Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Williams v. Godinez

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

September 16, 2016

FREDDIE LEE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
S.A. GODINEZ, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JORGE L. ALONSO United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, Freddie Lee Williams, an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), brought this action against Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), certain Wexford employees, and certain IDOC employees. Plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights and are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failing to provide adequate medical care for his stomach pain and painful subcutaneous nodules. Defendants have moved, in two separate motions, for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons explained below, the IDOC defendants' motion is granted, and the Wexford defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In his response to the IDOC defendants' motion, plaintiff advises the Court that he does not oppose the entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants Salvador Godinez, Marcus Hardy, Michael Lemke, Edmund Butkiewicz, Cynthia Harris, Landria Dennis, Royce Brown-Reed, and Karen Rabideau. (ECF No. 113, Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n IDOC Defs.' Mot. at 2.) In his response to the Wexford defendants' motion, plaintiff advises the Court that he does not oppose the entry of summary judgment in favor of LaTanya Williams, Dr. Anton Dubrick, and Dr. Imhotep Carter. (ECF No. 117, Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n Wexford Defs.' Mot. at 2 n.2.) Accordingly, the Court will enter summary judgment in favor of these eleven defendants and against plaintiff. The remaining defendants are Anna McBee (an IDOC defendant), Dr. Saleh Obaisi (a Wexford defendant), and Wexford. The Court will refer to Obaisi and Wexford collectively as “Wexford” where appropriate.

         UNDISPUTED FACTS[1]

         At the times relevant to this suit, plaintiff was an inmate at IDOC's Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), and defendant McBee was employed as a counselor in Stateville's Grievance Office. (ECF No. 114, Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶¶ 1, 8.) McBee has no medical training. (ECF No. 99-3, Dep. of Anna McBee at 30.) Defendant Dr. Obaisi has been employed by Wexford as Stateville's medical director since August 2, 2012. (ECF No. 118, Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 9.)[2]

         Plaintiff has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features. (Id. ¶ 3.) Since 2011, he has seen a psychiatrist or psychologist each month for a mental-health examination. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff's medication requires regular blood tests, so he receives a blood test every six months. (Id. ¶ 21; Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, for which he is seen quarterly in the hypertension clinic. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 4.) At all relevant times, plaintiff knew how to request medical care at Stateville and how the grievance process operated. (Id. ¶ 2.)

         On October 13, 2011, plaintiff noticed stomach pain and complained to a correctional medical technician about it as well as lumps that had developed on his body; the technician examined plaintiff, documented his complaints of “hunger pains” and gas, and provided antacids. (Id. ¶¶ 38-40; ECF No. 124, McBee's Resp. to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 4.) On November 2, 2011, plaintiff complained of an upset stomach to another correctional medical technician, who referred plaintiff to the nursing sick call. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶¶ 42, 44.)

         On November 3, 2011, plaintiff filed a grievance (the “First Grievance”) complaining about stomach pains and lumps (to which the parties also refer as “subcutaneous nodules” and “lipomas”) forming on his body. (ECF No. 115-3, Grp. Ex. B to Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams.) A counselor responded on November 8, 2011 that the grievance had been forwarded to the Stateville healthcare unit for review and response. (Id.)

         On November 19, 2011, a nurse saw plaintiff for his complaints of heartburn and bumps that had formed on his elbow and groin. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 17; Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 45.) The nurse noted that plaintiff complained about experiencing heartburn after consuming “non-commissary foods” and that she educated him about foods that would reduce acid production. (ECF No. 105-3, Grp. Ex. C to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt.) The nurse also noted that plaintiff made no complaints of pain, and she referred him to the doctor's sick call. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶¶ 45-46.)

         On December 1, 2011, a doctor saw plaintiff, who complained about the nodules growing on his mouth, upper arm, chest, thigh, and groin. (McBee's Resp. to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 6.) The doctor performed a physical examination of plaintiff, noted that the nodules were likely benign lipomas, and ordered a chest x-ray and blood tests. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 19; Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 47; McBee's Resp. to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 6.) The x-ray was normal, and there were no enlarged lymph nodes in plaintiff's chest. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 48.) At the end of December 2011, plaintiff's blood was drawn. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 20.) The blood tests were normal except for one finding, about which neither side makes any substantive argument. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 49.)

         On February 28, 2012, a doctor in the healthcare unit saw plaintiff, who complained of dizziness. (Id. ¶ 51; Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff was concerned that his roommate had poisoned him. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 51.) At that time, he did not complain about his lumps or stomach pain. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 23.) The doctor noted only that plaintiff's blood pressure was high and that plaintiff should return for blood-pressure checks weekly for three weeks. Plaintiff returned for those checks on March 6, 20, and 27, 2012. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 51.)

         On April 9, 2012, plaintiff had his blood drawn and was found to have high cholesterol. (Id. ¶ 52.) He was retested on April 26, 2012 with the same result. (Id. ¶ 53.) On May 18, 2012, a physician's assistant, LaTanya Williams (“PA Williams”), requested an appointment for plaintiff due to his high cholesterol. (Id. ¶ 54.) (It is unclear what, if anything, became of this request.)

