United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by Defendant Aimee Lang (Doc. 50). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court grants the motion.
Heriberto Alvarez, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his
constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated
at Menard Correctional Center. In particular, Alvarez alleges
that Defendant Aimee Lang, a licensed practical nurse,
refused to provide him either a referral to a physician or
pain medication on December 29, 2013, in response to his
complaints about severe shoulder pain. Following an initial
screening of Alvarez's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, Alvarez was allowed to proceed on one count of
deliberate indifference against Defendant Lang.
February 16, 2016, Defendant Lang filed a motion for summary
judgment asserting she is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law on Alvarez's deliberate indifference claim (Doc. 50).
On February 29, 2016, Alvarez timely filed his response (Doc.
evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to Alvarez,
establishes that sometime in 2011 or 2012, Alvarez dislocated
his shoulder while playing soccer (Plaintiff's
Deposition, Doc. 51-4, pp. 23, 43). Although Alvarez saw a
doctor who realigned his shoulder immediately following this
injury and put his arm in a brace, Alvarez has continued to
suffer residual pain and stiffness, despite continuing to see
various medical personnel on multiple occasions (Id.
at pp. 24, 44).
December 29, 2013, Alvarez put in a sick call request, and
Defendant Lang, a licensed practical nurse, came to his cell
(Doc. 51-4, pp. 14, 21; Affidavit of Aimee Lang, Doc. 51-1,
¶ 2). Alvarez asked for stronger pain medication and a
referral to a physician for his shoulder pain (Doc. 51-4, p.
21, 45). Alvarez explains that he was previously on a
different medication that helped his shoulder pain, but he
had to stop taking it because it interfered with his other
medications (Doc. 51-4, p. 21, 23-25). Alvarez's request
for medical assistance was denied as Defendant Lang stated
she was “sick and tired” of seeing Alvarez for
his shoulder pain (Doc. 51-4, p. 14; Affidavit of Heriberto
Alvarez, Doc. 54-1, ¶ 8). Defendant Lang then instructed
Alvarez to sign a medical services refusal form, indicating
that if he did not sign it he would be taken to the
“hole” (i.e. segregation) (Doc. 51-4, p.
14; see Doc. 51-3). Defendant Lang did not explain
the form to Alvarez before he signed it (Doc. 51-4, p. 20).
Alvarez testified at his deposition that Defendant Lang
offered to provide him Ibuprofen during this encounter (but
that Alvarez refused, indicating that he needed something
stronger and he already had Ibuprofen in his cell),
Alvarez's response to Defendant Lang's motion for
summary judgment provides a different rendition of this
encounter (Doc. 51-4, pp. 45-46; see Doc. 54, ¶
12). Specifically, Alvarez asserts that he did not understand
what was asked during the deposition, and he avers that he
did not have any Ibuprofen in his cell as of December 29,
2013 (see Doc. 54, ¶ 8). Alvarez confirms,
however, that he was prescribed Ibuprofen on December 12,
2013, receiving twenty-four, 200 milligram tablets (Doc. 54,
¶ 12; see Doc. 51-2, p. 6). Approximately two
months after this encounter with Defendant Lang, Alvarez
received additional pain medication (Doc. 51-4, pp. 39-40;
see Doc. 54-1, p. 41).
judgment is proper only if the moving party can demonstrate
“that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); See also:
Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions,
Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005); Black
Agents & Brokers Agency, Inc., v. Near North Ins.
Brokerage, Inc., 409 F.3d 833, 836 (7th Cir. 2005). The
moving party bears the burden of establishing that no
material facts are in genuine dispute; any doubt as to the
existence of a genuine issue must be resolved against the
moving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398
U.S. 144, 160 (1970); See also Lawrence v. Kenosha
Cnty., 391 F.3d 837, 841 (7th Cir. 2004). A moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the
non-moving party “has failed to make a sufficient
showing on an essential element of her case with respect to
which she has the burden of proof.” Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323. “[A] complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Id. The Seventh Circuit has stated that summary
judgment “is the put up or shut up moment in a lawsuit,
when a party must show what evidence it has that would
convince a trier of fact to accept its version of
events.” Steen v. Myers et. al, 486 F.3d 1017,
1022 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Hammel v. Eau Galle Cheese
Factory, 407 F.3d 852, 859 (7th Cir. 2005) (other
Amendment Deliberate Indifference
Supreme Court has recognized that “deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners” may
constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth
Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976). In order to prevail on such a claim, Alvarez must
show first that his condition was “objectively,
sufficiently serious” and second, that the
“prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable