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Harper v. Henton

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 28, 2014

DAVID HARPER, Plaintiff,


STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS, Magistrate Judge.

I. Introduction

Before the Court are two summary judgment motions filed by Defendants[1] Defendants Elaine Hardy, Helen Haines, James Fenoglio, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. filed a summary judgment motion on Plaintiff's deliberate indifference claims against them (Docs. 85, 86, and 89). Plaintiff filed a Response to that motion (Doc. 96). Defendants filed a Reply brief (Doc. 98). Defendant Jason Henton also filed a motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation claim against him (Docs. 87 and 88). Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 93). Based on the following, the Court GRANTS both summary judgment motions (Docs. 85, 86 and 87, 88).

II. Findings of Fact

The facts which make up the basis of Plaintiff's Complaint occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Lawrence Correctional Center. At 3:30 a.m. on April 26, 2010, Mr. Harper and Inmate Terry Scott were in an altercation which resulted in Plaintiff being beaten and receiving a broken jaw. Prior to this altercation, Plaintiff had been housed with Inmate Jace Rapp but Plaintiff sought to be removed from that cell (Doc. 86 Ex. C-1 at pp. 13-14). Plaintiff complained to officers on his floor, to the warden, and wrote a letter to the placement office asking to be removed from Rapp's cell ( Id. ). He did not discuss the issue with Jason Henton, the Assistant Warden of Operations ( Id. ). Plaintiff informed his wife that Rapp was threatening him and she contacted State Representative Bill Black ( Id. at pp. 15-17). Plaintiff believes that Representative Black then contacted the Illinois Department of Corrections and Plaintiff was transferred from Rapp's cell to Inmate Terry Scott's cell in April 22, 2010 ( Id at pp. 18-22). At the time that Plaintiff was moved from his cell, Defendant Jason Henton was "Acting Assistant Warden of Operations" and oversaw the security of the facility and various other departments within the prison. (Doc. 88 Ex. 1 at ¶ 2). The placement office fell under Henton's supervision but he did not actively participate in placing inmates ( Id. at ¶ 3). He also stated that he did not receive any calls from Plaintiff's wife or a politician ( Id. at ¶ 5).

Plaintiff indicates that prior to his cell transfer, he had informed Defendant Middleton, who is not a party to the current motions for summary judgment, that he wanted a cell change and Defendant Middleton informed him that cell assignments were the responsibility of the placement office (Doc. 51 at ¶61).[2]

In the early morning of April 26, 2010, Plaintiff was in an altercation with his cellmate, Inmate Terry Scott. At 3:55 a.m., after the altercation, Plaintiff was examined by Helen Haines, a licensed practical nurse at Lawrence Correctional Center (Doc. 86 Ex. A at ¶ 2). The medical records note that Haines cleaned superficial lacerations to Plaintiff's face (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 1). Haines filled out an Offender Injury Report which noted that Plaintiff had superficial lacerations near his left eye, forehead, and nose, as well as a swollen eye, and that he was bleeding from his nose (Doc. 86 Ex. D). She also filled out an Incident Report stating that he was brought to the health care unit, an injury report was filled out, and he was sent to segregation (Doc. 86 Ex. E). Dr. James Fenoglio reviewed the report on April 27, 2010 and indicated he would see Plaintiff on an as needed ("PRN") basis (Doc. 86 Ex. D; Doc. 98 Ex. G-1[3]). Plaintiff testified in his deposition that he spoke to Haines and told her that there was something wrong with his mouth and that Haines took out his lower dentures and looked inside his mouth, noting blood (Doc. 86 Ex. C-1 at pp. 44-45). Haines stated that she did not know that Plaintiff had a fractured jaw and believed he only suffered superficial lacerations (Doc. 86 Ex. A at ¶ 9). She informed Plaintiff that he should follow up with a nurse as needed (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 1). This was Plaintiff's only encounter with Haines regarding this incident; she did not see him prior to his surgery on May 19, 2010.

