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Joseph Hauschild v. Marvin Powers

February 15, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Proud, Magistrate Judge:


This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendants Marvin Powers, M.D., and Grace Hart, R.N. (Doc. 48). Defendants served upon the pro se plaintiff the notice required by Lewis v. Faulkner, 689 F.2d 100, 102 (7th Cir. 1982). (Doc. 49). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition and exhibits at Docs. 54 and 55. Defendants then filed a reply at Doc. 58.

Plaintiff Joseph Hauschild is an inmate in the IDOC. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §1983. On preliminary review (Doc. 8), the Court construed his claims as follows:

Count 1 defendants Powers, Caliper and Hart were deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical needs following a knee injury he suffered on February 23, 2007; and Count 2 defendants Powers, Caliper and Hart denied plaintiff medical treatment because he is an atheist, in violation of his First Amendment rights.

In a previous order, District Judge G. Patrick Murphy granted in part and denied in part defendant Caliper's motions for summary judgment. The basis for his decision, in large part, was that plaintiff had demonstrated that genuine issues of fact exist. See, Doc. 47. For the same reason, the present motion must be denied.

In his order Judge Murphy set forth the basic factual allegations giving rise to plaintiff's claims. See, Doc. 47, pp. 2-3. In short, Mr. Hauschild hurt his right knee while running in the yard at Tamms Correctional Center on February 23, 2007. Thereafter, his knee was intermittently swollen and sore. He was seen by health care providers about 13 times in the six-month period from March to August, 2007. Dr. Powers noted swollen tissue and small knee-joint effusion, and prescribed Motrin and other anti-inflammatory drugs. Plaintiff complained that Motrin upset his stomach, but the prescription was not changed. On August 8, 2007, plaintiff informed Dr. Powers that he was an atheist. According to plaintiff, Dr. Powers responded, "Since you don't believe in God, you'll never see a specialist while I work here. And I don't care if you die on Motrin." (Doc. 6, p. 5). Thereafter, although he submitted al least five more medical chits, plaintiff was not seen by a health care provider at all between August, 2007, and February, 2008.

Standard for Summary Judgment

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 Virginia, Inc., 553 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2009), citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Accord, Breneisen v. Motorola, Inc., 512 F.3d 972 (7th Cir. Cir. 2008); Levy v. Minnesota 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 (here, plaintiff). Lloyd v. Swifty Transp., Inc., 552 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir. 2009); TAS Distributing Co., Inc. v. Cummins Engine Co., Inc., 491 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2007); Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 756, 764 (7th Cir. 2007).

In responding to a summary judgment motion, the non-moving party may not simply reiterate the allegations contained in the pleadings; more substantial evidence must be presented at this stage. Moreover, a genuine issue of material fact is not shown by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "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 [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, 106 S.Ct. at 2512.

Plaintiff is a pro se inmate, and his pleadings must be liberally construed. Duncan v. Duckworth, 644 F.2d 653, 655 (7th Cir. 1981).

Applicable Law

Deliberate indifference to a prison inmate's serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In order to prevail on his constitutional claim, plaintiff must satisfy the two-part test enunciated in Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994). This test has an objective and a subjective component. That is, plaintiff must show that (1) his condition was objectively serious, and (2) the defendant acted with deliberate indifference, which is a subjective standard. Reed v. McBride, 178 F. 3d 849, 852 (7th Cir. 1999). "With respect to the culpable state of mind, negligence or even gross negligence is not enough; the conduct must be reckless in the criminal sense." Lee v. Young, 533 F.3d 505, 509 (7th Cir. 2008).

The Eighth Amendment does not entitle a prison inmate to "unqualified access to healthcare" or to the best care possible. Prison inmates are entitled only to "adequate medical care." Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1013 (7th Cir. 2006). It is proper to consider the "cost of treatment alternatives" in "determining what constitutes adequate, minimum-level medical care." Id. See also, ...

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