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.

Owens v. Duncan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 12, 2017

JAMES OWENS, Inmate No. K83253, Plaintiff,



         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff James Owens, acting pro se, brought the present action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges violations of his constitutional rights based on the actions of prison staff and medical personnel at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) where he is currently incarcerated. This matter is before the Court on two Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants (Docs. 72; 78). Plaintiff filed responses to each motion, and the motions are ripe for disposition (Docs. 77, 85). For the reasons articulated below, the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Dana Hall [1]and Phillippe (Doc. 72) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and the Motion filed by Defendants Stephen Duncan, Roxanne McDonald, Chad Ray, and Tobey Rice (Doc. 78) is also GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. The case will be allowed to proceed beyond summary judgment as to Defendant Phillipe, and as to Defendant Duncan for injunctive relief.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs summary judgment motions. The rule states that summary judgment is appropriate only if the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Doe, 743 F.3d 1101, 1105 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating - based on the pleadings, affidavits and/or information obtained via discovery - the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact remains “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Accord Bunn v. Khoury Enterpr. Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681 (7th Cir. 2014).

         In assessing a summary judgment motion, the district court views the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir. 2012); Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011). As the Seventh Circuit has explained, as required by Rule 56(a), “we set forth the facts by examining the evidence in the light reasonably most favorable to the non-moving party, giving [him] the benefit of reasonable, favorable inferences and resolving conflicts in the evidence in [his] favor.” Spaine v. Cmty Contacts, Inc., 756 F.3d 542, 544 (7th Cir. 2014).

         III. Factual Background

         On January 20, 2014, Plaintiff entered the mess hall at Lawrence for lunch sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. (Doc. 73-1, p. 16, 31; Doc. 85, p. 2). While sitting at a table after eating, Plaintiff suffered an injury to his left leg relating to his sciatica. (Doc. 73-1, p. 31; Doc. 85, p. 2). Plaintiff was in pain and could not stand up due to the injury. (Doc. 73-1, p. 13 - 14). At that time, the other inmates at Plaintiff's table informed Plaintiff's wing officer, who then retrieved another correctional officer. (Id. at 17.). The correctional officer was informed at roughly 10:50 a.m. (Doc. 85, p. 2). The officer went over to Plaintiff's table, and told Plaintiff to get up to go to his wing. (Doc. 73-1, p. 17). When Plaintiff stated that he could not get up, the correctional officer threatened to spray him with mace, to which Plaintiff responded by reiterating his inability to move from the table. (Id.). At that point, by 11:00 a.m., Defendant Ray, a lieutenant, came over to Plaintiff's table and was informed of Plaintiff's injury. (Id. at 17, 31). Defendant Ray summoned a second wing officer, and that wing officer and the correctional officer lifted Plaintiff up from under his arms and carried him to an empty table by the door. (Id. at 17, 18). According to Plaintiff, at roughly the same time, Defendant Ray radioed the healthcare unit for assistance.[2] (Doc. 85, p. 2). Plaintiff did not exhibit symptoms such as shortness of breath or bleeding. (Id. at 2).

         Roughly 30 minutes later, [3] Defendant Hall arrived from the healthcare unit with a wheelchair. (Doc. 77, p. 6; Doc. 73-1, p. 32; Doc. 85, p. 2). Defendant Hall does not recall at what time the call to healthcare was received, but she does know the call was not made as an emergency. (Doc. 73-3, p. 1). While medical records indicate that Defendant Hall took Plaintiff's vitals at roughly 11:20 a.m., (Doc. 73-2, p. 1), Plaintiff testified that he is certain it was after 11:30 a.m. before Defendant Hall arrived because at least two lines of inmates ate after his unit, which left at 11:00 a.m., and it would have taken roughly 10 to 15 minutes for each line to eat (Doc. 73-1, p. 32).

         When Defendant Hall arrived, Plaintiff transferred himself from the table to the wheelchair without standing since no one offered him assistance. (Id. at 20). Plaintiff claims that it was extremely difficult and painful, but he was able to get himself into the wheelchair. (Id. at 21, 34). He testified it was obvious that he was in a lot of pain. (Id. at 21). Defendant Hall then wheeled Plaintiff to the healthcare unit waiting room, where, upon instruction, Plaintiff slid off the wheelchair onto a bench. (Id. at 20). Sometime later, Defendant Hall returned to the waiting room and made Plaintiff walk 16 to 18 feet to the medical lab for a blood draw. (Id.). Plaintiff claims that he had to wait in the waiting room a long time before being taken to the lab. He first testified that he had “no idea” on the exact time she retrieved him from the waiting room, but that it “seemed like forever.” (Id. at 20). In his response to Defendant Hall's motion, relying on a medical record, Plaintiff now states that he waited in the waiting room for an hour and a half. (Doc. 77, p. 6). Defendant Hall disputes this timeline, stating that Plaintiff's vitals were taken at 11:20 a.m. and medication for him was ordered by 11:50 a.m. (Doc. 79-3, p. 2).

         Plaintiff believes that walking from the waiting room to the lab exacerbated his injury, but he has no evidence to support this belief, such as the advice or opinion of a medical professional. (Id. at 34). In the lab, Defendant Hall took Plaintiff's vitals and wheeled him into the infirmary. After that brief interaction, Plaintiff did not Defendant Hall again. Plaintiff was placed in a bed, given a muscle relaxer and a Vicodin, and was seen by a doctor the next morning. (Id. at 21).

