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Eddie Reliford v. Dr. Ghosh

June 27, 2012

EDDIE RELIFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. GHOSH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Eddie Reliford ("Plaintiff") has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by being deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition. More specifically, the Plaintiff alleges that in August 2009, he hurt his ankle on the yard at Stateville Correctional Center (hereinafter, "Stateville"), and received inadequate or delayed medical care from Defendants.

Presently before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Correctional Medical Technician Joe Sheehy and Correctional Officer Downs [Dkt. 66, as amended by Dkt. 80, Exhibit 1] and Defendants Ghosh, Halloran, and Karraker [Dkt. 84]. For the reasons stated herein, the Motions are granted.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a); 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(a) "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).

A. Local Rule 56.1 (N.D. Ill.)

The Defendants filed Statements of Uncontested Material Facts pursuant to Local Rule 56.1 (N.D. Ill.). Together with their Motions for Summary Judgment, the Defendants included a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" [Dkts. 68, 75], as required by Local Rule 56.2. That notice clearly explained the requirements of the Local Rules and warned the Plaintiff that a party's failure to controvert the facts as set forth in the moving party's statement results in those facts being deemed admitted. See, e.g., Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).

Local Rule 56.1(b) requires a party opposing a motion for summary judgment to file:

(3) a concise response to the movant's statement that shall contain

(A) a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon, and

(B) a statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any additional facts that require denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon. L.R. 56.1(b).

The district court may rigorously enforce compliance with Local Rule 56.1. See, e.g., Stevo v. Frasor, 662 F.3d 880, 886-87 (7th Cir. 2011) ("Because of the high volume of summary judgment motions and the benefits of clear presentation of relevant evidence and law, we have repeatedly held that district judges are entitled to insist on strict compliance with local rules designed to promote the clarity of summary judgment filings") (citing Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Serv., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). Although pro se plaintiffs are entitled to lenient standards, compliance with procedural rules is required. Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chicago, 385 F.3d 1104, 1108 (7th Cir. 2004). "We have . . . repeatedly held that a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with Rule 56.1." Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., 401 F.3d 803, 809 (7th Cir. 2005).

Despite the admonitions stated above, the Plaintiff failed to file a proper response to the Defendants' Statements of Uncontested Facts. In his opposing briefs, while Plaintiff disputes some of the Defendants' contentions, he cites to no specific evidence in the record that supports his claims. A Motion for Summary Judgment "requires the responding party to come forward with the evidence that it has - it is the 'put up or shut up' moment in a lawsuit." Eberts v. Goderstad, 569 F.3d 757, 767 (7th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). The Plaintiff's Statements of Fact are not supported by the record. Dent v. Bestfoods, (Case No. 02 C 7922) 2003 WL 22025008, at *1 n.1 (N.D. Ill. August 27, 2003) (St. Eve, J.); Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 585 (N.D. Ill. 2000). Consequently, the Plaintiff's responses to the Defendants' proposed undisputed facts are not in compliance with Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A). Accordingly, the Defendants' proposed undisputed facts are deemed admitted. See Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 687 (7th Cir. 2008); L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B).

Because the Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will grant him considerable leeway and take into account the factual assertions he makes in his summary judgment materials. However, the Court will entertain the Plaintiff's factual statements only insofar as he could properly testify about the matters asserted. See FED. R. EVID. 602.

The Court notes, in any event, that the sequence of events set forth in this opinion is gleaned largely from the Plaintiff's own deposition testimony and the submitted medical records.

Given the considerations stated above, the Court views the Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statements supported by the record and not properly rebutted by the Plaintiff to be true and uncontested. In order to meet its obligation to view the record in the light most favorable to the non-movant, the Court has supplemented the Defendants' Statement of Facts ...


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