         On July 24, 2012, plaintiff submitted a grievance (the “Second Grievance”) in which he complained that he was still suffering from stomach pain and pain associated with the nodules and that Stateville had failed to address his November 2011 grievance. He also stated that the lumps were “continu[al]ly forming” and that the stomach pains seemed “to be from the soy meat which inmates receive about 4 to 5 days a week.” (Grp. Ex. B to Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams.) A counselor responded on July 31, 2012, stating that after the November 2011 grievance was filed, plaintiff had been seen by a nurse in November and a doctor in December. (Id.)

         On August 7, 2012, plaintiff's mental-health physician noted that plaintiff had reported either an increase in the size or number of his lumps and complained that he had not been seen for follow-up treatment. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 55; Grp. Ex. C to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt.)

         On August 12, 2012, plaintiff submitted a third grievance (the “Third Grievance”), in which he asserted that although he had been seen in December 2011 after having filed the First Grievance, he got no responses to sick call slips he had submitted in March and April 2012, and he was still experiencing pain from a lump on his arm, as well as sleeplessness. (Grp. Ex. B to Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams.) A counselor responded that the grievance had been forwarded to the healthcare unit for review and response. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 28; Grp. Ex. B to Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams.)

         On August 28, 2012, McBee issued a Grievance Officer's Report (“Report”) denying plaintiff's First Grievance on the ground that plaintiff had been seen by a nurse in November 2011 and by a doctor in December 2011, and she recommended “[n]o action[, ] as grievant received medical care.” (ECF No. 115-7, Ex. 5 to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.) McBee did not talk to plaintiff about the claims he made in the First Grievance and relied solely on the response she received from the healthcare unit. (McBee's Resp. to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 26.)

         On January 22, 2013, plaintiff requested to be seen by medical staff for treatment of his lumps. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 29.) About ten days later, plaintiff was seen by a medical technician and referred to PA Williams. (Id. ¶ 30.) On February 15, 2013, PA Williams saw plaintiff and evaluated him for complaints of pain and numbness in his arm and elbow. (Id. ¶ 31; ECF No. 99-2, Pl.'s Dep. at 69.) PA Williams conducted a physical examination of plaintiff, which revealed bilateral tenderness to his elbows with no deformity, no swelling, and good strength. (Pl.'s Resp. to Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 57.) She diagnosed tendinitis and prescribed Tylenol, analgesic balm, and ice therapy. (Id.) PA Williams filled out a healthcare unit referral slip (which does not reflect to whom it was sent) stating that plaintiff was to receive one bag of ice twice a day for one month for his elbows. (ECF No. 115-6, Ex. 4 to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.)

         On March 24, 2013, plaintiff filed a fourth grievance (the “Fourth Grievance”), in which he stated that he had been seen by PA Williams for pain from a lump on his right elbow; she had stated that his “problem was due to tendinitis”; he had only received ice one time and had been informed that there was no permit for him to receive ice; there had been no follow-up care; and he was continuing to “suffer in pain.” (Grp. Ex. B to Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams.) Two days later, a counselor responded that the grievance had been forwarded to the healthcare unit for review and response. (Id.)

         On April 13, 2013, defendant McBee issued Reports denying plaintiff's Third and Fourth Grievances. In the Report denying the Third Grievance, McBee stated: “Grievance Officer finds that per Medical Records, grievant seen and treated by MD on 12/1/11. Blood work completed on 12/22/11. Medical Record does not reflect any requests for lumps since 8/2012.” (ECF No. 115-8, Ex. 6 to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.) McBee believes that she did not speak with plaintiff about the Third Grievance and that she based her findings on what she was told by the healthcare unit. (McBee's Resp. to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 28.) In the Report denying the Fourth Grievance, McBee stated: “Grievance Officer finds that per Medical Records, grievant was seen and treated by PA Williams on 2/15/13 as stated in his grievance. There are no notes in chart by grievant indicating he is still having issues.” (ECF No. 115-9, Ex. 7 to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.) In both Reports, McBee recommended “[n]o action[, ] as grievant appears to be receiving appropriate medical care at this time.” (Id.; Ex. 6 to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.)

         In May 2013, plaintiff received a letter from IDOC Medical Director Dr. Louis Shicker stating that there were no records of any medical requests received by the healthcare unit for plaintiff since February 2013. (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 40.) Plaintiff asserts that he did make such requests in sick call slips. (ECF Nos. 115-1 & 115-2, Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams ¶ 12 & Ex. A.)

         On June 7, 2013, plaintiff filed a fifth grievance (the “Fifth Grievance”) in which he reiterated that he had been complaining about his lumps since late 2011, referred to his prior grievances, complained that his nodules had increased in size and number, and asked for a referral to a specialist as well as for imaging tests. (Grp. Ex. B to Aff. of Freddie Lee Williams.) On June 12, 2013, a counselor responded that the grievance had been forwarded to the healthcare unit for review and response. (Id.)

         On August 12, 2013, plaintiff was seen by medical staff on sick call in connection with his subcutaneous nodules, and he was referred to “MD sick call.” (Pl.'s Resp. to IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 38; McBee's Resp. to Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 10.) The nurse noted that plaintiff had nodules on his right and left upper arms, groin, and lower back and that some were sensitive to touch. (McBee's Resp. to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.