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Gardner v. Pulley

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

March 5, 2015



JAMES E. SHADID, Chief District Judge.

The Defendant's have filed Motions for Summary Judgment. They argue lack of deliberate indifference, lack of personal involvement, and qualified immunity. The Motions are granted, as to deliberate indifference and/or lack of personal involvement, for the reasons set forth below. As such, the issue of qualified immunity need not be addressed.


Plaintiff, Marvin Gardner, is an inmate with the Illinois Department of Corrections, who was incarcerated at Hill Correctional Center at the time relevant to this action.

Plaintiff asserts a violation of his Eighth Amendment Rights. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition. Plaintiff claims that he did not receive proper treatment when he injured his left thumb deflecting a soccer ball at Hill on August 7, 2012.

Defendant Pulley is the Assistant Warden of Programs at Hill. Defendant Lindorff was the Health Care Unit Administrator. Dr. Sood was the Medical Director, while Shawn Nelson was a radiology technician who took an x-ray of Plaintiff's thumb, and Shar Fateilgien was a nurse.

Defendants Pulley and Lindorff argue that they were not personally involoved in Plaintiff's medical care and, therefore, cannot be held liable. Defendants Sood and Nelson assert that Plaintiff did receive proper medical treatment and that they were not indifferent to any serious medical condition. It does not appear that Defendant Fateilgien was ever properly identified or served in this matter, and she is therefore dismissed.

Plaintiff was seen in the health care unit on August 7, 2012, after injuring his thumb. Dr. Sood examined his thumb, prescribed medication for pain and to reduce the swelling, and ordered an x-ray of Plaintiff's thumb to check for dislocation. His thumb was x-rayed on August 9, 2012. The x-ray report by Dr. Cordova found only degenerative changes and indicated no fracture, acute bony abnormality, or dislocation. Dr. Sood reviewed the x-ray report, ruled out a dislocation, and determined that Plaintiff likely had long-standing conditions with his thumb that predated the soccer injury. His thumb was wrapped with tape and a stick, but he was told that in Dr. Sood's medical judgment, the thumb should not be manipulated, and there was nothing more to be done. He saw Dr. Sood again on September 12, 2012, because his thumb was still bothering him. Dr. Sood observed that Plaintiff's thumb had improved and range of motion was restored. Another x-ray was ordered for September 13, 2012 for purposes of comparison. The x-ray report again noted significant osteoarthritis but no significant change, bony erosive change, or acute bony fracture. Dr. Sood reviewed the x-rays again, reiterated that his opinion had not changed from his prior assessment, and prescribed more pain medication. Plaintiff asked Dr. Sood to refer him to another hospital, but that didn't happen.

On September 30, 2012, Plaintiff was seen by a nurse for sick call, but her notes indicate that Plaintiff refused to let her examine his thumb at that time. Plaintiff saw Dr. Sood again on October 9, 2012, reporting that while he still had some pain, his thumb was much better. Dr. Sood examined his thumb and observed full range of motion with abduction. Dr. Sood gave Plaintiff the option of discontinuing his lawn mowing job at the institution, but Plaintiff said he was okay to continue it. Plaintiff had no further contact with Dr. Sood.

On October 12, 2012, Plaintiff filed a grievance requesting to be seen by a bone specialist, to which Defendant Lindorff responded on October 16, 2012. Plaintiff filed this action on August 27, 2013. Defendants have now moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff failed to respond to either motion, thereby admitting the factual assertions contained therein, and this Order follows.


Summary judgment shall be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). If the evidence, however, is "merely colorable, or is not significantly probative or merely raises some metaphysical doubt as the material facts, ' summary judgment may be granted." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50. Overall, "[s]ummary judgment is appropriate if, on the record as a whole, a rational trier of fact could not find for the non-moving party." Durkin v. Equifax Check Services, 406 F.3d 410, 414 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing Turner v. J.V.D.B. & Assocs., Inc., 330 F.3d 991, 995 (7th Cir. 2003)). Summary judgment is mandated when, after adequate time for discovery, the party who bears the burden of proof fails to make a showing sufficient to establish an essential element of that party's case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

Thus, in order to overcome the undisputed facts set forth in defendants' motion for summary judgment, plaintiff cannot rest on the allegations in his complaint but must point to affidavits, depositions or other evidence of an admissible sort that a genuine dispute of material fact exists between ...

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