United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall United States District Court Judge
Jimmie Buford, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center,
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Stateville Placement Officer Karen Rabideau, Sergeant Daniel
Berkley, Assistant Warden Roletta O’Brien, and Deputy
Director for the Northern District of Illinois Department of
Corrections David Gomez, claiming they violated his Eighth
Amendment rights by acting with deliberate indifference in
assigning, or allowing the assignment of Buford to a top bunk
when he was allegedly incapable of climbing the top bunk due
to a preexisting Achilles tendon injury to his right leg.
brings claims against Dr. Saleh Obaisi and Wexford Health
Sources, Inc. for their deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs that arose when he fell attempting to
climb the top bunk. Specifically, Buford claims Obaisi and
Wexford were deliberately indifferent to his head, knee, and
shoulder injuries and that their conduct resulted in
continued shoulder pain, as well as numbness and tingling in
his left hand and fingers, in violation of his Eighth
following reasons, the Court grants Defendants Obaisi and
Wexford’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 76).
The Court also grants Summary Judgment with respect to
Defendant O’Brien. (Dkt. No. 82). Summary Judgment is
denied with respect to Defendants Berkley, Rabideau, and
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. Buford
is an inmate at Stateville where, at all times relevant to
this lawsuit, Defendant Berkley was the Sergeant,
O’Brien was the Assistant Warden, and Rabideau was a
Placement Officer; Gomez was the Deputy Director for the
Northern District of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
(See Dkt. No. 84, ¶¶ 1-2; Dkt. No. 92,
¶¶ 1-2). Obaisi is the Medical Director at
Stateville Correctional Center and a licensed physician in
Illinois. (Dkt. No. 78, ¶ 7; Dkt. No. 90, ¶ 7).
Obaisi is also an employee of Wexford. (Dkt. No. 90,
Add’l Facts, ¶ 35; Dkt. No. 101-1, ¶ 35).
Low Bunk Permits and Cell-Transfer Procedures
medical staff issue low bunk permits to inmates on a
case-by-case basis. (See Dkt. No. 92, Add’l
Facts, ¶ 6; Dkt. No. 105, ¶ 6). Medical staff issue
these low bunk permits due to medical necessity and the
medical director reviews and approves each one.
(Id.; Dkt. No. 88, Ex. F at 18). According to
Defendant Berkley, medical staff retain a copy of the permit
and also issue a copy to the inmate. (Dkt. No. 87, Ex. D at
17). If an inmate has a valid low bunk permit, IDOC provides
the inmate a low bunk if there is one available. (Dkt. No.
84, ¶ 24; Dkt. No. 92, ¶ 24). If there is not an
available bunk, the inmate has to wait until one becomes
available. (Id.) According to Buford, if an
inmate’s low bunk permit is set to expire, he has to
notify the health care unit to reissue the permit. (Dkt. No.
86, 88-89). If an inmate who previously did not have a low
bunk permit when assigned to a cell receives one, it is the
responsibility of “someone other than Ms.
Rabideau” to notify Rabideau of the permit. (Dkt. No.
84, ¶ 23; Dkt. No. 92, ¶ 23). Rabideau testified
that if an inmate receives a new permit, the inmate will send
her a note, the sergeant of the cellhouse will alert her, or
occasionally medical will inform her office. (Dkt. No. 88,
Ex. G at 22). O’Brien testified that it is not the
inmate’s responsibility to notify the placement office
of the new permit and, instead, the placement office receives
a directive from the health care unit that a new permit was
issued. (Dkt. No. 88, Ex. F at 18-19).
Offender Tracking System, a computing system used by the
placement office, shows whether an inmate has a low bunk
permit on file. (Dkt. No. 88, Ex. G at 11-12). However, it
only shows the current status of an inmate - it does not
provide the inmate’s background history. (Id.
at 11, 15). The guards do not have access to the system
because they do not have computers in the cell houses, but
they may request access to it. (Id. at 13).
officers are the only officials authorized to move inmates.
