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Hardy v. Hardy

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

September 20, 2013

NEDRICK JEFFREY HARDY, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
MARCUS HARDY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER [1]

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Nedrick Hardy, Sr. ("Hardy") filed suit against Dr. Partha Ghosh and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), collectively, "the Defendants, " among others, alleging that they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him. R. 67. The Court previously granted in part the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. R. 215. In doing so, the Court dismissed the Section 1983 claim against Wexford and several of the particular medical-issue allegations related to the Section 1983 claim against Dr. Ghosh. Id. Hardy's intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") claim against both Hardy and Wexford remained. Presently before the Court is the Defendants' Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law with Regard to Plaintiff's Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim. R. 225. For the reasons that follow, the Defendants' motion is granted.[2]

BACKGROUND

Hardy has been an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, since 2000. R. 154 ¶ 1. Wexford has a contract with the State of Illinois to provide health care services to those in the custody of the IDOC. Dr. Ghosh was employed by Wexford as Stateville's Medical Director from March 2004 through March 2011. Id. ¶ 2. As previously discussed in the Court's summary judgment order, Hardy has experienced a variety of health issues at Stateville, and Dr. Ghosh had a role in much of Hardy's medical care treatment. Id. ¶¶ 6-9, 15-17; R. 215 at 1-7.

On October 5, 2011, Hardy filed his Third Amended Complaint. R. 67. The complaint included a claim against the Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 for a violation of the Eighth Amendment-specifically, that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs-and under Illinois state law for IIED. Id. The parties completed discovery, and on June 4, 2013, the Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment as to the Section 1983 claim. R. 151. The IIED claims were not at issue. See id.

A deliberate indifference claim requires a plaintiff to prove two elements: an objectively serious risk of harm and a subjectively culpable state of mind. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); see Roe v. Elyea, 631 F.3d 843, 857 (7th Cir. 2011). For purposes of the Defendants' summary judgment motion, and in construing Hardy's Third Amended Complaint in the light most favorable to Hardy, the Court identified five categories of injuries complained of: (1) Hardy's right small finger; (2) Hardy's right wrist and elbow; (3) Hardy's chronic back pain; (4) Hardy's cavity and gum infection; (5) and medication refills. R. 151 ¶ 3; R. 215 at 11-27. Then, applying the summary judgment standard, the Court concluded that three of the categories-the right small injury, the right wrist and elbow ailments, and the cavity and gum infection-were objectively serious and that the "culpable state of mind" element as to Dr. Ghosh and the three categories should go to the jury. R. 215 at 11-17, 21-25. The Court also concluded that the chronic back pain ailment was objectively serious but determined as a matter of law that Hardy did not present sufficient information upon which a reasonable jury could conclude that the culpable state of mind element was satisfied. Id. at 18-20. That part of the Section 1983 claim was thus dismissed. Id. The medication refill category was determined not to be "objectively serious" and was dismissed as well. Id. at 25-27. The only injury category in which Hardy sought to hold Wexford liable under Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), was the chronic back pain category. R. 215 at 19-20. The Court concluded that this claim failed as a matter of law because of its prior determination that a reasonable jury could not find that the treatment Hardy received, from Dr. Ghosh or otherwise, was constitutionally deficient. Id.

The only Section 1983 claims remaining against Dr. Ghosh involve Hardy's right small finger, right wrist and elbow, and cavity and gum infection; no Section 1983 claims remain against Wexford. Id. at 29.

In light of the Court's summary judgment rulings, on September 4, 2013- twelve days before their September 16 trial date-the Defendants filed their Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law with Regard to Plaintiff's Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim. R. 225. This motion is the subject of this opinion.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Defendants' motion seeks dismissal of the IIED claim under either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) or Rule 56.[4] R. 225 at 3-4. Pursuant to Rule 12(c), a party may move for judgment on the pleadings after the pleadings have closed but prior to trial. The standard applied to motions under Rule 12(c) is the same as that applied to dismissals under Rule 12(b)(6). Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009). Thus, the complaint here must provide "a short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and that is sufficient to provide the Defendants with "fair notice" of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This means the complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). In applying this standard, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of Hardy. Mann v. Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013).

Alternatively, a party may move for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Summary judgment is appropriate if "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). To defeat summary judgment, the non-moving party must produce more than a "mere scintilla of evidence"; this means "evidence on which [a] jury could reasonably find for the non-moving party." Harris N.A. v. Hershey, 711 F.3d 794, 798 (2013) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). The Court considers the entire evidentiary record and "view[s] all facts and draw[s] all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party" when ruling on the motion. Ball v. Kotter, 723 F.3d 813, 821 (7th Cir. 2013); Egan Marine Corp. v. Great Am. Ins. Co., 665 F.3d 800, 811 (7th Cir. 2011).

ANALYSIS

Hardy's Third Amended Complaint contains an Illinois state law claim for IIED. To prove an IIED claim under Illinois law, Hardy must put forth evidence establishing the following: "(1) the defendants' conduct was extreme and outrageous; (2) the defendants knew that there was a high probability that their conduct would cause severe emotional distress; and (3) the conduct in fact caused severe distress." Swearnigen-El v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 602 F.3d 852, 864 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Kolegas v. Heftel Broad. Corp., 607 ...


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