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Diaz v. Adams

August 24, 2010


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


The plaintiff, a resident of Rushville Treatment and Detention Center, pursues constitutional claims that excessive force was used in the application of handcuffs to him, and that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his injuries by delaying an MRI and nerve conduction study. Before the Court are the defendants' respective motions for summary judgment. For the reasons below, summary judgment will be granted to all the defendants except for Rose.


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). 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 determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992).

Undisputed Facts

These facts are set forth in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, for purposes of this order only.

The plaintiff is detained in Rushville Treatment and Detention Center pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Act. On April 17, 2008, the plaintiff was taken on a writ with three other residents for court appearances in Kane County, about a 4 1/2 hour drive. Defendant Vaniter, a security officer, applied handcuffs to the plaintiff. Sergeant Durant, who is not a defendant, oversaw the application of handcuffs to the plaintiff and determined that the handcuffs were too loose. According to the complaint, a few days prior another resident had been able to escape handcuffs applied by Durant, which made Durant particularly sensitive to the issue. Durant personally tightened the handcuffs on all three residents, remarking, "I'll be damned if I'm ever accused again of handcuffs being too loose." The residents protested, but Durant informed everyone present that she had the support of the administration and no one would care about their complaints.

The residents were boarded into the transport van, accompanied by security guards Rose, Vaniter and Teel. Defendant Rose was in charge. The residents continued to complain about the cuffs, but Rose responded that Sergeant Durant had already checked them and that they would not be loosened. The plaintiff informed Rose, Vaniter and Teel that he had had surgery on his wrist before and that the cuffs were causing him extreme pain, but the defendants still did nothing. The prior surgery had been to remove a ganglion cyst from the plaintiff's right wrist.

At the courthouse, Defendant Rose escorted the plaintiff to his hearing, while Vaniter and Teel escorted the other residents. Rose continued to refuse to adjust the cuffs or even look at the plaintiff's wrists, which had become significantly swollen. The plaintiff maintains that Rose did agree to loosen the cuffs of the other two residents, but still refused to loosen the plaintiff's. (Plaintiff's Dep. p. 44).

On the trip back, Defendant Rose continued to refuse to adjust the cuffs. When the group returned to Rushville, Defendant Vaniter saw the plaintiff's swollen and discolored hands and gasped, "Oh my God!" (Complaint ¶ 29). Removing the cuffs at that point was difficult because they were imbedded in Plaintiff's flesh. Vaniter allegedly apologized and remarked several times, "This isn't right." (Complaint ¶ 30).

About 60 days later, the plaintiff developed a large, painful knot on his right wrist and sought health care for it. (Plaintiff's Dep. p. 20). On August 19, 2008, Defendant Dr. Lochard saw the plaintiff for complaints of pain to his right wrist. Dr. Lochard diagnosed a return of the plaintiff's ganglion cyst, prescribed motrin and wrote a referral to an orthopod. Dr. Lochard saw the plaintiff again on August 28, 2008, for his cyst. The plaintiff reported that the cyst was painful and he requested medical restraints on his next writ. Dr. Lochard prescribed Ultram and spoke to security about using soft medical restraints. The notes also say referral to an orthopod.

On October 7, 2008, the plaintiff went to the Quincy Medical Group for a consultation with Dr. Morton. Dr. Morton recommended an MRI and EMG/NCV of the wrist (nerve conduction study), and wrist splints. Dr. Lochard signed off on the recommendations and checked the box to see the patient, which should have caused an employee in the healthcare unit to make an appointment for the plaintiff with Dr. Lochard. This, however, was not done until February 2009, for reasons unknown.

On February 12, 2009, Dr. Lochard saw the plaintiff for his right wrist. Dr. Lochard recommended an MRI and EMG/NCS of the wrist. An MRI was done on March 18, 2009, and the plaintiff was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. An EMG/NCS was done on March 23, 2009, which "reflected severe right denervating right carpal tunnel syndrome for which Dr. Mehra recommended surgery." (d/e 35 ΒΆ 35). Dr. Lochard referred the plaintiff for surgery on ...

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