(Id. at 24). When a placement officer decides to
move an inmate to a new cell, correctional officers receive a
movement order containing the inmate’s name, ID number,
the cell he is currently occupying, and the cell to which he
has been reassigned. (Id. at 14). Correctional
officers do not have the authority to cancel a transfer.
(Dkt. No. 87, Ex. D at 14, 16). If an issue arises concerning
the new cell, the officer transferring the inmate may place
the inmate in a holding area while he attempts to resolve the
issue. (Id. 14-15). In such a situation, all the
officer is permitted to do is call the placement department
and ask where the inmate should be moved. (Dkt. No. 88, Ex. F
at 25). Inmates may also refuse the assigned housing and, if
they do so, they are typically taken to segregation. (Dkt.
No. 87, Ex. D at 18-19). Once an inmate refuses housing,
however, the officer should alert his supervisor of the
issue. (Id. at 18).
Berkley nor O’Brien ever received directives stating
that inmates are not allowed to sleep on the floor. (Dkt. No.
84, ¶¶ 19, 20; Dkt. No. 92, ¶¶ 19, 20).
Inmates are provided bunks, but some choose to sleep on the
floor. (Dkt. No. 84, ¶¶ 18, 21; Dkt. No. 92,
¶¶ 18, 21). Gomez testified, however, that
“[i]nmates don’t sleep on the floor”
because it is “not an acceptable practice” due to
“health, safety, [and] sanitation” reasons. (Dkt.
No. 92, Add’l Facts, ¶ 22; Dkt. No. 105, ¶
Buford’s Bunk Assignment
August 2012, Buford sustained an Achilles tendon injury and
was issued a low bunk permit. (Dkt. No. 84, ¶ 12; Dkt.
No. 92, ¶ 12; Dkt. No. 92, Add’l Facts,
¶¶ 5, 9; Dkt. No. 105, ¶¶ 5, 9). This
permit expired on August 22, 2013. (Dkt. No. 84, ¶ 12;
Dkt. No. 92, ¶ 12). About two weeks later, on September
4, 2013, Rabideau issued an order to move Buford to a new
cell. (See Def. Ex. C at 54). That same day,
Rabideau checked the Offender Tracking System and confirmed
that Buford did not have a low bunk permit. (Dkt. No. 84,
¶ 11; Dkt. No. 92, ¶ 11).
to Rabideau’s order, Berkley transferred Buford from
cell F-346, a segregated cellhouse, to cell C-252, a general
population cellhouse. (See Dkt. No. 84, ¶ 3;
Dkt. No. 92, ¶ 3). The bunk beds in C-252 do not have
ladders leading to the top bunk. (Dkt. No. 92, Add’l
Facts, ¶ 2; Dkt. No. 105, ¶ 2). At the time of his
transfer, Buford still walked with at least one crutch from
his Achilles tendon injury, though his low bunk permit had
expired. (See Dkt. No. 92, Add’l Facts, ¶
36; Dkt. No. 105, ¶ 36). When Rabideau authorized the
move, she was not aware that Buford was on crutches.
(See Dkt. No. 82, Ex. G at 40). Berkley verified
there was no low bunk permit on file with Buford’s
previous cellhouse. (Dkt. No. 84, ¶ 7; Dkt. No. 92,
his arrival at the new cell, another inmate-David
Brunner-already occupied the low bunk. (Dkt. No. 92,
Add’l Facts, ¶ 8; Dkt. No. 105, ¶ 8). Buford
was unable to access the top bunk because of his crutches and
asked Berkley to contact Rabideau to see if he could be moved
to a different cell. (Dkt. No. 92, Add’l Facts, ¶
10; Dkt. No. 105, ¶ 10). Berkley testified that he did
not have the authority to move inmates to cells to which they
are not assigned, though he may place an inmate in a holding
area until he is able to “figure something out”
if an issue comes up during a move. (Dkt. No. 84, ¶ 31;
Dkt. No. 92, ¶ 31; Dkt. No. 87, Ex. D at 14). Berkley
claims he offered Buford a cell with a low bunk in Gallery 4,
that Buford refused because he did not want to go up the
stairs, and ...