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Bentz v. Fischer

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

March 21, 2014

DAVID ROBERT BENTZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BRENT FISCHER, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections, pursues claims for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs regarding a fracture to his right hand. He sued more than 37 Defendants, nine of whom were dismissed for failure to state a claim against them. Twenty-eight Defendants remain, all of whom have moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff also moves for summary judgment.

The Court concludes that Plaintiff has not presented enough evidence for a reasonable jury to find for Plaintiff and against 19 of the 28 remaining Defendants. A trial will be set on the claims against the remaining nine Defendants.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

"The court shall grant summary judgment 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). A movant may demonstrate the absence of a material dispute through specific cites to admissible evidence, or by showing that the nonmovant "cannot produce admissible evidence to support the [material] fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(B). If the movant clears this hurdle, the nonmovant may not simply rest on his or her allegations in the complaint, but instead must point to admissible evidence in the record to show that a genuine dispute exists. Id .; Harvey v. Town of Merrillville , 649 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2011). "In a ยง 1983 case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof on the constitutional deprivation that underlies the claim, and thus must come forward with sufficient evidence to create genuine issues of material fact to avoid summary judgment." McAllister v. Price , 615 F.3d 877, 881 (7th Cir. 2010).

At the summary judgment stage, evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, with material factual disputes resolved in the nonmovant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when a reasonable juror could find for the nonmovant. Id.

FACTS

The Court sets forth these facts for purposes of this order only. Plaintiff did not file responses to Defendants' motions for summary judgment. However, Plaintiff did file his own motions for summary judgment, which already set forth Plaintiff's version of events.

Plaintiff was detained in the Adams County Jail beginning in October 2008. On October 1, 2009, a jury found Plaintiff guilty on of multiple counts of aggravated arson and murder. (10/1/09 Order, 184-2, p. 66.)

On October 31, 2009, while still incarcerated in the Adams County Jail, Plaintiff injured his right hand. Plaintiff maintains that Defendant Scott Smith, an officer at the jail, struck Plaintiff's hand through the cell bars with some sort of wand or baton that is routinely carried by the officers during their rounds. Plaintiff testified in his deposition that he was sleeping at the time, his hands over his head and partly resting on the bars of the cell. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 11-15.) According to Plaintiff, Officer Smith reached through the bars and struck Plaintiff's right hand for no reason. Id.

However, Defendants have evidence that Plaintiff injured his hand himself by striking a wall. (Medical request form, 184-2, p. 8; 10/31/09 occurrence report, d/e 184-2, p. 71.) Defendant Officer Robbins occurrence report from October 31, 2009 states in part:

On the above date and time I was walking past Section 2 Cell 3 conducting a security check. Inmate Bentz asked, "John can I talk with you" adding "I need my hand set, I think I broke it." I stopped and Bentz stuck his right hand through the bars. Bentz's hand was swollen from the right side of the ring finger back to almost the top of the wrist. I asked Bentz how this happened and he replied, "I hit the wall." I asked Bentz why he hit the wall and he replied, "Because I was mad when I got up this morning." Bentz was given a bag of ice and a medical request form.

Similarly, Defendant Nurse Loos' 11/3/09 response to Plaintiff's request for medical care states:

Rt hand swollen-3rd and 4th fingers swollen noted some discoloration. State[s] hit hand on metal in cell....

Plaintiff denies telling Officer Robbins that Plaintiff injured his own hand. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 18-19.) An inference arises from the record that Plaintiff did not tell anyone that Officer Smith had struck Plaintiff's hand until after Plaintiff was transferred from the jail to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Plaintiff submitted a medical request form the day of the injury and another on November 3, 2014. Plaintiff's November 3rd medical request stated:

This is the 2nd god damn mother fucking Request form I have put in for my mother fucking Broken hand and this is the 3rd day the [illegible] COUNTY JAIL has Refused me medical attention!

(Medical request form, d/e 184-2, p. 8.) That day, November 3, 2009, Defendant Loos, a licensed practical nurse, saw Plaintiff and noted that his third and fourth fingers were swollen, with the fingers mobile except for adduction and abduction. She advised Plaintiff to apply ice.

On November 6, 2009, when Plaintiff reported continued swelling and only minimal improvement, Defendant Loos consulted Defendant Nancy Ogle, a certified nurse practitioner. During the relevant time period, Defendant Ogle was employed by Primary Care Physicians. Her duties included coordinating medical care for the Adams County Jail inmates. (Ogle Aff. para. 2.) Defendant Ogle, over the phone, ordered Tylenol and Ibuprofen for Plaintiff and ordered x-rays of Plaintiff's right hand and wrist. Defendant Ogle also directed Plaintiff to keep his hand elevated and to apply ice. (11/6/09 physician's telephone order; nurse notes 11/3/09-11/12/09, medication log, d/e 184-2, pp. 4-5, 7; Ogle Aff. para. 4).

On November 6, 2009, Plaintiff received an x-ray of his right wrist which showed "a distracted, overlapped fracture of the fifth metacarpal shaft.[1] No fracture or dislocation is seen involving the wrist. The bone mineralization is good. The joint spaces are ...


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