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Huffman v. Lindorff

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

February 7, 2014

DAVID HUFFMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
LOIS LINDORFF, et al., Defendants.

ORDER & OPINION

JOE BILLY McDADE, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 79), filed by the remaining Defendants in this case. Plaintiff failed to file a response. For the reasons stated below, this Motion is granted.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, alleges Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendant Lois Lindorff was terminated from the case on September 11, 2013, when the Court granted her motion for summary judgment because there was no evidence that she was personally involved in the alleged constitutional violation. (Doc. 77). In a separate Order, the Court also determined that Plaintiff's proposed expert witness, William Croft, based his opinion on methodology that is not scientifically reliable; thus, Dr. Croft's expert report was barred. (Doc. 76). The remaining Defendants are three medical professionals who performed services at Plaintiff's correctional facility, and their employer, Wexford Health Care Sources ("Wexford").

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment shall be granted where "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). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. SMS Demag Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d 365, 368 (7th Cir. 2009). All inferences drawn from the facts must be construed in favor of the non-movant. Moore v. Vital Prods., Inc., 641 F.3d 253, 256 (7th Cir. 2011).

To survive summary judgment, the "nonmovant must show through specific evidence that a triable issue of fact remains on issues on which he bears the burden of proof at trial." Warsco v. Preferred Technical Grp., 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). If the evidence on record could not lead a reasonable jury to find for the non-movant, then no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See McClendon v. Ind. Sugars, Inc., 108 F.3d 789, 796 (7th Cir. 1997). At the summary judgment stage, the court may not resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must be left for resolution at trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff was incarcerated at Hill Correctional Center, in Galesburg, Illinois, during the relevant time period, from April 2006 until he was transferred to another facility in September 2013. Defendant Saleh Obaisi was a physician employed by Defendant Wexford, performing services at Hill Correctional Center between October 2007 and December 2009. Defendant Ronald Schaefer was also a physician employed by Wexford from February 2008 to October 2009, traveling to multiple institutions, including Hill Correctional Center. Defendant Amy John was a physician's assistant employed by Wexford at Hill Correctional Center from March 2009 to August 2011.

Plaintiff testified in his deposition that he believes he suffers from a condition called mycotoxicosis. He described his medical conditions as problems with sinuses, headaches, stomach problems, and shaky nerves. He testified that his aunt, with no medical training, diagnosed his mycotoxicosis through research on the Internet. He acknowledges a past history of ulcerative colitis, asthma and acid reflux disease, but admits he did not follow the prescribed course of treatment for these conditions.

Plaintiff saw Dr. Obaisi on January 24, 2009, complaining of multiple chronic symptoms including headaches, difficulty swallowing, gnawing feelings in his stomach, and dizziness. He determined Plaintiff suffered from allergies and ordered Plaintiff to receive medication to treat it and to follow up in a month. Plaintiff returned to Dr. Obaisi on February 21, 2009, this time complaining about a hard area and discoloration on his tongue. Dr. Obaisi determined Plaintiff suffered from leukoplakia, a chronic thickening or discoloration on the tongue, gums, or cheeks, and planned to discuss appropriate steps with other physicians.

Plaintiff went to a dentist three times in the spring of 2009 regarding his leukoplakia. On the second visit, the dentist took a culture, which came back free of abnormalities. Plaintiff also saw Ms. John on April 29, 2009.[2] Plaintiff complained of nasal problems, constant headaches, a bad taste in his mouth, stomach pain, heartburn, and constipation. He reported that he was concerned about mold exposure, possibly resulting from vitamins he took in 1998 while at Menard Correctional Center, and showed Ms. John information about fungus and mold that he had obtained from his family. Her evaluation of Plaintiff was normal except for discoloration and a film-like appearance on his tongue. She agreed to review the information he gave her on mold exposure, and ordered a fiber supplement for his constipation and follow-up as needed. On May 15, 2009, she noted she had read the literature, and scheduled Plaintiff for a number of tests.

In June 2009, Dr. Schaefer was notified of Plaintiff giving information that he had received online to the health care unit. He ordered a chest x-ray and a follow-up with a physician's assistant after blood testing. On June 24, 2009, Dr. Schaefer informed Plaintiff that his x-rays and tests came back without abnormalities, and instructed Plaintiff to follow up with a physician's assistant.

Plaintiff saw Ms. John on September 9, 2009, complaining of similar symptoms to his previous visits, including a gnawing stomach, headaches, and sinus problems. Her evaluation of Plaintiff revealed nothing abnormal. Ms. John believed he was obsessing over the mold exposure information. He reported to her that he sent a pair of socks to William Croft, a pathologist, for testing and wished to also send him a urine sample. Ms. John noted Plaintiff was refusing his ...


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