United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ROBERT E. DORTCH, Plaintiff,
RANDY DAVIS, CHRISTINE BROWN, DENNIS LARSON, M.D., and JOHN R. SHEPHERD, M.D., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.
A. Introduction and Procedural Overview
Robert Dortch filed suit in this Court under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of his federally secured constitutional rights while incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (PCC). The complaint named four Defendants: Randy Davis, Warden of PCC; Chris Brown, the Healthcare Administrator of PCC; and two physicians who saw Dortch at PCC, listed on the complaint as Dr. Larson and Dr. Sheppard. In an August 2012 Order (Doc. 12), the undersigned concluded that the complaint survived threshold review under 28 U.S.C. 1915A as to Dortch's claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, as to all four Defendants.
Now before the Court are two summary judgment motions. Plaintiff filed briefs opposing both motions. The first motion, filed October 9, 2013 by Defendants Larson and Shepherd, ripened with a reply brief on November 7, 2013. The second motion, filed November 14, 2013 by Defendants Brown and Davis, ripened with a reply brief on January 27, 2014. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants both summary judgment motions.
B. Applicable Legal Standards
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs motions for summary judgment. Summary judgment should be granted 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." Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir. 2012), citing FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). A genuine issue of material fact remains "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Serednyj v. Beverly Healthcare, LLC, 656 F.3d 540, 547 (7th Cir. 2011), citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Summary judgment has been described as the "put up or shut up moment" in the case, at which "the non-moving party is required to marshal and present the court with the evidence she contends will prove her case, " evidence on which a reasonable jury could rely. Porter v. City of Chicago, 700 F.3d 944, 956 (7th Cir. 2012), citing Goodman v National Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010).
In assessing a summary judgment motion, the district court views the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the non-moving party. Anderson, 699 F.3d at 994; Righi v. SMC Corp., 632 F.3d 404, 408 (7th Cir. 2011); Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011). But the district court may not resolve issues of credibility when deciding a summary judgment motion. "Those are issues for a jury at trial, not a court on summary judgment." Williams v. City of Chicago, 733 F.3d 749, 752 (7th Cir. 2013).
C. Summary of Evidence
Robert Dortch (Plaintiff) claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs by failing to adequately treat his sleep apnea. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants denied him the use of a machine used to treat sleep apnea (a "CPAP" machine) for approximately three months, and as a result, he suffered pain, sleep deprivation, difficulty breathing, and emotional distress. The Court now summarizes the evidence (including depositions, affidavits, medical records, and other documents), viewing the facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to Plaintiff.
Plaintiff was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in 2002, after experiencing problems with gasping for air in the middle of the night, chest pains, headaches, loud snoring, and fatigue throughout the day. (Plaintiff's Deposition ("Dep."), p. 15). The doctor who performed the sleep study informed him that while sleeping, Plaintiff would continually stop breathing throughout the night and that he was at risk to die in his sleep without treatment. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 14).
Plaintiff arrived at PCC in August of 2010. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 8). He went through medical intake screening at PCC on August 20, 2010. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 24). He testified that he told everyone he spoke to about his diabetes and sleep apnea, but he cannot recall specifically who he told. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 24). Approximately one week after arriving, Plaintiff told Christine Brown, Administrator of PCC's Health Care Unit, that he would have his CPAP machine sent from his house to PCC, but she informed him that would not be possible due to security concerns. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 25, 51-52; see also Brown Affidavit, Doc. 79-1, pp. 7-8). Security must approve all medical equipment sent to the facility from an outside source. (Davis Affidavit, Doc. 79-1, ¶ 5). Brown directed Plaintiff to seek approval from the medical staff. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 53). Plaintiff's medical records document his report of sleep apnea on that date. (Doc. 66-4, p. 1). Plaintiff did not see a doctor on September 1, 2010, he saw only a nurse that day. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 30).
Plaintiff saw the Defendant doctors - Dr. Larson and Dr. Shepherd - one time each. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 25). Dr. Larson is an employee of Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (Wexford) and served as Regional Medical Director for the region encompassing PCC from July 18, 2006 through September 4, 2011 (Doc. 66, p. 2). Dr. Shepherd worked for Wexford as an onsite independent contractor between 2001 and March 8, 2013 ( id. ).
Plaintiff saw Dr. Larson once - on September 12, 2010. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 25; Larson Aff. ¶ 9). Larson asked Plaintiff about his medical care prior to PCC, and Plaintiff gave him the names of Dr. Bonapart and Nurse McMills. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 25, p. 30). Plaintiff signed a medical consent form so that Larson could get Plaintiff's medical records from Cook County Jail. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 25-26; Doc. 66-4, p. 13). Dr. Larson ordered Plaintiff's medical records from Cook County pertaining to his sleep apnea treatment that same day - September 12, 2010. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 2; Larson Affidavit, Doc. 66-1, ¶ 8).
On September 21, 2010, the PCC medical unit received a phone call from Monica Smith regarding the Cook County Jail records request. (Doc. 66-4, p. 3). Smith said the records were at Stroger Hospital. (Doc. 66-4, p. 3). On October 1, 2010, a representative of Stroger Hospital called and informed PCC staff that Stroger did not have the sleep study. (Doc. 66-4, p. 3). Wexford approved Larson's request to perform a new sleep study on Plaintiff on October 8, 2010, due to the inability to obtain the records from other sources. (Doc. 66-4, p. 10; Larson Aff. ¶ 13). Larson did not tell Plaintiff what steps he was taking during this time. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 26).
Plaintiff saw Shepherd once - on September 14, 2010. Shepherd told Plaintiff he was only there to treat Plaintiff's diabetes. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 28, 34; Shepherd Aff. ¶ 10).
Plaintiff was not informed that the doctors requested another sleep study for him. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 37). He testified that he would have never initiated the grievance process and would have gladly welcomed another sleep study. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 37). Plaintiff became concerned after several weeks and began to attempt to follow-up himself on getting his medical records by getting another consent form and sending it to his wife to send to his previous institution. (Pl.'s Dep. p. 64) Plaintiff submitted a request to staff inquiring about the status of his records on November 4, 2010. (Doc. 90, p. 5).
Plaintiff received his CPAP machine at PCC from his family in November 2010. According to Plaintiff, Warden Davis approved this around November 4, 2010, and Plaintiff received the CPAP on November 19, 2010 (Pl.'s Dep. p. 38, p. 56). Medical records reflect that Plaintiff was given his CPAP machine on November 18, 2010. (Doc. 66-4, p. 5). The CPAP machine, which came from Plaintiff's wife, had a broken hose. It was temporarily repaired with tape, and an equipment request form was sent to Wexford for approval. ...