United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge.
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in December 2015,
Juan Garcia filed the above-captioned lawsuit under 42 U.S.C.
1983. Garcia (Plaintiff) named five healthcare professionals
(three doctors, a nurse, and a nurse practitioner) plus the
private corporation that contracts with the Illinois
Department of Corrections to provide medical care to Illinois
inmates (Wexford Health Sources, Inc.). The complaint alleges
that Defendants ignored Plaintiff's medical needs arising
from cysts and growths on his testicles. On threshold review
under 28 U.S.C. 1915A, the undersigned found the complaint
stated a claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution (see Doc. 6).
case comes now before the Court on a motion for summary
judgment and supporting memorandum (Docs. 34-35) filed by
five of the six named Defendants - (1) Mike Moldenhauer, (2)
Robert Shearing, M.D., (3) John Trost, M.D., (4) Hector
Garcia, M.D., and (6) Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
(Wexford). Where helpful herein, the Court refers to
these six Defendants collectively as the “Wexford
Defendants.” The motion and memo assert that Plaintiff
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to four of
five Wexford Defendants - all of them except Dr.
Trost (see Doc. 34, p. 1) - as required under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act. Plaintiff responded to the motion
(Doc. 37). The deadline for a reply has passed, the motion is
ripe for disposition.
response, Plaintiff concedes that he failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as to Defendants Moldenhauer,
Shearing, and Garcia (Doc. 37, p. 2). Plaintiff asks that the
Court dismiss those Defendants (id.). The Court
DISMISSES without prejudice Defendants Moldenhauer, Shearing,
and Garcia. The question is whether Plaintiff exhausted his
administrative remedies as to Defendant Wexford. The Court
finds that Plaintiff did exhaust as to Wexford and thus
GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the summary judgment motion
(Doc. 34), for the reasons explained below.
Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff filed multiple grievances relating to the matter at
issue in this suit, one grievance (the August 18, 2014
grievance) is clearly dispositive, and the Court need not
discuss any others. On August 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed a
grievance complaining of Dr. Trost and Wexford (Doc. 35-5).
Plaintiff asserted that Trost and Wexford violated his Eighth
Amendment rights when they “acted with deliberate
indifference when they denied [his] request to have …
cysts surgically removed from [his] testicles”
(Id. at 1). He claimed that he was suffering from
pain due to the cysts and that he had reported the pain to
the Menard healthcare unit as early as November 2013
(id.). Plaintiff further grieved that he had
requested to have his cysts surgically removed on July 24,
2014, and his request was denied by Trost and Wexford
(id. at 2). He wrote that Trost and Wexford were
“forcing [him] to live with … constant pain and
are refusing to properly treat [his] mass”
(id.). Among the relief he requested was to have his
cysts surgically removed, as well as to be provided with
monetary compensation (id. at 1).
counselor received the grievance on September 6, 2014 and
penned a response on September 20, 2014 (id.). The
response provided a brief summary of Plaintiff's written
care and indicated that Plaintiff would be seen by Dr. Trost
for further care (id.). Plaintiff sent his grievance
to the grievance officer, who responded on January 22, 2015
(Doc. 35-6). The grievance officer found Plaintiff's
grievance to be moot, due to recent treatment (id.).
The chief administrative officer concurred with the grievance
officer on January 30, 2015, and Plaintiff appealed his
grievance to the Administrative Review Board (ARB) on
February 5, 2015 (id.). The ARB responded on
September 21, 2015, indicating that Menard had properly
addressed Plaintiff's grievance (Doc. 35-7). Plaintiff
filed this lawsuit on December 15, 2015.
January 2016 merits review Order, the undersigned found that
Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, that Defendant
Wexford denied his requests for surgical removal of his cysts
due to policies maintained by Wexford that place costs as a
priority over patient care (id. at 3). The Court
found that these allegations sufficiently stated a claim for
an Eighth Amendment violation against Wexford (Id.
Applicable Legal Standards
Summary Judgment Motions
judgment is proper only if the admissible evidence considered
as a whole shows there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact, and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Dynegy Mktg. & Trade v. Multi
Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011),
citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The party seeking
summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing -- 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).
After a properly supported motion for summary judgment is
made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986), quoting Fed R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2).
is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable
law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Ballance v. City
of Springfield, Ill. Police Dep't, 424 F.3d 614, 616
(7th Cir. 2005); Hottenroth v. Village of Slinger,
388 F.3d 1015, 1027 (7th Cir. 2004). A genuine issue of
material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. “A
mere scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving
party's position is not sufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
non-moving party.” Harris N.A. v. Hershey, 711
F.3d 794, 798 (7th Cir. 2013). On summary
judgment, the district court construes the facts and draws
the reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Cole v. Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois
University, 838 F.3d 888, 895 (7th Cir.
generally a district court's role on summary judgment is
not to evaluate the weight of the evidence, judge witness
credibility, or determine the truth of the matter, but only
to determine whether a general issue of triable fact exists,
a different standard applies to summary judgment on the issue