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Wayne Willis v. Dentist Chapman

March 10, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge


This matter comes before the Court on Magistrate Judge Clifford J. Proud's*fn1 Report and Recommendation ("R & R") (Doc. 37) of November 5, 2010, which recommends the Court deny Defendant Dentist Chapman's ("Dr. Chapman") Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 31). Dr. Chapman filed an Objection (Doc. 40) thereto, to which Plaintiff Wayne Willis ("Willis") filed a Response (Doc. 41) that essentially deferred to the findings of the R & R.

For the following reasons, the Court ADOPTS the R & R.


After reviewing a report and recommendation, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in the report. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are made. Id. The Court has discretion to conduct a new hearing and may consider the record before the magistrate judge anew or receive any further evidence deemed necessary. Id. "If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error." Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).

The Court has reviewed the unobjected portions of the R & R for clear error and does not find them to be clearly erroneous; thus, they shall be adopted accordingly. Meanwhile, Dr. Chapman objects to the R & R insofar as it finds Willis' Declaration (Doc. 36-1) conflicts with Dr. Chapman's Affidavit (Doc. 31-1) and creates the following two genuine issues of material fact: 1) whether Willis lost temporary tooth fillings prior to meeting with Dr. Chapman on May 20, 2008; and 2) whether Dr. Chapman properly prescribed medication to combat Willis' tooth pain on April 1 and May 20, 2008. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3), the Court reviews these findings de novo.


When Willis first met Dr. Chapman on April 1, 2008, the dentist placed temporary fillings in tooth numbers 12 and 14 using Ketac, "a glass ionomer cement which can be used as a [temporary] dental restorative material." Doc. 31-1, p. 4, ¶ 17. That same day, Dr. Chapman avers he "provided [Willis] with antibiotics to treat the abscess teeth and pain pills (pen VK500 milligram#30 tabs and Tylenol 325 milligrams#30 tabs) . . . ." Id. at ¶ 18. This averment is supported by an entry in the dental records dated April 1. While Willis concedes that Dr. Chapman agreed to send the pain medication to his cell house, he never received it.

Little more than a month after placement of the Ketac fillings, Willis began to experience throbbing pain in response to pressure and cold. Convinced the fillings had "come off" and that his "two teeth need[ed] to be filled," Willis filed a formal grievance against Dr. Chapman on May 7. Doc. 36-2, p. 1.

Willis next met with Dr. Chapman on May 20 and explained to the dentist "that [his] teeth need[ed] filling[,] that the temps ha[d] come off [his] teeth[,] and that [he was] still in pain." Doc. 36-1, p. 2. Upon examination, Dr. Chapman noted the presence of deep caries on tooth numbers 12 and 14 "but the ketac fillings were still intact[.]" Doc. 31-1, p. 6, ¶ 27. He thereafter issued Tylenol to alleviate the complaints of pain, which Willis never received. A dental record dated May 20 substantiates Dr. Chapman's observation of deep caries and the issuance of Tylenol; however, it does not mention the presence or absence of Ketac in tooth numbers 12 and 14.


I. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must typically present specific facts supported by the record to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996). A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986), 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] ...

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