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Sylvester v. Chandler

August 27, 2010


Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Frederick J. Kapala than Assigned Judge


Defendants' motion for summary judgment [124] is granted. Defendants Colgan, Cline, Noble, and Gravdahl are dismissed with prejudice from this case.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


Plaintiff, Wayne Sylvester, filed a four-count complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that twenty-three defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights while he was incarcerated at the Dixon Correctional Center ("Dixon"). Four defendants and all official capacity claims have already been dismissed by the court, along with an individual claim against defendant Chandler. Defendants Gravdahl, Colgan, Noble and Cline now move for summary judgment. Defendants argue that they are entitled to judgment because plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Plaintiff has not filed a response. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants defendants' motion.


Plaintiff's complaint arises from an injury he sustained while working at the Dixon Opthalmic Industry Lab, and the subsequent medical treatment he received. The following facts are taken from plaintiff's complaint and defendants' undisputed statement of facts. They relate only to the defendants now moving for summary judgment, and are not meant to be an exhaustive recitation of the facts of this case.

On March 18, 2005, fellow inmate Rick Davila attacked plaintiff. Several staff members responded to the scene and transported plaintiff to Dixon hospital, where he was examined by physician's assistant Colgan. Plaintiff alleges that Colgan ordered a non-medical staff member to remove plaintiff's clothes so that an x-ray could be taken, and that the staff member forcefully removed three t-shirts and a necklace from around plaintiff's neck causing him excruciating pain and then numbness in his neck. Plaintiff further alleges that the x-ray revealed serious injury to his neck and he received emergency surgery. Plaintiff returned to Dixon on April 8, 2005 after receiving treatment and physical therapy at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

Plaintiff filed two grievances relating to his injury and the subsequent care he received. Plaintiff filled out the first grievance on April 20, 2005 ("April grievance"). In that grievance, plaintiff makes several allegations against nurse Porter. Specifically, the grievance alleges that Porter: confiscated plaintiff's pillows and blankets on several occasions and that nurse Noble would recover them for him; pushed plaintiff on to the toilet and yelled at him, causing nurse Robinson to leave the room in disgust; and tampered with plaintiff's medications.

Plaintiff filled out a second grievance on June 7, 2005, that was received by the counselor's office on June 15, 2005 ("June grievance"). In that grievance, plaintiff states that he was injured on March 18, 2005, that he underwent surgery on the same day, had limited mobility until he was sent to UIC on March 28 for physical therapy, returned to Dixon on April 8, and was unable to write until April 9. The remaining portion describes plaintiff's grievance:

Because of inadequate security and observation at the Dixon C.C.'s Opthalmic Lab Industry and faulty medical care by Dixon C.C.'s medical personnel, I have suffered this injury and received inadequate medical attention and care to rehabilitate/recover from my condition.

Under the section for the relief the prisoner seeks, plaintiff wrote: "appropriate measures." A grievance officer found the allegations to be unsubstantiated, and the Chief Administrative Officer concurred. On appeal, the Administrative Review Board ("ARB") determined that the grievance was untimely, as it was filed over sixty days from the date of his injury. Plaintiff was advised that his grievance would not be addressed further. It is undisputed that prior to filing his grievances, plaintiff received a copy of the Dixon CC Orientation Manual, and that all grievances must be filed in accordance with Department Rule 504(f), "Grievance Procedures for Committed Persons."

In 2007, plaintiff filed his complaint. Only counts III and IV involve the defendants now moving for summary judgment. In Count III, plaintiff alleges that the medical services provided by Colgan fell below a level reasonably commensurate with a prudent professional standard. In Count IV, plaintiff alleges that nurses Cline and Noble, among other defendants, subjected plaintiff to inhumane conditions by confiscating plaintiff's pillows and blankets, and that nurses Cline and Gravdahl, among other ...

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