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Bruce K. Lloyd v. Doctor Steven Fishmen

June 28, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George W. Lindberg



Plaintiff, Bruce K. Lloyd, currently a detainee at Stateville Correctional Center, filed suit, pro se, against Defendants -- Dr. Steven Fischman (incorrectly named in the complaint as Dr. Fishmen), Dr. Partha Ghosh and Gary Drop -- alleging that Dr. Fischman was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs after Dr. Fischman cut his mouth while performing dental work on his teeth. Doctor Ghosh and Gary Drop were previously dismissed from the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Presently before the Court is the remaining Defendant, Dr. Fischman's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated in this order, Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.


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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Vision Church v. Village of Long Grove, 468 F.3d 975, 988 (7th Cir. 2006). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Weber v. Universities Research Assoc., Inc., 621 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 2010). The court does not "judge the credibility of the witnesses, evaluate the weight of the evidence, or determine the truth of the matter. The only question is whether there is a genuine issue of fact." Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2009), citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).

However, 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." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Sarver v. Experian Information Solutions, 390 F.3d 969, 970 (7th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). "A genuine issue of material fact arises only if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists to permit a jury to return a verdict for that party." Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010), quoting Faas v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 532 F.3d 633, 640-41 (7th Cir. 2008).


Plaintiff is a prisoner at the Stateville Correctional Center. (Def's. 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 2.) Doctor Fischman is a dentist employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections at Stateville. (Id., ¶ 2.)

On February 25, 2008, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Fischman at the Stateville Dental Clinic.

Plaintiff had been treated by Dr. Fischman once before this time without any incident. (Def's. 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 7.) Doctor Fischman began to file Plaintiff's teeth down to allow him to be fitted for a partial denture. (Id., ¶ 8.) Plaintiff felt a tug on his lip and then the drill slipped and cut the outside of the left corner of his mouth. (Id., ¶ 9.) Plaintiff does not know how the cut occurred but Dr. Fischman attributes the incident to Plaintiff flinching in the chair. (Id., ¶ 10.)

Doctor Fischman had Plaintiff hold some napkins or surgical gauze to his mouth to stop the bleeding. (Def.'s 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 11.) Doctor Fischman asked a medical technician to get some needle and thread from the emergency room supply cabinet. (Id., ¶ 12.) When the technician came back to the room with the supplies, Dr. Fischman anesthetized the outside of Plaintiff's mouth and sutured the cut. Plaintiff did not feel pain during the suturing. (Id., ¶ 13.) After the suturing, Dr. Fischman gave Plaintiff ibuprofen and penicillin in pill form and released him back to his cell. (Id., ¶ 15.) The entire incident lasted approximately twenty-five minutes, including the filing of the teeth before the drill slipped and the suturing of the cut. (Id., ¶ 16.) Plaintiff had been sutured in the past and has no reason to believe that Dr. Fischman cut him on purpose; it was an accident. (Id., ¶¶ 17-18.) However, Plaintiff believes that Dr. Fischman was "negligent" for not having a dental assistant during the procedure, not sending Plaintiff to the emergency room, not completing the incident, and giving him medication instead of a prescription. (Plaint.'s Resp. to Def.'s 56.1 Statement ¶ 18; Plaint.'s Dep. pp. 38-39.)

On March 25, 2008, Plaintiff returned to the dental clinic in order to have the sutures removed. Doctor Fischman removed the sutures in approximately ten minutes. (Def.'s 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 19.) Doctor Fischman performed no other dental procedure that day. (Id., ¶ 20.) After the sutures were removed, Plaintiff had no pain and the cut had healed by this time. Plaintiff did not ask for more medication. (Id., ¶ 21.) Plaintiff had no other problems with the cut other than a scar that he claims resulted from the cut. (Id., ¶ 22.)

Plaintiff returned to the dental clinic on March 24, 2008, to continue the dental work for the partial denture. (Def.'s 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 24.) Plaintiff refused to have Dr. Fischman do any more dental work because he did not trust Dr. Fischman on account of the cut. (Id., ¶ 25.) Plaintiff was seen by another dentist and his partial denture was completed. (Id., ¶ 26.)

Plaintiff believes that Dr. Fischman should have had a dental assistant with him on February 25, 2008. (Def.'s 56.1(a)(3) Statement ΒΆΒΆ 27-28.) This belief is not based on any rule or professional requirement and there is no rule, policy, procedure, professional requirement, or ethical mandate that required Dr. Fischman to have a dental assistant with him while working with Plaintiff on February 28, 2008. (Id.) Dental assistants do not work after 4:00 p.m. at the Stateville Dental Clinic. Doctor ...

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