff cannot merely allege the existence of a factual dispute to defeat summary judgment .. Instead, he must supply evidence sufficient to allow a jury to render a verdict in his favor." Basith v. Cook County, 241 F.3d 919, 926 (7th Cir. 2001). Specifically, the non-moving party "must present sufficient evidence to show the existence of each element of its case on which it will bear the burden at trial." Filipovic v. K&R Express Systems, Inc., 176 F.3d 390, 390 (7th Cir. 1999). Failure by the non-movant to meet all of the above requirements subjects him to summary judgment on his claims.

Affidavits must be based on the personal knowledge of the affiant and "set out facts that would be admissible in evidence." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) (emphasis added). Personal knowledge may include inferences and opinions drawn from those facts. Visser v. Packer Eng. Assoc., Inc., 924 F.2d 655, 659 (7th Cir. 1991). "But the inferences and opinions must be grounded in observation or other first-hand personal experience. They must not be based on flights of fancy, speculations, hunches, intuitions or rumors remote from that experience." Visser, 924 F.2d at 659.

Undisputed Material Facts*fn1

1. Plaintiff entered Taylorville on or about September 11, 2003. ( Defendants' Exhibit A, Plaintiff's Deposition, pg. 135).

2. Defendant Sims was the Warden of Taylorville from February 2, 2004, to November 6, 2009. (Defendants' Exhibit B, Sims affidavit, ¶1).

3. Defendant Walker was the Director of IDOC during Plaintiff's incarceration. (Defendants' Exhibit A, Plaintiff's Deposition, pg. 142).

4. Plaintiff claims against Defendants Sims and Walker are for their actions or inactions regarding his medical care during the time period from May 2006 to November 2006. (Defendants' Exhibit C, Plaintiff's Response to Defendants Interrogatories).

5. Defendant Sims had no personal involvement in the diagnosis, treatment, or medical care that the Plaintiff received at Taylorville Correctional Center. (Defendants' Exhibit B, Sims affidavit, ¶3). However, Sims had intimate knowledge of the lack of medical treatment provided by medical staff due to his nearly daily visits to the health care unit and his multiple interactions with Plaintiff. (Plaintiff's Exhibit A, Sim's Dep. 13:7-16, 15:1-4, 17:2-12 and 25:1-7).

6. Sims visited the health care unit where Plaintiff was housed at least "several days a week." (Plaintiff's Ex. A, Sims Dep. 16:8-10.)

7. Sims made it his "regular practice" to "interact" with the inmates and the staff in the health care unit. (Plaintiff's Ex. A, Sims Dep. 17:2-12.)

8. Sims remembers Plaintiff from his interactions at the health care unit. (Plaintiff's Ex. A, Sims Dep. 13:7-16.)

9. Sims specifically remembered Plaintiff having a "large knot" on his shoulder-so large in fact, that he could see the knot through Plaintiff's shirt. (Plaintiff's Ex. A, Sims Dep. 15:1-4.)

10. Sims personally described this knot as the size of a "softball." (Plaintiff's Ex. A, Sims Dep. 34:23-24.)

11. Plaintiff frequently complained to Sims about his inadequate medical treatment. (Plaintiff's Ex B, Pl.'s Decl. ¶¶ 5-6, 10, 13-14.)

12. It was part of Sims's job to pass on any concerns he may have had about the health care unit to the appropriate medical professionals. ...

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