United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JAMES F. HOLDERMAN, District Judge.
Plaintiff Jovan Daniels, an Illinois inmate, brought this action pro se against Defendants Nurse Harper and Saleh Obaisi, M.D. (incorrectly sued as Obaisi Saleh) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he received inadequate care and treatment for what he believed to be a severe asthma attack. Currently pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Defendants contend that, at the time they encountered Plaintiff, Plaintiff was not suffering from an objectively serious medical condition. Defendants also contend that they were not deliberately indifferent to the condition with which Plaintiff presented. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Defendants' motion and enters judgment in favor of Defendants.
I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. The notice explained the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1.
Local Rule 56.1 "is designed, in part, to aid the district court, which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.'" Id. (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Local Rule 56. 1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that requires the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).
In general, the purpose of Local Rule 56.1 statements and responses is to identify the relevant admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) (explaining that statement of material facts "did not comply with Rule 56.1 as it failed to adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant information, legal arguments, and conjecture"). "When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion." Cracco, 559 F.3d at 632 (citation omitted); see also Frey Corp. v. City of Peoria, 735 F.3d 505, 513 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). "For litigants appearing in the Northern District of Illinois, the Rule 56.1 statement is a critical, and required, component of a litigant's response to a motion for summary judgment. The purpose of the local rule is to make the summary judgment process less burdensome on district courts, by requiring the parties to nail down the relevant facts and the way they propose to support them." Sojka v. Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., 686 F.3d 394, 398 (7th Cir. 2012).
In the present case, Defendants filed a Rule 56.1 Statement with factual allegations supported by citations to the record. (R.35, Defs. Statement of Material Facts ("DSOF"); see also Local Rule 56.1(a).) Plaintiff filed a response to Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement and, for the most part, cites to materials in the record. (R.44, Pl.'s Resp. to Defs. Statement of Material Facts ("Pl. Resp. to DSOF"); see also Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B).) Plaintiff also filed a response to Defendants' summary judgment motion (R.43, 45 pp. 1-7, Pl.'s Resp. to Defs. Motion for Summary Judgment ("Pl. Resp.")) and a statement of additional facts (R.45 pp. 8-26, Decl. in Opp. to Defs. Motion for Summary Judgment and Exhibits ("PSOF"); see also Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C).) Defendants replied only to Plaintiff's response brief. (R.49, Reply Mem. in Support of Defs. Motion for Summary Judgment ("Defs. Reply").) With the above standards in mind, the Court turns to the facts of this case.
II. Relevant Undisputed Facts
Plaintiff Jovan Daniels, an Illinois inmate, has suffered from asthma all his life and has had a lot of asthma attacks over the years. (DSOF ¶¶ 5, 8; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶¶ 5, 8.) Daniels' condition has been treated, at various times, with inhalers, breathing treatments, and steroid shots. (DSOF ¶ 5; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 5.) Sometimes inhalers work to alleviate Daniels' symptoms; sometimes they do not work, and Daniels may require alternate treatments such as breathing treatments, prednisone shots or pills, or a change of inhalers. (DSOF ¶ 6; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 6.) Daniels, who has been in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections since December 5, 2005, and who was housed at Stateville Correctional Center at the time of the events underlying this lawsuit (DSOF ¶ 1; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 1), last experienced an asthma attack on July 27, 2012 (DSOF ¶ 8; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 8), which is the subject of this lawsuit.
When Daniels woke up at approximately 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. on July 27, 2012, he was having difficulty breathing. (DSOF ¶ 9; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 9.) Daniels spoke with Sergeant Palmer and asked to see a doctor. (DSOF ¶ 10; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 10.) Palmer told Daniels to submit a request slip. (DSOF ¶ 10; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 10.) At Stateville, each cell house or living unit has an assigned Correctional Medical Technician ("CMT") on duty seven days a week. (DSOF ¶ 12; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 12.) If an inmate has a medical complaint, the inmate must contact the CMT in his living area or submit a medical request form to the Health Care Unit. (DSOF ¶ 12; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 12.) Inmates submit medical request forms to the Health Care Unit by completing a form and placing it in a drop box (sick call box) located in the living areas. (DSOF ¶ 12; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 12.) The CMT then evaluates the inmate's medical needs. (DSOF ¶ 12; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 12.) Treatment for minor ailments may be provided at that time; otherwise, the inmate may be referred to physician sick call or the Health Care Unit for treatment. (DSOF ¶ 12; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 12.) When an inmate requires urgent medical care, such as when experiencing an asthma attack, it is common for inmates in surrounding cells to yell out that the inmate needs immediate attention. (Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 12; see PSOF ¶¶ 21-23, 29.)
In response to Sergeant Palmer's directive that Daniels submit a request slip, Daniels wrote a note on a blank piece of paper requesting to go to the Health Care Unit for an asthma issue and handed the note to Palmer. (DSOF ¶ 11; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 11.) Palmer, who is not a defendant to this action, told Daniels that he would give the note to a "med tech." (DSOF ¶ 11; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 11.) Palmer uses the term "med tech" to refer to the CMT assigned to the living area. (DSOF ¶ 14; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 14.)
Daniels subsequently saw the note that the he gave to Sergeant Palmer in Defendant Aletha Harper's bag. (DSOF ¶ 18; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 18.) Harper was employed at Stateville as a registered nurse in July 2012, and worked on July 27, 2012, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (DSOF ¶¶ 2, 17; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶¶ 2, 17.) Harper was assigned to Daniels' living unit to administer scheduled medications to certain inmates. (DSOF ¶ 17, Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 17.) Harper was not employed at Stateville as a CMT and was not the CMT assigned to Daniels' living unit on July 27, 2012. (DSOF ¶ 16; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 16.) Daniels says that he spoke with Harper while she was on her rounds and asked her if she had his note. (DSOF ¶ 18; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 18.) According to Daniels, Harper pointed to the note in her bag and responded, "I have it right here." (DSOF ¶ 18; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 18.) Harper then told Daniels that she was going back to the medical unit after she finished her rounds and would "let them know" that Daniels needed to see them. (DSOF ¶ 18; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 18.) Daniels did not speak with Harper any further about the request. (DSOF ¶ 19; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 19.) Daniels does not know where Harper went as she continued her rounds and does not know what Harper did with his request. (DSOF ¶ 20; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 20.) Daniels also does not know if Harper spoke with the Health Care Unit or anybody else about his request. (DSOF ¶ 20; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 20.)
Defendant Harper did not see Daniels on July 27, 2012, for the purpose of making a nursing assessment and made no treatment decisions with respect to Daniels on that date. (DSOF ¶ 21; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 21.) Daniels was not one of the inmates to whom Harper administered medications on July 27, 2012. (DSOF ¶ 17; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 17.) And while Daniels contends that he told Harper that he was having difficulty breathing due to an asthma attack (Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 21), Harper says that she did not observe Daniels suffering from an acute medical condition or having respiratory problems. (DSOF ¶ 21; Pl. Resp. to DSOF ¶ 21.) Harper also says that, although she did not recall receiving a note about Daniels' request for medical assistance, ...