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Figueroa v. Mason

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

September 29, 2016



          HON. JORGE L. ALONSO United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jonathan Figueroa sues defendants, Corrections Officer Mason, Cook County, and Sheriff Tom Dart, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for claims arising out of his medical care during his pretrial detention in the Cook County Jail (“the Jail”). He alleges that Officer Mason was deliberately indifferent to his objectively serious medical condition, a MRSA infection. Defendant has moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the Court grants the motion.


         On September 25, 2014, while detained in Division 9 of the Jail, plaintiff felt ill and noticed a pain on the left side of his neck. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Resp. ¶ 7, ECF No. 49.)[1] On the morning of September 27, 2016, plaintiff's neck swelled up, and at some time between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., plaintiff told defendant Kenneth Mason, a correctional officer who was working on plaintiff's tier that day, that he needed medical attention. (Id. ¶ 15; Pl.'s LR 56.1 (b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 2, ECF NO. 49.) Mason observed a red bump on plantiff's neck, which was oozing liquid. (Defs.' Resp. to Pl's LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 3-4.)

         At approximately 9 a.m., when he believed someone would be on duty at the Division 9 dispensary, Mason contacted the medical staff to see what could be done for plaintiff. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Resp. ¶ 19.) He informed them that plaintiff had a growth or a large red bump on the left side of his neck, he was in severe pain, and the problem had been going on for at least three days. (Id.) The medical staff informed Mason that this was not an emergency and he should direct plaintiff to fill out a medical request form for the nurse to pick up when she stopped by the tier to dispense medication. (Id. ¶ 20.)[2] Mason provided plaintiff with a medical request form and told him that when the nurse came to the tier, he would have her examine plaintiff's neck. (Id. ¶¶ 21-23.) Further, he told plaintiff that if she did not enter the tier but merely dropped off medication in the interlock area, he would let plaintiff out of his cell to see her. (Id. ¶ 24.)

         At some point on September 27, plaintiff saw a nurse, but the parties dispute when, where and how.

         Mason testified at his deposition that the nurse came to the tier at approximately 1:30 p.m. to dispense medication and, as he had offered to do, Mason brought plaintiff out of his cell to see her while she was there. According to Mason, plaintiff and the nurse spoke for a few moments-Mason's understanding was that the nurse told plaintiff he had already been seen for this complaint-and then Mason took plaintiff back to his cell, where he remained until Mason left at the end of his shift at 3 p.m. (Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. C, at 42:4-17, 58:8-66:2, ECF No. 44-3.)

         Plaintiff testified that he did not see the nurse when she came to the tier to dispense medication, and he received no medical attention by the end of the dayroom period at 6:30 p.m. At that point, the inmates were all to “lock up” for the night, but plaintiff refused to return to his cell until he received medical attention. Mason berated him, called him a liar, and announced to all the inmates on the tier that they would lose dayroom privileges because of plaintiff's disobedience. Plaintiff still refused to return to his cell, and he was placed in the interlock area, where he had to wait a couple of hours for Mason to escort him to the dispensary. (Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. B, at 58:13-65:7, ECF No. 44-2.) Later that night, a nurse did give plaintiff a dose of Motrin, but he received no other medical attention until September 29, when he was diagnosed with MRSA and received antibiotics. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 18-24.)

         Plaintiff filed a number of grievances arising out of the medical care he received for his MRSA infection (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 21-28), including a timely grievance against Mason, which was given the control number 2014x5870 (Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 37-39, ECF No. 44). Plaintiff generally received prompt responses to his grievances. (See Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 21-28.) He filed his initial complaint in this matter on November 17, 2014, before he received any response to grievance 2014x5870. (ECF No. 1.) He later received a response to the grievance on December 7, 2014, and he appealed the decision. (Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 40.)


         “The Court shall grant summary judgment 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); Wackett v. City of Beaver Dam, 642 F.3d 578, 581 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court may not weigh conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations, but the party opposing summary judgment must point to competent evidence that would be admissible at trial to demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact. Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Grp., Inc., 629 F.3d 697, 705 (7th Cir. 2011); Gunville v. Walker, 583 F.3d 979, 985 (7th Cir. 2009). A genuine dispute is one that could change the outcome of the suit, and is supported by evidence sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to return a favorable verdict for the non-moving party. Spivey v. Adaptive Mktg. LLC, 622 F.3d 816, 822 (7th Cir. 2010).

         Defendants contend that they are entitled to summary judgment because (1) plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies, and (2) Mason did not act with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.

         Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

         Defendants argue that plaintiff failed to exhaust his claims through the Jail grievance process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) instructs that “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined to any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); see also Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 84 (2006); Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 808 (7th Cir. 2006). A pretrial detainee is required to utilize a jail grievance system before filing a ยง 1983 claim to make jail officials aware of alleged ongoing problems and to give ...

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