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Sercye v. Wexford Health Sources

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

September 20, 2016

WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, et al. Defendants.



         Plaintiff, presently incarcerated at Dixon Correctional Center, brought the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need for events that allegedly transpired during his incarceration at Logan Correctional Center. The matter comes before this Court for ruling on the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. (Docs. 112, 114). The motions are granted in part, and denied in part.


         Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). All facts must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in his favor. Ogden v. Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010). The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In order to be a “genuine” issue, there must be more than “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).


         Plaintiff was incarcerated at Logan Correctional Center (“Logan”) from September 14, 2011, until February 8, 2012. Defendants were employed at the facility in the following capacities: Defendant Weatherford was a nurse; Defendant Lercher Hopp was the Healthcare Unit Administrator.[1]

         Plaintiff was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1 on December 13, 2011, following an acute diabetic episode. Plaintiff had not been previously diagnosed with diabetes. According to Plaintiff, the symptoms he experienced (excessive thirst and urination, cramps, difficulty walking) began as early as December 1, 2011.

         During the relevant time period, inmates at Logan could request medical treatment at any time through the nurse sick call procedure by filling out a request form. Nurse sick call was held for each housing unit on one scheduled day per week. At some point between December 1, 2011 and his eventual diagnosis, Plaintiff was scheduled for dental sick call, but he did not go.

         Inmates could also attempt to get medical treatment by writing to Defendant Lercher Hopp directly. If, after receiving a letter from an inmate, Defendant Lercher Hopp believed that the conditions described warranted attention, she could (1) place the inmate on her call line, which is separate from nurse sick call; or (2) take the request to the nurse on duty and request that the inmate be summoned to the healthcare unit for examination. Lercher Hopp Dep. 48:2-17. Defendant Lercher Hopp testified that requests made via institutional mail usually arrive the next day. Id. 40:12-41:3. Plaintiff made at least two requests directly to Defendant Lercher Hopp.

         On December 8, 2011, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Defendant Lercher Hopp. (Doc. 118-3 at 1). In the letter, Plaintiff stated that his mouth is constantly dry, that he drank 12 bottles of water during a 35-minute visit with his wife, that he urinated 20 times in a two-to-three hour period, and that he feels tired, is constantly sweating, and has experienced weight loss. Defendant Lercher Hopp does not remember receiving this letter. Lercher Hopp Dep. 46:11-13.

         When he received no response to his first letter, Plaintiff wrote a second letter describing the same symptoms. (Doc. 118-3 at 2). Defendant Lercher Hopp identified handwritten notations, dated December 13, 2011, on the letter as her own. Defendant Lercher Hopp explained that the notations indicate that she would have given the letter to a nurse and requested that Plaintiff be called over to the healthcare unit. Lercher Hopp Dep. 51:5-52:24.

         At some point before he was diagnosed, Plaintiff encountered Defendant Weatherford in the healthcare unit for an annual tuberculosis (“TB”) test. Plaintiff testified that he attempted to convey the above-described symptoms to Defendant Weatherford along with a comment that he felt like he was dying. Pl.'s Dep. 62:14-15 (“I said look, Nurse, I'm dying….”). According to Plaintiff, Defendant Weatherford responded to his request for help by stating, “I don't give a fuck, sign up for sick call. I got to have them do this TB test, get out of my face.” Id. 50:5-6.

         Defendant Weatherford testified in her deposition that she does not remember this encounter. Weatherford Dep. 20:5-14. She also testified that if she noticed an inmate experiencing problems during administration of TB tests, she would help them or direct them to the nurse sick call area located on the other end of the building. Id. 21:6-10.

         Medical staff examined Plaintiff on December 13, 2011, when he was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1. Plaintiff testified he received this treatment when he flagged down a correctional sergeant in his ...

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