Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Allen v. Asselmeier

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 23, 2016




         This matter is currently before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Craig Asselmeier on December 7, 2016 (Doc. 61) and the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Kimberly Butler on December 7, 2016 (Doc. 64).


         Plaintiff Roderick Allen, an inmate incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, filed this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 27, 2015, alleging he was denied effective medical care for a dental infection (Doc. 1). More specifically, Allen claims that since January 2015, Dr. Asselmeier refused to adequately treat pain and swelling in his jaw and failed to prescribe effective antibiotics for an infection. Allen alleges that Dr. Asselmeier has only recommended that his problematic teeth be extracted. Following a threshold review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Allen was permitted to proceed on one count of deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment against Craig J. Asselmeier, a dentist at Menard (Doc. 4). Kimberly Butler, the warden at Menard, was added as a Defendant in her official capacity only for the purposes of injunctive relief (Doc. 4).

         Allen requested to proceed in this matter in forma pauperis (“IFP”) (Doc. 7). Because Allen has accumulated three “strikes” for previously filing frivolous lawsuits in federal court, he could not proceed IFP unless he was in imminent danger of serious physical injury (Doc. 4). 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The Court was skeptical of Allen's purported dental infection because Allen has made similar allegations in at least four previous cases, all of which were dismissed as frivolous (Doc. 4).[1] Allen apparently believes that his sister is paying Menard officials to harm or kill him to keep him from receiving his share of the inheritance from their father (Doc. 4). To that end, Plaintiff has accused prison dentists of cultivating and implanting bacteria in his mouth during a tooth extraction in order to poison him and of allowing his infection to progress uninhibited (Doc. 4). Nevertheless, the Court chose to give Allen the benefit of the doubt and “rather than summarily dismissing this action as a frivolous extension of all those other similar claims that have been dismissed as frivolous, the Court [accepted] for now that Plaintiff is suffering from a dental infection that is serious enough to warrant continued dental treatment over the course of at least three years, without improvement and with progression to the jaw bone.” (Doc. 4). Based on the alleged pain and progression of the infection, and the purported lack of treatment, the Court found that the imminent danger standard was satisfied, and Allen was permitted to proceed IFP (Docs. 4, 8). Allen was warned, however, that if the Court later determined that his claim was frivolous, he would be banned from filing any civil rights cases in this Court (Doc. 4).

         Since filing the Complaint, Allen has sought various forms of preliminary injunctive relief related to his claim (Docs. 3, 14, 30, 76, 81, 82), all of which have been denied (Docs. 4, 73, 102). Warden Butler seeks to dismiss the complaint, arguing that if Allen's allegations were insufficient to warrant imposition of a preliminary injunction, then those allegations are also insufficient to establish that he was in imminent danger at the time he filed his complaint, and he should not have been permitted to proceed IFP (Docs. 64, 65).

         Dr. Asselmeier seeks summary judgment both on the merits of Allen's claim and on Allen's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing suit (Docs. 61, 62). Allen was granted until March 24, 2016, to file responses to the pending motions (Doc. 79), but he did not file his responses until May 11, 2016 (Docs. 100, 101). Despite being tardy, the Court will still consider Allen's responses.

         Factual Background

         For over seven years, Roderick Allen has had three broken and rotting teeth-numbers 19, 30, and 31 (see Doc. 62-1).[2] At least four dentists, on at least nine separate occasions between 2008 and 2014, have told Allen that the teeth need to be removed and counseled Allen on the consequences of leaving the teeth in his mouth (Doc. 62-1).[3] But Allen has steadfastly refused to have the teeth extracted (Doc. 62-1). At times, Allen also has refused other dental care, including examinations, a biopsy, and x-rays (Doc. 62-5 to 62-19). Instead, Allen wants to have his teeth treated with antibiotics, which he repeatedly and routinely requests (Doc. 62-1). Allen has been informed a number of times that antibiotics are not viable long-term treatment option for the pain he experiences in his rotten teeth (Doc. 62-1; Doc. 62-21). On occasion, however, antibiotics and pain relievers have been prescribed when there was an indication of infection in the rotten teeth or the roots of the teeth (Doc. 62-20; Doc. 62-21, p. 4).

         Allen also apparently believes that he has been suffering from gum disease for over seven years (Doc. 62-1; Doc. 62-21). No dentist has found any clinical evidence, however, that Allen has gum disease or any need for treatment with regard to his gums (Doc. 62-21, p. 2; see also Doc. 62-1, p. 1).

         Allen's interactions with Dr. Asselmeier appear to be no different than his interactions with previous dentists. When Allen first saw Dr. Asselmeier on January 9, 2015, he complained of pain in teeth 19, 30, and 31 (Doc. 62-21, p. 3; Doc. 62-1). After taking two periapical x-rays and noting extensive decay, Dr. Asselmeier advised Allen that the teeth “were not restorable” and needed to be extracted (Doc. 62-21, p. 3). Dr. Asselmeier prescribed Clindamycin to head-off a possible infection and ordered an additional x-ray (Id.) Allen refused the x-ray, however, and instead requested regular appointments to acquire antibiotics in order to “prevent reinfection of broken teeth” (Id.) Dr. Asselmeier next saw Allen on January 16th, at which time Allen once again refused additional x-rays and teeth extractions (Doc. 62-21, pp. 3-4).

         Dr. Asselmeier believes that antibiotics are not an appropriate treatment for Allen's pain in his rotten teeth (Doc. 62-21). Dr. Asselmeier explains that while “[t]he antibiotics may temporarily reduce pain as they eradicate any infection that has arisen in the rotted teeth, they are not a long term solution” (Id. at p. 4). He further explains that repeated antibiotic courses are not medically appropriate when there is no evidence of infection because it only serves to kill off beneficial bacteria in the body and promote antibiotic resistance (Id. at p. 5). Dr. Asselmeier believes that the appropriate treatment for Allen's pain is to have the rotten teeth extracted (Id. at p. 4-5).


         A. Dr. ...

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.