United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
BYRON E. ADAMS, Plaintiff,
RICHARD HARRINGTON, SAMUEL NWAOBASI, and BRADLEY J. STIRNAMAN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by Defendant Samuel Nwaobasi on May 16, 2016 (Doc. 101)
and a Motion to Strike Reply filed by Plaintiff Byron E.
Adams on October 21, 2016 (Doc. 120). For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment is granted, and
the Motion to Strike is denied.
matter is proceeding on a second amended complaint filed by
Plaintiff, Byron Adams, on October 6, 2014 (Doc. 34). Adams
is an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections who
was formerly incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in
2013 and 2014. He alleges that the floor of his cell at
Menard was so hot that it caused second degree burns on his
feet. Adams is particularly susceptible to such burns because
he has diabetes and suffers from diabetic neuropathy in his
feet. As a result of the burns, Adams's big toe was
is proceeding on Count 1 for deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs against both Richard Harrington, the
former warden at Menard, and Samuel Nwaobasi, a physician at
Menard. Adams alleges that Warden Harrington was both aware
of his medical condition and the condition of his cell but
did nothing to alleviate his health concerns or living
conditions, and Dr. Nwaobasi was deliberately indifferent to
his medical condition. Adams also is proceeding on Count 2, a
claim for excessive force against Bradley Stirnaman, a
correctional officer at Menard. Adams alleges that C/O
Stirnaman harassed, battered, and assaulted him while he was
housed in the healthcare unit.
Nwaobasi filed his motion for summary judgment as to Count 1
on May 16, 2016 (Doc. 101). The motion was then stayed while
Adams conducted expert discovery (Doc. 106). Dr. Nwaobasi
filed a supplementary memorandum on August 29, 2016 (Doc.
109). Adams filed a response in opposition to the motion for
summary judgment (Doc. 116), and Dr. Nwaobasi filed a reply
(Doc. 117). Adams then filed a motion to strike Dr.
Nwaobasi's reply brief (Doc. 120), to which Dr. Nwaobasi
filed a response (Doc. 121).
to Strike and Evidentiary Arguments
first objects pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(c)(2) on the basis that the evidentiary material attached
to Defendant Nwaobasi's motion is inadmissible (Doc.
120). In particular, Adams argues that his medical records
are inadmissible hearsay, because they have not been
authenticated, and that Defendant's expert report issued
by Dr. John S. Daniels is inadmissible because it also has
not been authenticated via an affidavit. Both the medical
records and expert report can be readily authenticated,
however, and would be admissible at trial. Medical records
are exceptions to the hearsay rule, see Federal Rule
of Evidence 803, and Adams has presented no Daubert
motion that would render Dr. Daniels's expert opinions
inadmissible. Accordingly, the Motion to Strike (Doc. 120) is
deciding Dr. Nwaobasi's motion for summary judgment, the
Court will consider Adams's medical records, Dr.
Daniels's expert report, and Dr. Marla S. Barkoff's
expert report (Plaintiff's expert) and give due weight to
each piece of evidence. The Court also will consider
Defendant Nwaobasi's reply brief; while the document
itself is fifteen pages, the argument section is only five
pages, and exceptional circumstances exist for the filing of
for Summary Judgment
undisputed that Adams has suffered from diabetes mellitus
since at least 2012 and from diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes is
a “chronic metabolic disorder . . . caused by an
absolute or relative deficiency of insulin and is
characterized, in more severe cases, by chronic
hyperglycemia, glycosuria, water and electrolyte loss,
ketoacidosis, and coma.” Stedman's Medical
Dictionary 529 (28th ed. 2006). In layman's terms,
diabetes means that one's blood sugar is too high,
causing various conditions including heart disease, and
relative to this case, lack of sensation in the extremities,
i.e., diabetic neuropathy. Id. 1313. This
can in turn lead to various adverse consequences, including
the amputation of digits. It is common knowledge that
diabetes is a disease that requires management. Most persons
who suffer from diabetes check their blood sugar levels
regularly. They also undergo A1C testing, which provides an
average blood sugar level for multiple months,  and take
medication in the form of pills and/or insulin shots designed
to lower or counter the effects of elevated blood sugar.
Diabetes also requires an appropriate diet and exercise in
order to avoid or minimize adverse consequences.
(See Doc. 116-2, p. 12; Doc. 109-3, p. 6). There is
no cure for the disease; however, if appropriate steps are
taken, it can be managed successfully.
was incarcerated at Menard from January 9, 2013, to June 11,
2014 (Doc. 111, p. 2). During this time period, the medical
records reveal that there were numerous medical service
providers who were involved in his care, including Dr. Robert
Shearing, Dr. Samuel Nwaobasi, Dr. John Trost, Dr. Fe
Fuentes, and Nurse Practitioner R. Pollion.
