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
on the issue of exhaustion filed by Defendants Lakesha Hamby,
Michael Moldenhauer, John Trost, and Wexford Health Sources,
Inc. (“Wexford”) (Doc. 156). Based on the
parties' representations, the Court has determined there
are no material facts in dispute and thus the motion can be
resolved without a hearing pursuant to Pavey v.
Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008) (See Docs.
183, 184). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
Ronald Burt, is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). He suffers
degeneration of his cervical spine as a result of an
unspecified injury, which causes severe and chronic neck and
back pain (Doc. 1, p. 3; Doc. 80-1). Plaintiff filed this
action on August 5, 2013, alleging that various employees of
the IDOC and Wexford, at both Menard and Stateville
Correctional Centers, were deliberately indifferent to his
medical needs and engaged in a civil conspiracy to deny him
adequate medical treatment (Doc. 1; Doc. 13).
a threshold review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A (Doc. 13) and one round of summary judgment
motions on the issue of exhaustion (Docs. 99, 102), this
matter proceeded only on Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment
claim for deliberate indifference against Samuel Nwaobasi,
Jane Doe # 1, and Richard Harrington (Doc. 102). Several
months later, Plaintiff was permitted to file an amended
complaint, identifying Jane Doe #1 as Chad Frierdich,
renaming Angela Crain as a Defendant, and adding Michael
Moldenhauer, Lakesha Hamby, Dr. John Trost, and Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. as Defendants (Doc. 124, Doc.
125). At this point, Plaintiff is proceeding on
an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference against
Dr. Nwaobasi, Chad Frierdich, Harrington, Crain, Moldenhauer,
Hamby, Dr. Trost, and Wexford. (Doc. 158).
Plaintiff amended his complaint, a second round of summary
judgment motions on the issue of exhaustion was authorized
for the newly-added Defendants (see Doc. 138).
Defendants Moldenhauer, Trost, Hamby, and Wexford filed their
motion on March 7, 2016 (Doc. 156). Plaintiff filed a response
in opposition to the motion (Doc. 171), to which Defendants
filed a reply (Doc. 174).
order to provide context for the motion for summary judgment,
the factual basis for Plaintiff's claims against
Defendants Moldenhauer, Hamby, Trost, and Wexford is taken
from the pleadings and the evidence submitted during the
summary judgment proceedings and outlined here. The relevant
grievance history, however, is outlined in the discussion
section of this Order.
alleges that he suffers from “continuous, severe and
excruciating back and neck, ” and he has not been given
proper medical treatment for his condition since at least
2007 (Doc. 158). He generally alleges that each Defendant, at
one time or another, was responsible for the constitutionally
inadequate medical treatment that he received by failing to
adequately asses his condition, refusing to provide him with
proper medication to manage with his severe pain, refusing
him the opportunity to be examined and treated by physicians
outside of the IDOC system, and/or refusing him surgery to
cure his serious neck and back problems (Doc. 158). His
specific allegations with regard to the moving Defendants are
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. is a private company that
contracts with the IDOC to provide medical services and
healthcare personnel at IDOC facilities (Doc. 158; Doc. 164).
According to Plaintiff, Wexford maintains a policy of
refusing to order necessary treatments in an effort to save
money, and this policy is “the moving force”
behind the constitutionally inadequate care he received at
Stateville and Menard (Doc. 158).
Michael Moldenhauer was a Physicians' Assistant/Nurse
Practitioner employed by Wexford at Menard (Doc. 158; Doc.
165). Plaintiff alleges that he saw Moldenhauer on July 17,
was given a cursory examination by Moldenhauer, who noted
[Plaintiff's] chronic back pain. Moldenhauer claims to
have discussed [Plaintiff's] x-rays with him. Despite
[Plaintiff's] continuing severe back and neck pain, he
was not seen by a doctor and Moldenhauer's only
recommendation was the reduced prescription of Motrin Mr.
Burt had received in the past that did nothing to help or
cure his serious medical needs or end his excruciating pain.
Lakesha Hamby was a registered nurse employed by Wexford at
Menard (Doc. 158; Doc. 166). Plaintiff alleges that he saw
Nurse Hamby on November 26, 2013, for his neck and back pain
(Doc. 158). Plaintiff further states,
The medical records indicate constant, continuing, burning
pain in his neck and back. Despite the obvious nature of
[Plaintiff's] serious medical problems, the only action
Hamby took was to continue the pain medication [Plaintiff]
had been on, which had not helped his condition. Hamby noted
[Plaintiff]. Burt should see a medical doctor if his pain was
ongoing, but did not schedule [him] to see a medical doctor,
even though [his] pain was ongoing.
John Trost was a medical doctor employed by Wexford at Menard
(Doc. 158; Doc. 163). Plaintiff generally alleges that Trost
refused to provide him with prescribed pain medication and
denied him any other kind of medical treatment (Doc. 158,
¶32). Plaintiff more specifically alleges that he was
seen by Dr. Trost on December 24, 2013, and “Trost
noted [Plaintiff] is suffering from narrowing of his
vertebrates as a result of a degenerative spinal disease.
Despite the obvious nature of [Plaintiff's] serious
medical needs, Trost prescribed nothing more than exercises
and meloxicam.” (Doc. 158, ¶54).
standard applied to summary judgment motions under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 is well-settled and has been
succinctly stated as follows:
Summary judgment is appropriate where the admissible evidence
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. A “material fact“ is one
identified by the substantive law as affecting the outcome of
the suit. A “genuine issue” exists with respect
to any such material fact . . . when “the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” On the other hand, where the factual
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is
nothing for a jury to do. In determining whether a genuine
issue of material fact exists, we view the record in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Bunn v. Khoury Enterprises, Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681
(7th Cir. 2014) (citations ...