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Richard Smego v. Carol Adams et al

July 27, 2011

RICHARD SMEGO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROL ADAMS ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

E-FILED

Wednesday, 27 July, 2011 09:22:39 AM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

Order

On December 3, 2010, the court granted summary judgment to the defendants on all claims except for the plaintiff's claims against Defendant Dr. Mitchell regarding his dental needs still remaining on the date of that order. The court directed Dr. Mitchell to file a supplemental summary judgment motion on this issue, which Dr. Mitchell has done. For the reasons below the motion is granted.

Summary Judgment Standard

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©. 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). This burden can be satisfied by "'showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. 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). "If [the non-movant] does not [meet his burden], summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against [the non-movant]." 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).

Facts and Analysis

The court's 12/3/10 order stated in relevant part:

However, this case is also about the plaintiff's ongoing denial of dental treatment. He seems to seek some sort of injunctive relief. (d/e 78, p. 1). The plaintiff asserts that teeth #'s 6, 7, and 8 were never finished, and Dr. Mitchell's dental notes seem to support that conclusion despite her averment that she finished the job. Additionally, the "services planned" part of the plaintiff's records show services planned for teeth #'s 4, 5, 9, 10, 28, 20, 21, which do not appear to have been rendered. (d/e 117-4, pp. 2-3, 5). The plaintiff contends in his reply that he did see Dr. Mitchell on October 24, 2010, who scheduled further repairs for March of 2011.

Dr. Mitchell's affidavit does not sufficiently explain her 9/22/08 dental notes regarding teeth #'s 6, 7, and 8, which state "next visit finish" or "no finish." She does also not explain why there has been no treatment rendered for the other teeth in the "services planned" part of the records. Accordingly, Dr. Mitchell will be directed to file a supplemental summary judgment addressing these issues.

(d/e 147, p. 10).

In her supplemental affidavit, Dr. Mitchell avers that she did complete all the treatment on teeth numbers 6, 7 and 8 on September 22, 2008, and that the notation "next visit finish" refers to other teeth that she had planned to fill that day but was unable to because she ran out of time. (Mitchell Aff. ¶ 1). The plaintiff adamantly disputes this, asserting that teeth 6, 7, and 8 were not completed, that no other fillings were planned for that day, and that Dr. Mitchell has contradicted herself, falsified documents, and made false statements.

The court sees no evidence of falsified documents, nor do Dr. Mitchell's affidavits contradict themselves. However, looking at the record in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and crediting the plaintiff's testimony that the teeth were not finished, a reasonable juror might conclude that the "next visit finish" was referring to teeth number 6, 7 and 8.

Yet that only means, at most, that Dr. Mitchell did not finish her work on teeth 6, 7 and 8 on September 22, 2008. It does not mean that the failure to finish the work amounted to deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's serious dental needs. By the plaintiff's own testimony, Dr. Mitchell did apply the filling into the teeth, but she did not have time to "form" or "surface" the teeth. (Plaintiff Aff. ΒΆ p. 123). Whether this amounts to a serious dental need is not established on this record. Further, there is not enough evidence for a jury to conclude that Dr. Mitchell was deliberately indifferent. The plaintiff does not dispute that he did not file a health care request for dental treatment after September 2008, in 2009 or in 2010, which cuts against any inference that he felt the need was serious, and, more importantly, cuts against any inference that Dr. Mitchell deliberately ignored requests to have these teeth finished or deliberately refused to finish the teeth. In ...


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