Adams first arrived at Menard, Dr. Robert Shearing initially
ordered Glipiride and Metformin for his diabetes, but
apparently did not believe that insulin was required (Doc.
102-4, p. 1). Dr. Shearing also ordered weekly accuchecks of
Adams's blood sugars and ordered Adams to be added to the
hypertension and diabetes clinics (Id. 4,
On January 11th, two days after arriving at Menard, Adams
reported to a medical technician that he was not getting his
insulin (Id. at p. 2). The medical technician asked
for a physician to review his chart and order the insulin
(Id.). The following day, Dr. Nwaobasi conducted the
chart review and ordered Adams to be seen in “combo
clinic for further assessment and [follow up]” (Doc.
102-4, p. 2; Doc. 116-2, p. 6). The combo clinic occurred
every two to three months and was for hypertension and
diabetes check-ups and care (Doc. 102-1).
April 26, 2013, Adams was seen by Dr. Fe Fuentes for blisters
on the balls of his feet, possibly from “ill-fitting
boots” (Doc. 102-4, p 3). Treatment was ordered for two
weeks (Id.). At that time, Adams's A1C was noted
to be 8.1 (Id. at p. 4). Dr. Fuentes referred Adams
to Dr. Nwaobasi for a follow-up appointment (Doc. 116-5, p.
21). Dr. Nwaobasi spent most of his medical career as a
general surgeon and trauma surgeon (Doc. 102-1). While
working at Menard, he did “a lot of small outpatient
surgical procedures” that could be done under local
anesthesia (Id.). On May 17th, Dr. Nwaobasi noted in
the medical record that Adams had “bilateral feet
ulcers secondary to diabetes mellitus” that “need
to be evaluated for further care” (Doc. 102-4, p. 5).
The next day, Dr. Nwaobasi saw Adams and debrided the wounds
on his feet and changed the dressings (Id. at p.
He ordered dressing changes every other day and a follow-up
“by MD in one month for re-evaluation”
(Id.). A few days later, Adams's A1C was tested
and measured 8.4 (Doc. 109-10, p. 5). Adams was seen by Dr.
Fuentes on July 1, 2013, and while the record is mostly
illegible, it indicates that his “foot ulcers
healed” (Id. at p. 7). By August 2013,
Adams's A1C was decreased to 7.0 (Doc. 109-10, p. 10).
Adams refused A1C testing in November 2013 (Doc. 102-4, p.
January 2014, Adams began having problems with his feet
again. He was admitted to the Health Care Unit on January
28th by Dr. Trost with second degree burns and blisters on
both of his feet (Doc. 102-4, p. 13). Adams notified prison
staff that the injuries were caused by the hot floors in his
cell (Doc. 102-3, p. 4). Adams stayed in the Health Care Unit
for the next thirty-six days. On his second day there, Dr.
Nwaobasi was asked to see Adams (Doc. 102-4, p. 14). The
doctor noted a history of diabetic neuropathy, and debrided
and dressed his wounds (Id. at p. 14). The next day,
Dr. Nwaobasi again debrided and dressed Adams's wounds
(Id. at p. 15). Over the next five days, Adams's
wounds were evaluated twice by Dr. Trost and once by Dr.
Fuentes (Id. at pp. 16-18). Dr. Fuentes referred
Adams to Dr. Nwaobasi to once again have his wounds debrided
on February 4th (Id. at p. 18). The wounds were then
evaluated by Dr. Fuentes on February 6th and by Dr. Trost on
February 7th (Id. at pp. 20, 21). On February 8th,
Adams saw Dr. Nwaobasi, who noted that the wounds were
“healing satisfactorily” (Id. at p. 22).
the next ten days, Adams's wounds were evaluated on three
occasions by Dr. Trost and on three occasions by Dr. Fuentes
(Id. at pp. 23-28). On February 18th, Adams saw Dr.
Nwaobasi to have his wounds debrided for a fourth time
(Id. at p. 29). Dr. Nwaobasi noted that the wounds
on both feet were “drying up, ” and there was
“no evidence of [a] secondary infection”
(Id.). Adams saw Dr. Nwaobasi again the next day for
a dressing change, and the doctor noted that the wounds on
Adams's left foot “continue to show visible
progress” and the “decubitus ulcers are healing
well” (Id. at pp. 29, 30).
the next five days, Adams's wounds were evaluated twice
by Dr. Trost and once by Dr. Fuentes (Doc. 102-4, pp. 31-32;
Doc. 102-5, p. 1). Then on February 26th, Adams saw Dr.
Nwaobasi, who noted that Adams's burn wounds were
“healing” (Doc. 102-5, p. 2). On Wednesday, March
5th, Dr. Nwaobasi noted that Adams was “stable and able
to ambulate on his feet, ” and Adams was discharged
from the Health ...