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Jones v. Middendorf

March 31, 2010

GREGORY D. JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEBBI MIDDENDORF AND PAM GRUBMAN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

REAGAN, District Judge

On April 27, 2006, inmate Gregory Jones sued several employees and medical service providers of the Menard Correctional Center, a facility of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), under 42 U.S.C § 1983. In his amended complaint, he narrowed the defendants down to three: Adrian Feinerman, M.D., Debbi Middendorf and Pam Grubman. (Doc. 32.) He alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights while he was incarcerated at Menard. (Am. Compl.; see also Resp. to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. 110 at 1 (labeling this claim as Count I).) He also alleges that Grubman and Feinerman retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights when he filed prison grievances at Menard. (Am. Compl.; see also Resp. to Defs.' Mot. 1 (labeling this claim as Count II).) The Court granted summary judgment for defendant Feinerman on all claims on August 13, 2009 (Doc. 75), leaving Count I against Grubman and Middendorf and Count II against Grubman.

Both of the defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that there are no issues of material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the remaining claims. (Doc. 100.) Because Jones has failed to demonstrate that the defendants acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind or that his protected speech caused Grubman to retaliate against him, the defendants merit judgment as a matter of law.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Estate of Suskovich v. Anthem Health Plans of Va., Inc., 553 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2009) (citingFed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)); accord Breneisen v. Motorola, Inc., 512 F.3d 972 (7th Cir. 2008); Levy v. Minn. Life Ins. Co., 517 F.3d 519 (7th Cir. 2008). In ruling on a summary judgment motion, the Court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Lloyd v. Swifty Transp., Inc., 552 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir. 2009); TAS Distrib. Co. v. Cummins Engine Co., 491 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2007); Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 756, 764 (7th Cir. 2007).

In response to summary judgment, the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings. Rather, the non-movant must provide evidence on which the jury or court could find in favor of the non-movant. Maclin v. SBC Ameritech, 520 F.3d 781, 786 (7th Cir. 2008). As the Seventh Circuit recently explained:

[T]he non-moving party must submit evidence that there is a genuine issue for trial. The existence of merely a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party.

Giant Screen Sports v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 553 F.3d 527, 531--32 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted) (citingPtasznik v. St. Joseph Hosp., 464 F.3d 691, 694 (7th Cir. 2006)).

Stated another way, to counter a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply reiterate the allegations contained in his pleadings; more substantial evidence must be presented. A genuine issue of material fact is not shown by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986), or "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if "a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [non-moving party] on the evidence presented." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

One additional consideration is that not all issues of fact are material. As the Supreme Court put it:

[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be "no genuine issue as to any material fact," since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.

Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (emphasis added); accord Hottenroth v. Vill. of Slinger, 388 F.3d 1015, 1027, 1036 (7th Cir. ...


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