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Jackson v. Hoffman

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

August 7, 2013

MAURICE JACKSON Plaintiff,
v.
M. HOFFMAN, CHRISTOPHER FLEMING, SGT. PELKER, TRACY HEIMAN, LT. CARTWRIGHT, FRANK EOVALDI, OFFICER MAYBERRY, JUSTIN ENGELAGE, OFFICER BISHOP, A. WALTER, OFFICER NEHRING, OFFICER SULSER, CLINT MAYER, OFFICER PROWELL, DR. SHEPHERD, DR. FAHIM, TRACY HARRINGTON, MICHAEL ATCHISON, and CHARLES McDANIEL Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS, Magistrate Judge.

This § 1983 case, in which pro se Plaintiff Maurice Jackson alleged deliberate indifference toward his medical needs, is before the Court on Defendant Dr. Fahim's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 77) and Dr. Shepherd's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 98) (hereinafter "Defendants") for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. For the following reasons, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Court GRANT the Motions in Defendants' favor.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 14, 2012, Maurice Jackson, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois, brought the instant suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As relevant to these Motions, Plaintiff alleged that he was beaten and tormented by several guards on December 30, 2011 and denied medical treatment afterwards by Defendants. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff also stated claims against Shepherd and Fahim based on withholding his blood pressure medication, but those claims have been split off into a separate case, 12-cv-960-GPM-DGW.

Fahim filed the instant Motion on February 7, 2013. (Doc. 77). Plaintiff never filed a response. Shepherd filed a virtually identical Motion for Summary Judgment on June 18, 2013. (Doc. 98). Plaintiff filed a Response to this Motion on June 25, 2013. (Doc. 103). At a status conference on July 7, 2013, the Court instructed Plaintiff that documents must be filed with the Court, not with opposing counsel, as there was some indication that Plaintiff was confused about proper filing procedures. The Court also construed Plaintiff's response to Shepherd's Motion as a Response to Fahim's Motion, as the Motions raised the same issues. The undersigned conducted a hearing on these issues on August 6, 2013. Plaintiff testified in support of his position. No witnesses testified for the Defense.

PLAINTIFF'S GRIEVANCES

Plaintiff attached several grievances to his initial Complaint. He attached a grievance form titled "Emergency Grievance" dated and signed on January 9, 2012 and describing the excessive force incident generally, and his attempts to seek medical care afterwards. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). However, on page three of the grievance, Plaintiff complains of having to sleep on the floor for three days until January 10, 2012, one day after the grievance was allegedly filed. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). He also describes his attempt to seek medical care on January 13, 2012, four days after the grievance was allegedly filed. (Doc. 1-1, p.5). The grievance did not contain any handwriting other than Plaintiff's, and was not filed stamped as received by any IDOC staff.

Plaintiff also submitted a grievance dated January 24, 2012 as a follow up to his January 9, 2012 grievance, also stating that he had been unable to get medical care for his injuries and broadly alleging deliberate indifference on the part of medical staff. (Doc. 1-1, p. 10). Once again, the grievance does not contain a file stamp from any IDOC office or any handwriting other than Plaintiff's.

Plaintiff submitted a grievance dated March 1, 2012 specifically naming Fahim and Shepherd for the first time, and alleging that they had refused to treat him after the December 30, 2011 incident. (Doc. 1-4, p. 2). This grievance, like the others before it, also did not contain a file stamp or any indication that it had been received or reviewed by prison staff or officials. (Doc. 1-4, p. 2).

While the above grievances were included in Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff filed a Response to the Motion for Summary Judgment where he included different grievances. He included a grievance dated February 6, 2012. (Doc. 103, p. 5). The grievance has Plaintiff's signature, but the signature line is dated January 6, 2012. (Doc. 103, p. 5). The body of this grievance also references several attachments which are supposed to show that Plaintiff attempted to seek medical treatment from the Defendants. (Doc. 103, p. 6). Exhibits 10 and 11 to the grievance are both dated February 9, 2012 - three days after Plaintiff allegedly filed this grievance. (Doc. 103, p. 16-17). Exhibit 12 is dated February 14, 2012, more than a week after the grievance was allegedly filed. (Doc. 103, p. 18). This grievance also contains a file stamp from the Champaign County judicial district of February 27, 2012.[1]

Defendants have submitted exhibits that show that, contrary to Plaintiff's assertion that all his grievances were intercepted, destroyed, or ignored, Plaintiff received responses on his grievances filed both in December of 2011 and in May and July of 2012. (Doc. 99-1, pp. 7-16). Plaintiff's IGRV Summary likewise shows that same pattern and records no grievances received in between January and March 2012. (Doc. 99-2, p. 18). Defendants also submitted a copy of Plaintiff's cumulative counseling summary from Menard. The counseling summary does not show any grievances submitted between January and March of 2012, although it does document at least two face to face contacts between Plaintiff and his grievance counselor during this same time period. (Doc. 99-3, p. 11). The entries are silent as to the events at issue here. The summary also shows that Plaintiff had a large number of grievances photocopied (although it does not show that these were submitted) immediately prior to filing his Complaint. (Doc. 99-3, p. 11). Finally, grievance officer Lori Oakley submitted grievance logs from Plaintiff's master file. (Doc. 99-4). None of the logs showed any grievances received during the relevant time period. (Doc. 99-4).

LEGAL STANDARDS

1. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment - which is governed by FEDERAL RULE OF PROCEDURE 56 - is proper only if the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Dynegy Mktg. & Trade v. Multiut Corp. , 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a)).[2] The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating - based on the pleadings, affidavits and/or information ...


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