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Robert Chencinski, Jr., #B75443 v. Roger E. Walker

June 15, 2012


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


I. Introduction

Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Scott Rhine (Docs. 96 & 97). Specifically, Defendant Rhine argues that he is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim of deliberate indifference because, as a grievance officer, Defendant Rhine responded appropriately to Plaintiff's medical grievances. Defendant also maintains that he is entitled to summary judgment under the doctrine of qualified immunity. Plaintiff has filed a Response to Defendant's motion (Doc. 102). Defendant has filed a Reply (Doc. 104). Based on the following, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

II. Factual Background

At the time that the events at issue in Plaintiff's Complaint took place, Plaintiff was an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center. At some point in June of 2007, Plaintiff was diagnosed with a blepharospasm, a condition which causes his eye to spasm, while detained at Cook County Jail (Doc. 97 Ex. A at p. 8). On June 2, 2008, Plaintiff saw Dr. David regarding his eye issues. Plaintiff was informed by Dr. David that his condition was cosmetic.

Although it is unclear whether Plaintiff filed his first grievance before or after he saw Dr. David on June 2, 2008, it is clear from the record that Plaintiff filed his first grievance regarding his medical treatment for his eye also on June 2, 2008.*fn1 In that grievance, Plaintiff complains about his eye and requests botox treatment (Doc. 97 Ex. A at pp. 10-11). On June 2, 2008, at the time Plaintiff filed his grievance, Defendant Rhine was Plaintiff's counselor. Defendant Rhine sent the grievance to the health care unit for a response and responded to the grievance on July 7, 2008, stating that "[p]er Alfonso David, MD, inmate has been scheduled for a re-evaluation" (Doc. 97 Ex. B at p. 15; Ex. A at pp. 10-11; Ex. A-1). Rhine testified at his deposition that this was standard practice for a counselor to respond to an inmate's grievance by forwarding a copy of the grievance to the grieved party and allowing them to respond (Doc. 97 Ex. B at p. 16). As long as Rhine found the response appropriate, he would then forward the response back to the inmate (Id. at pp. 16-17).

Plaintiff again met with Dr. David on July 1, 2008, presumably in response to David's note in the grievance that he would schedule Plaintiff for a re-evaluation (Doc. 97 Ex. A at p. 43). David and Plaintiff discussed his complaint regarding his eye and possible treatment. Plaintiff was then seen by an optometrist on July 13, 2008 who again suggested he receive botox and suggested he see Dr. Umana (Id. at p. 44). Plaintiff indicated that this meeting eventually led to him seeing Dr. Alam. In October 2008, Plaintiff was referred to an outside neurologist, Dr. Alam, and met with Alam on October 30, 2008 for an initial consultation (Doc. 97 Ex. A at pp. 45-47). At that time, Dr. Alam recommended Plaintiff take Depakote and ordered both an EEG and CT scan (Id. at p. 47). On November 3, 2008, Plaintiff met with Dr. David who prescribed Plaintiff Depakote (Id.).

Plaintiff received a CT and EEG on November 20, 2008. Plaintiff again met with Dr. David on November 25, 2008, to discuss the results of the two tests (Id. at p. 48). Plaintiff then met with Dr. Alam on December 11, 2008, who reviewed the EEG and CT results. Plaintiff subsequently met with Dr. David on December 17, 2008 and January 19, 2009 (Id. at pp. 49-50).

Plaintiff filed his second grievance regarding his eye on January 19, 2009 (Doc. 97 Ex. A at pp. 12-13, A-2). He again asked for botox treatment for his. At the time Plaintiff filed this grievance, Defendant Rhine was the grievance officer. As a grievance officer, Defendant stated that he would review the healthcare unit's response to the grievance and then make a recommendation based on that response (Doc. 97 Ex. B at pp. 19-20). His grievance had originally been denied by Plaintiff's counselor as Director of Nursing Gina Schaffer had noted that the risk of toxins with the procedure outweighed the temporary reduction of symptoms (Doc. 97 Ex. A at pp. 13-14). Defendant, after receiving the grievance from Plaintiff, reviewed the response from health care and ultimately denied the grievance (Id.). Defendant indicated that he did not speak with Schaffer directly, but reviewed her memorandum that she had supplied regarding Plaintiff's grievance (Doc. 97 Ex. B at pp. 22-23).

Plaintiff filed another grievance on January 26, 2009 (Doc. 97 Ex. A at pp. 14-15, A-3). This grievance focused on a chipped tooth that Plaintiff received as a result of his eye twitching. Defendant Rhine, still the grievance officer, reviewed the grievance and informed Plaintiff that he was on the list for a partial denture and had already had his tooth pulled. In responding to the grievance, Defendant stated that he reviewed dentist Steve Aldridge's response from Plaintiff's counselor (Doc. 97 Ex. B at p. 23). He did not speak with any doctors and nurses regarding Plaintiff's eye condition for this grievance (Id.). Plaintiff did not file any other grievance regarding his eye (Id.).

III. Summary Judgment Standard

Under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56(c), summary judgment is proper only if the moving party can demonstrate "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Ce lo te x Co rp . v . Catre tt, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Se e als o Ru ffin -Th o m p kin s v . Exp e rian In fo rm atio n So lu tio n s , In c ., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The burden is upon the moving party to establish that no material facts are in genuine dispute; any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue must be resolved against the moving party. Ad ic ke s v . S.H. Kre s s & Co ., 398 U.S. 144, 160 (1970). Se e als o Law re n c e v . Ke n o s h a Co u n ty , 391 F.3d 837, 841 (7th Cir. 2004). A fact is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable law. An d e rs o n v . Lib e rty Lo b b y , In c ., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); B allan c e v . City o f Sp rin g fie ld , Illin o is Po lic e De p artm e n t, 424 F.3d 614, 616 (7th Cir. 2005); Ho tte n ro th v . Villag e o f Slin g e r, 388 F.3d 1015, 1027 (7th Cir. 2004). Even if the facts are not in dispute, summary judgment is inappropriate when the information before the court reveals that "alternate inferences can be drawn from the available evidence." Sp ie g la v . Hu ll, 371 F.3d 928, 935 (7th Cir. 2004). Se e als o An d e re r v. Jo n e s , 385 F.3d 1043, 1064 (7th Cir. 2004).

The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for a trial, whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.

[T]his standard mirrors the standard for a directed verdict under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 50(a), which is that the trial judge must direct a verdict if, under the governing law, there can ...

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