         A few days later, on January 23, 2014, when Plaintiff was returning to his cell from a meal, he informed Defendant McDonald that he was suffering from pain in his leg. (Doc. 73-1, p. 21; Doc. 85, p. 2 - 3). Defendant McDonald was in the housing wing control room known as the “bubble”. (Doc. 73-1, p. 22). Plaintiff informed her that he needed emergency care and asked her to contact the cell house lieutenant since he was the person who could get Plaintiff to the healthcare unit on an emergency basis. Doc. 85, p. 2 - 3). Defendant McDonald, however, merely shrugged her shoulders and refused to call for the lieutenant. (Doc. 73-1, p. 22; Doc. 85, p. 3). Plaintiff was on a pain medication at this time already; however, the pain medication was not working. (Doc. 73-1, p. 24). When he was later seen by a doctor for his pain, Plaintiff was not given new pain medication. (Id.). Additionally, he had been told by Doctor Coe on January 22, 2014, that the doctor was ordering a cane for him; however, Plaintiff had not received it when he saw Defendant McDonald. (Id.). A medical permit provided by Plaintiff indicates that Dr. Coe ordered a cane on March 10, 2014. (Doc. 85-1, p. 36). Plaintiff did not receive the cane until May or June of the same year. (Doc. 73-1, p. 24). He believes that if Defendant McDonald contacted the lieutenant he would have received his cane sooner and would have been given pain medication. (Id.).

         In addition, Plaintiff claims that on the January 22, 2014 visit with Dr. Coe, the doctor informed him that he would order Plaintiff a second foam mattress to help with his sciatic pain. (Id. at 28, 30). By the time of his next visit with Dr. Coe, however, Plaintiff had not received the mattress, and Dr. Coe informed him that Plaintiff would have to request a mattress from the clothing room or security staff because the doctor could not order it. (Id. at 28.). Plaintiff admits, however, that he has not seen any indication in his medical records of Dr. Coe's intent to order a second mattress. (Id.).

         Plaintiff spoke with a housing unit lieutenant regarding requesting a second mattress and was instructed that he should contact the clothing room supervisor. (Id.). Plaintiff sent multiple written requests to the supervisor over a couple of weeks. (Id. at 28 - 29). The requests indicated that Dr. Coe had informed Plaintiff he was ordering Plaintiff a mattress, but that Plaintiff had to go through the supervisor to receive it. (Id. at 28). Plaintiff also submitted multiple grievances regarding obtaining a second mattress, both on an emergency basis and in the regular manner. (Id. at 29). Though Plaintiff submitted his request in the typical manner, and had received responses to prior requests, Plaintiff received no response from the clothing room supervisor, Defendant Rice, regarding the foam mattress. (Id.). In October 2014, Counselor Tony Kittle responded to one of Plaintiff's grievances about a second foam mattress. (Doc. 85-1, p. 10 - 11, 14). Kittle's response included a response from Dr. Coe that merely instructed Plaintiff to participate in nurse sick call if he had a problem. (Id. at 14, 15). Plaintiff has yet to receive a second foam mattress. (Id. at 30).

         On May 6, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by a nurse in sick call for a possible fungal infection. (Doc. 73-1, p. 5; Doc. 73-2, p. 5). At the visit, Plaintiff told the nurse that the cream he had been given was not working. (Doc. 73-1, p. 5; Doc. 73-2, p. 5). The following day, May 7th, Plaintiff was in the law library when he pulled a muscle in his back, causing him pain. (Doc. 73-1, p. 5). On the same day, Plaintiff received a call pass for another sick call visit for the next day, May 8th. (Id. at 6). Plaintiff did not know the purpose of this sick call visit until he arrived. (Id.).

         Plaintiff saw Defendant Phillippe during the May 8, 2014 sick call. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff claims that, during the visit, he informed Defendant Phillippe of his back pain, and noted that it was “extreme pain.” (Id.). According to Plaintiff, Defendant Phillipe refused to treat him for his back pain, stating that he had been brought to sick call for treatment for his fungal infection. (Id.).

         For her part, Defendant Phillippe states that she does not recall Plaintiff informing her on this visit that he injured his back. (Doc. 73-4, p. 2). According to her, if Plaintiff had told her he injured his back the previous day, she would have performed an assessment. (Id. at 2 - 3). In an instance where an inmate brings up medical issues that are in addition to the issue or issues for which she is scheduled to evaluate him, Defendant Phillippe will evaluate the inmate, and will address the additional issue only if it is an urgent or emergent need. (Id. at 2). Otherwise, she instructs the inmate that the proper procedure is to make a new request to first be seen in nurse sick call. (Id.). Defendant Phillippe claims that Plaintiff did not exhibit signs or symptoms indicating an urgent or emergent problem with his back during the May 8, 2014 visit. (Id. at 3).

         Plaintiff sought follow-up care for his back injury, and medical records reflect that he was seen on May 13, 2014 to address the injury (Doc. 77, p. 23). At that time he was prescribed medication for the injury (Id.). Further, Plaintiff was seen on three or more ...

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.