On April 28, 2010, while Plaintiff was in segregation, Elaine Hardy did a call line at approximately 2:00 p.m. in segregation (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 1). Hardy stated that Plaintiff was not in her call line as he was in the lieutenant's office, but that the lieutenant asked her to examine Plaintiff (Doc. 86 Ex. F at ¶ 5). Plaintiff testified in his deposition that Hardy came into the office and laughed at him, joking that he should have bobbed and weaved, and looked at him from a distance (Doc. 86 Ex. C-1 at p. 48). The medical records indicate that Hardy noted a dentation on Plaintiff's jaw and that he complained of jaw pain and stated "I think it is broke." (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 1). Haines noted bruising and tenderness ( Id. ) She also removed his dentures to examine him ( Id. ) She then ordered x-rays for the following day for the facial, nasal, and mandibular/jaw area of Plaintiff's face ( Id. ). She did not prescribe pain medication as Plaintiff did not appear to be in severe pain (Doc. 86 Ex. F at ¶ 7). Hardy referred Plaintiff to Dr. Mark Litherland, the dentist (Doc. 86 Ex. F; Ex. B-1 at p. 8). Plaintiff received x-rays on April 29, 2010 (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 2). He also met with Dr. Litherland who noted a referral to an oral surgeon (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 8). Also on April 29, 2010, Dr. Fenoglio signed the Medical Special Services Referral Report to Wexford, noting that Plaintiff had seen the dentist and needed approval of a referral to Dr. Swanson, an oral surgeon, to stabilize his fractured mandible (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 10). Dr. Fenoglio marked urgent on the form ( Id. ).

Defendant Hardy reviewed Plaintiff's chart on May 5, 2010 and noted that Plaintiff had an appointment with Dr. Swanson, an oral surgeon, on May 7, 2010 and that the x-rays would be sent to Dr. Swanson ( Id. at p. 3). On May 5, 2010, the authorization from Wexford for the referral to an oral surgeon was received ( Id. at p. 11). The authorization noted that Plaintiff had been seen by the dentist who recommended urgent oral surgery evaluation ( Id. ). On May 7, 2010, Plaintiff saw Dr. Swanson and he scheduled surgery for May 12, 2010 ( Id. at pp. 4, 13). Dr. Fenoglio was notified and a referral was faxed to Wexford ( Id. at pp. 4, 14). Defendant Hardy also reviewed Plaintiff's chart on that day and ordered pre-op labs ( Id. at p. 5). Dr. Fenoglio conducted a pre-op on May 10, 2010 (Doc. 86 Ex. G at Ex. C). A phone call was received on May 10, 2010 from Dr. Swanson's office indicating that the surgery would have to be rescheduled for May 19, 2010 due to a family emergency (Doc. 86 Ex. B-1 at p. 6). Hardy reviewed Plaintiff's chart on May 17, 2010 and ordered new pre-op orders for the new surgery date ( Id. at p.7). From April 27, 2010 to May 19, 2010, Plaintiff was visited by a nurse in segregation during sick call rounds on eighteen occasions with no complaints (Doc. 86 Ex. B-2 at pp. 32-33). Plaintiff received his surgery on May 19, 2010.

III. Conclusions of Law

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary Judgment 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. Multi Corp ., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a)). See also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc ., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating-based on the pleadings, affidavits, and/or information obtained via discovery-the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

After a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e)(2)). A fact is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable law. Anderson , 477 U.S. at 248; Ballance v. City of Springfield, Ill. Police Dep't , 424 F.3d 614, 616 (7th Cir. 2005); Hottenroth v. Vill. of Slinger, 388 F.3d 1015, 1027 (7th Cir. 2004). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 248. "A mere scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmovant's petition is insufficient; a party will be successful in opposing summary judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion." Albiero v. City of Kankakee , 246 F.3d 927, 931-32 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and quotations omitted).

On summary judgment, the Court considers the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Srail v. Vill. of Lisle , 588 F.3d 940, 948 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court adopts reasonable inferences and resolves doubts in the nonmovant's favor. Id .; Nat'l Athletic Sportswear, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co ., 528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir. 2008). Even if the facts are not in dispute, summary judgment is inappropriate when the information before the court reveals that "alternate inferences can be drawn from the available evidence." Spiegla v. Hull , 371 F.3d 928, 935 (7th Cir. ...

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