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Coleman v. Hardy

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 30, 2014

MARCUS HARDY, et al., Defendants.


EDMOND E. CHANG, District Judge.

Plaintiff Michael Coleman, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Dr. Parthasarathi Ghosh, Dr. Ronald Schaefer, Dr. Imhotep Carter, Latanya Williams, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., alleging that the medical professionals violated his Eighth Amendment rights. See R. 60, First Am. Compl.[1] Coleman claims that the Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs while treating his knee and back injuries, in violation of the Eight Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (as incorporated against state officers via the Fourteenth Amendment). Defendants now move for summary judgment. See R. 107, Defs.' Mot. Summ. J.[2] For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion is granted.

I. Background

In deciding Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Coleman is serving a sentence for a murder conviction in Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. Pl.'s Resp. DSOF ¶ 1. Wexford is the medical services provider for Stateville; it is responsible for hiring the professionals that provide medical services to Stateville inmates. Id. ¶ 6. The individual Defendants were all employed by Wexford and provided services at Stateville during the time that Coleman alleges he did not receive adequate care. Id. ¶¶ 2-5. Ms. Williams is a physician's assistant who still works at Stateville. Id. ¶ 3. Dr. Schaefer was a staff physician at Stateville from August 2010 to October 2011. Id. ¶ 4. Dr. Ghosh was the Medical Director at Stateville until he retired in March 2011. Id. ¶ 2. After Dr. Ghosh's retirement, Dr. Carter became the Stateville Medical Director. Id. ¶ 5. He served in that position until May 2012. Id.

In December 2010 (Coleman was already imprisoned by this time), Coleman had surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to repair a tear in his meniscus. PSOF ¶ 1. To help prevent further injury to his knee, Coleman was given a medical permit that allowed him to be cuffed in front, rather than in back. Id. ¶ 4. In March 2011, Coleman injured his back after falling down stairs when cuffed from behind in violation of his medical permit. Id. ¶ 6. Coleman claims that he has suffered extreme pain in his knee and back and, despite writing numerous letters to Defendants asking for treatment, has not received adequate medical care for these conditions. See First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 50-120. Because Coleman alleges that each Defendant was deliberately indifferent to his medical condition, Coleman's interactions with each medical provider will be described in turn.

A. Physician's Assistant Williams

Williams first saw Coleman in December 2009, when he complained about pain in his knee. Pl.'s Resp. DSOF ¶ 10. She ordered x-rays and several treatments to reduce his pain. Id. She saw him again in March 2010, when he again complained of knee pain. Id. ¶ 12. She scheduled an appointment for Coleman to have his knee evaluated by the Medical Director. Id. Coleman did not go to the appointment with the Medical Director. Id.

Williams did not see Coleman again until March 25, 2011, after his knee surgery. Id. ¶ 27. At that appointment, Coleman complained that he had not yet received physical therapy and that he needed his medical permits renewed. Id. Williams followed up on Coleman's request for physical therapy and medical permits with Dr. Ghosh and the physical therapy department. Id. ¶¶ 27-28. In July 2011, Williams refilled Coleman's prescriptions and scheduled him for an appointment to see a medical provider, as requested by his physical therapist. Id. ¶¶ 37, 39. Williams last saw Coleman on March 13, 2012, when she performed his annual physical exam. Id. ¶ 49. Williams testified that Coleman did not complain about his knee or back pain during the physical. DSOF ¶ 49; R. 108-2, DSOF Exh. C, Williams Dep. at 66:7-67:2.[3]

B. Schaefer

Before leaving Stateville in October 2011, Dr. Schaefer saw Coleman three times. Pl.'s Resp. DSOF ¶¶ 25, 34, 42. At Stateville, Dr. Schaefer worked at the asthma clinic, and primarily saw Coleman to treat his asthma condition and provide him with asthma medication. Id. Dr. Schaefer first saw Coleman on February 1, 2011 at the asthma clinic. Id. ¶ 25. Dr. Schaefer did not note in Coleman's medical records for that appointment that Coleman had complained of any knee pain. Id. Dr. Schaefer claims that it was his practice to chart any complaints of pain, so the absence of any record of a complaint means that Coleman did not complain about his pain. Id.; R. 108-2, DSOF Exh. D, Coleman Aff. ¶ 3.[4] Dr. Schaefer next saw Coleman at the asthma clinic on June 13, 2011. Pl.'s Resp. DSOF ¶ 34. During that visit, Coleman complained of pain in his knee. Id. After explaining to Coleman that the asthma clinic was not the appropriate place to address his knee pain, Dr. Schaefer made an appointment for Coleman to be seen during sick call and prescribed him pain medication. Id. The last time Dr. Schaefer saw Coleman was September 29, 2011. Id. ¶ 42. Again, Dr. Schaefer did not chart any complaints of knee or back pain, suggesting that no such complaints were made. DSOF ¶ 42.[5]

C. Dr. Ghosh

Dr. Ghosh was the Medical Director of Wexford until he retired on March 31, 2011. Pl.'s Resp. DSOF ¶ 5. His first interaction with Coleman related to knee pain was in April 2010, when Ghosh examined Coleman's knee in the Stateville health center. Id. ¶ 13. Based on this examination, he "ordered an MRI of the right knee, an orthopedic consultation at [UIC], a pair of crutches, low bunk, low galley, no leg iron, medical restraints, and Motrin 400 mg for two months." Id. The MRI results revealed a tear in Coleman's meniscus, and Ghosh ordered an orthopedic consult at UIC. Id. ¶ 15. Based on the recommendations of the consulting physician at UIC, Ghosh ordered x-rays, a follow-up with the UIC physician, and additional pain medication. Id. ¶ 17.

After Coleman's knee surgery, Ghosh admitted Coleman to the Stateville health center for observation. Id. ¶ 22. He examined Coleman and ordered several treatments, including crutches, low bunk, low galley, front-cuffing, and pain medication. Id. Coleman was discharged from the health center the next day with no complaints and minimal swelling. Id. Ghosh also approved the surgeon's recommendations that Coleman receive physical therapy and follow-up appointments at UIC. Id. ¶ 20. Ghosh told the physical therapy department that Coleman should be put on the list to receive treatment. Id. Ghosh reiterated this directive to the physical therapy department in ...

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