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Gevas v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

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

December 20, 2016

DAVID GEVAS, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC.; T. UTKE; DR. PATTERSON; DR. CARTER; H. MOSS; R. BROWN-REED; E. MARTIN; D. EDWARDS; DR. GHOSH; M. HARDY; C. FASANO; A. MATUZAS; R. BEATTIE; L. WILLIAMS; DR. SCHAEFER; DR. FUNK; S.A. GODINEZ, not individually, but in his capacity as Director of the ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; and BOSWELL PHARMACY SERVICES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John Z. Lee United States District Judge

         Plaintiff David Gevas (“Gevas”), an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, sued Wexford Health Sources, Inc., and various Wexford employees (“Wexford Defendants”), as well as various state employees, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Gevas alleges deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. On March 29, 2016, this Court granted in part and denied in part the Wexford Defendants' motion for summary judgment [398]. The Wexford Defendants now move the Court to reconsider those portions of its motion for summary judgment that the Court denied [402]. For the reasons that follow, the Wexford Defendants' motion for reconsideration is denied.

         Background

         Gevas's complaint raises three counts against some or all of the Wexford Defendants. In Count I, Gevas alleges that Dr. Patterson and Tiffany Utke, a Wexford nurse, were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs by failing to provide suitable contact lenses in a timely manner. Compl. ¶¶ 22-52, ECF No. 63. Dr. Patterson has been dismissed from the case pursuant to a settlement. Minute Order 6/9/14, ECF No. 290. The Wexford Defendants moved for summary judgment on Gevas's claims as against Nurse Utke, arguing in part that Gevas failed to show Utke was personally liable for failing to provide for his ocular needs. Defs.' Mem. Supp. Summ. J. 11, ECF No. 333. The Court agreed, finding no evidence from which a jury could conclude that Utke was responsible for depriving Utke of appropriate treatment. Mem. Op. & Order 6, ECF No. 398. The Court therefore granted the Wexford Defendants' motion as to Count I.

         In Count II, Gevas claims that Wexford and various Wexford employees-Dr. Imhotep Carter, Dr. Parthasarathi Ghosh, Dr. Ronald Schaefer, Dr. Arthur Funk, and physician's assistant LaTanya Williams-along with various state employees, were responsible for gaps occurring in his prescription for Tramadol, a pain medication. Compl. ¶¶ 53-75. The Wexford Defendants moved for summary judgment as to this count, arguing in part that there was no evidence from which a jury could infer personal involvement on the part of the named Wexford employees. Defs.' Mem. Supp. Summ. J. 13-14. The Court denied the Wexford Defendants' motion as to Count II, citing a missed appointment with Dr. Ghosh as one example of evidence from which a jury could conclude that the Wexford Defendants were responsible for gaps in Gevas's Tramadol prescription, and thus deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Mem. Op. & Order 7.

         Finally, in Count III, Gevas asserts that Wexford and three of its employees-Drs. Carter and Ghosh and Nurse Heidi Moss-along with various state employees, failed to keep a sufficient supply of other medications in stock, resulting in Gevas missing dosages of certain prescriptions. Compl. ¶¶ 76-97. Again, the Wexford Defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis that the named Wexford employees could not be found personally responsible. Defs.' Mem. Supp. Summ. J. 16-17. The Court disagreed, explaining that Drs. Ghosh and Carter, as medical directors at Stateville, and Nurse Moss, as supervising nurse, were in positions of responsibility such that a reasonable jury could find each knew of Gevas's unmet medication needs and could have taken corrective action. Mem. Op. & Order 9-10.

         The Wexford Defendants also moved for summary judgment on the claims against Wexford itself, arguing that Gevas had failed to provide evidence from which a reasonably jury could find a policy, custom, or practice necessary to impose liability under Monell v. Department of Social Services of New York, 436 U.S. 658, (1978). Defs.' Mem. Supp. Summ. J. 18-19. The Court denied the motion as to Wexford, noting that the Wexford Defendants had admitted that Gevas did not receive the medications he was prescribed at certain times, and finding that “a reasonable jury could find an unconstitutional custom from the various times he did not receive his medication because it was out of stock.” Mem. Op. & Order 13.

         Legal Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Procedure 54(b), “any order . . . that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). But while motions to reconsider under Rule 54(b) are permitted, “they are disfavored.” Patrick v. City of Chi., 103 F.Supp.3d 907, 911 (N.D. Ill. 2015). They serve a very limited purpose: correcting manifest errors of law or fact and presenting newly discovered evidence. Id. (citations omitted). This is a heavy burden for the moving party and makes a motion for reconsideration an inappropriate medium to “rehash” past arguments, id. (citations omitted), or revisit improvident strategic decisions made earlier. Birdo v. Dave Gomez, 2016 WL 6070173, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 17, 2016) (citation omitted). Motions for reconsideration will be granted only where “the Court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension.” Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990). Given these exacting standards, “issues appropriate for reconsideration ‘rarely arise and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare.'” Burrell v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., No. 14 C 5127, 2016 WL 4720024, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 8, 2016) (quoting Bank of Waunakee, 906 F.2d at 1191).

         Analysis

         The Wexford Defendants have moved the Court to reconsider its previous ruling on two grounds. First, they contend that the Court failed to adequately address their argument that, as to Counts II and III, Gevas failed to produce evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer that the individual Wexford Defendants were personally responsible for deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Second, regarding Wexford itself, they assert that the Court did not sufficiently explain why a reasonable jury could find a policy, custom, or practice necessary for liability under § 1983. The Court will address each of these arguments in turn.

         I. Individual Wexford Defendants' Personal Involvement

         The Wexford Defendants present two bases on which they seek reconsideration of the Court's denial of their summary judgment motion as to the individual defendants' personal involvement. First, they state that the Court's opinion “does not appear to address the personal involvement standard” with regard to Count II, Defs.' Mot. Recons. Summ. J. 6, ECF No. 402, and make a similar argument as to Count III. Id. at 10.

         But this argument misconstrues the Court's opinion. In discussing Count II, the Court offered, as an “example, ” a description of one of the gaps in treatment that are the basis of Gevas's claim in Count II. Mem. Op. & Order 7. The Court stated that Gevas was scheduled to see Dr. Ghosh, but his appointment was cancelled, resulting in a gap in his prescription. Id. This is an explicit ...


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