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Jordan v. Stahr

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

March 11, 2015

MELVIN JORDAN, (K96712), Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN R. STAHR, PARHASARATHI GHOSH, LIPING ZHANG, KERRY WILLIAMS, AKINOLA IYIOLA, REBECCA LAWLER, JEFFREY NURSE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN Z. LEE, District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiff Melvin Jordan, an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"), filed this lawsuit against the Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that they acted with deliberate indifference to his ankle and foot injuries. Defendants Akinola Iyola, Rebecca Lawler, Jeffrey Nurse, Brian Stahr and Kerry Williams's (collectively, the "State Defendants") move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies and failure to state a claim. Defendants Dr. Parhasarathi Ghosh and Dr. Liping Zhang (collectively, "Medical Defendants") also move for summary judgment on the basis of Plaintiff's failure to exhaust the grievance procedure at Stateville. For his part, Plaintiff has opposed these motions and has also filed several motions for discovery, which the Medical Defendants seek to strike in light of their pending summary judgment motion.

For the reasons provided herein, Defendants' motions are denied. Additionally, the Court believes that recruitment of counsel is appropriate at this time. Plaintiff's motions regarding discovery are stricken without prejudice; they can be refiled by recruited counsel if he or she deems it necessary.

I. Factual Background

A. Facts Relevant to Motion to Dismiss[1]

Plaintiff injured his ankle and foot during a recreational session in the prison yard at Stateville on August 11, 2008. See Pl.'s 3d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 20-21. This injury left him in pronounced pain. See id. ¶¶ 21, 24. Plaintiff informed Defendant Williams, who was supervising the prison yard at the time, of his injury and requested medical attention. See id. ¶¶ 22-27. According to Plaintiff, Williams responded that "he didn't give a fuck'" and told Plaintiff that he was not going to call for medical assistance. See id. ¶ 28. Plaintiff returned to his housing unit without receiving any medical assistance for the injury. See id. ¶¶ 29-30.

When he returned to his housing unit, Plaintiff asked Defendant Iyiola, another correctional official, for medical attention. See id. ¶ 33. Despite Plaintiff's request to Iyiola, no medical attention was provided. See id. ¶¶ 34-39. Plaintiff attempted to relieve the pain in his foot and ankle by soaking his foot in the toilet water in his cell. See id. ¶ 37. By the evening of August 11, Plaintiff still had not received any medical attention for his foot or ankle. Because he was unable to climb into his bunk, he had to sleep on the floor of his cell. See id. ¶¶ 40-41.

The next day, on August 12, Defendant Lawler was distributing medication in Plaintiff's housing unit. See id. ¶ 45. Plaintiff complained to Lawler about his ankle and foot injuries, and Lawler said she would obtain medical assistance for Plaintiff. See id. ¶¶ 46-47. However, again, no medical assistance was provided. See id. ¶ 48.

Finally, on August 13, Defendant Stahr accompanied Plaintiff to the health care unit. See id. ¶ 53. However, Plaintiff alleges Stahr's transportation methods exposed him to further pain. See generally id.¶¶ 58-64. Stahr did not call a nurse to assist Plaintiff with walking to the health care unit. See id. ¶¶ 56-57. Instead, Plaintiff was forced to walk to the health care unit on his own. See id. ¶¶ 61-62, 64. Despite Plaintiff's requests for a nurse, his protestations that descending the steps would be painful, and request that Stahr handcuff him in the front of his body so that he could descend the stairway more easily, Stahr made Plaintiff walk to the health care unit by himself and refused to handcuff him in the front as requested. See id. ¶¶ 58-60.

Once in the health care unit, Plaintiff began receiving treatment for his foot from Defendant Dr. Zhang. See id.¶ 65. Dr. Zhang indicated that Plaintiff's foot "didn't look good" and might be fractured. See id. ¶ 67. Dr. Zhang further noted the need for an x-ray and ordered one. See id. Plaintiff did receive medication, a brace, and a single crutch from Dr. Zhang, but he did not receive an x-ray or MRI. See id. ¶ 67-68. Plaintiff asserts that, in addition to Dr. Zhang, Dr. Ghosh also was responsible for treating Plaintiff and also ordered an x-ray. See id. ¶ 71. However, Plaintiff never received an x-ray. See id. ¶ 72.

Plaintiff's injury did improve to the point that he attempted to jog in November 2008. See id. ¶ 76. However, he reinjured himself while jogging. See id. He was again seen by Dr. Zhang, but did not receive an x-ray. See id. ¶¶ 78-83. Plaintiff put in numerous requests for an x-ray over the next few months, but never received one. See generally id. ¶¶ 84-92 (detailing numerous requests and grievances Plaintiff filed).

B. Facts Relevant to Summary Judgment Motion

On August 13, 2008, Plaintiff filed a grievance complaining of inadequate access to medical treatment with respect to his August 11, 2008 ankle injury. See Medical Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 3. At the time Plaintiff prepared this grievance, he had no knowledge of any improper care by Dr. Zhang or Dr. Ghosh. See id. ¶ 4. Plaintiff filed another grievance on August 13, 2008, which complained of Defendant Stahr's conduct when transporting him to the health care unit. See id. ¶ 5. This grievance did not mention Dr. Zhang or Dr. Ghosh. See id. On August 16, 2008, Plaintiff formally filed his first grievance related to the medical care provided by the doctors. See id. ¶ 6. The grievance only mentions Dr. Zhang, not Dr. Ghosh. See id. ¶ 7.

On January 10, 2009, Plaintiff filed a grievance that included complaints about the continued lack of medical care, including the failure to receive an x-ray of his ankle. See id. ¶ 7. The January 10 grievance also noted that Plaintiff had not received a response to August 16 grievance. See id. Plaintiff avers that the January 10 grievance also referred to the lack of care for his ankle and foot injuries. See Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Stmt. ¶ 8. This grievance also does not mention Dr. Ghosh. See Medical Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 9.

It is undisputed that the Administrative Review Board ("ARB") returned Plaintiff's grievances, stating that he had failed to include the proper materials. According to the Medical Defendants, Plaintiff admits his noncompliance with the procedures. See id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff takes issue with this characterization, claiming that the grievance procedures did not require him to attach the documents required by the ARB. See Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Stmt. ¶ 10. Furthermore, Plaintiff points out that when the ARB returned the grievances to him, the 30-day deadline to submit the appeal ...


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