United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
EDWARD M. McBRIDE, Plaintiff,
NATHAN CHAPMAN, DOUG SIMMONS, and BRANDI LITTLE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS United States Magistrate Judge
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff, who was pro se
at the time, filed his complaint alleging deliberate
indifference against Defendants. Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges that Nathan Chapman, Doug Simmons, and Brandi Little
were deliberately indifferent in treating his serious medical
needs, related to Plaintiff's teeth and dentures. This
matter is before the Court on a motion for summary judgment
filed by Nathan Chapman and Bradi Little (Docs. 101 and 102).
Plaintiff, now represented by counsel, has filed a response
(Doc. 114). Defendants have filed a reply (Doc. 118).
Defendant Doug Simmons has also filed a motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 103 and 104) and Plaintiff has filed a
response to that motion (Doc. 115). Based on the following,
the Court GRANTS both motions for summary judgment.
August 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging
deliberate indifference related to treatment for his teeth
and a denture that he received against Defendants (Doc. 1).
As narrowed by the Court's threshold order (Doc. 8),
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Chapman took a persistent,
yet ineffective, course of treatment when he provided
Plaintiff with dentures instead of ordering corrective
surgery for his gums, which suffered from excess bone and an
undercut ridge (Doc. 8, p. 2). As a result of only being
provided with dentures, Plaintiff was subjected to pain and
could not eat because of the discomfort associated with the
dentures. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Little failed
to prescribe him with pain medication (Id.).
Defendant Thomas Spiller, as warden at Pinckneyville, was
left in the case in his official capacity only, for purposes
of injunctive relief (Id. at p. 6). As Plaintiff was
later transferred from Pinckneyville Correctional Center,
Defendant Doug Simmons, was substituted as the proper
defendant for injunctive relief, in place of Thomas Spiller
(Docs. 86 and 89).
at Lawrence Correctional Center, in December 2011, Plaintiff
had certain upper teeth extracted, including teeth #'s 2,
5, 6, 10, and 11 (Doc. 102-2; 102-1, p. 16). Plaintiff then
transferred to Menard in January 2012 and saw the dentist on
January 27, 2012 (Doc. 102-1, p. 14 and 16-17; 102-3; 102-4).
Although Plaintiff requested dentures, he was told his gums
had not yet healed (Doc. 102-1, p. 17). He was placed on a
soft diet (Doc. 102-4, p. 1). Plaintiff testified that he did
not receive dentures at Menard because the facility was also
on lockdown (Doc. 102-1, p. 14). Plaintiff again was examined
while at Menard on May 21, 2012 (Doc. 102-4, p. 1). The notes
from that examination indicated that ridges were present in
the area of extraction and were still sore to pressure
(Id.). Plaintiff was told that he needed further
healing and possible pre-prosthetic surgery (Id.).
Plaintiff was to be evaluated in three months for an upper
denture or possible surgery (Id.). Plaintiff's
soft diet was continued (Id.).
transferred to Pinckneyville Correctional Center on April 26,
2013 (Doc. 102-3, p. 2). Chapman first reviewed
Plaintiff's records and x-rays on May 2, 2013 (Doc.
102-4, p. 1). Chapman saw Plaintiff on May 6, 2013 and noted
that his gums had healed within normal limits and noted an
undercut on his maxillary ridge, meaning he had excess bone
in certain areas on his gum ridge (Id.; 102-5, p.
22). Plaintiff noted that he was not interested in a soft
diet and testified that Pinckneyville's version of a soft
diet bothered his gums (Doc. 102-4, p. 1; 102-1, p. 19-21).
Plaintiff also complained that he had sharp bone edges on his
gums, but Chapman indicated that the denture could be made to
work with those (Doc. 102-1, p. 15). Chapman testified that
Plaintiff was evaluated for whether Plaintiff needed a
denture or first needed surgery to remove the excess bone,
but Chapman felt confident that a denture could be made to
work with Plaintiff's gums (Doc. 102-5, p. 22, 24).
Chapman examined Plaintiff's gums, feeling the undercut
and gum to determine healing (Id. at p. 22-23).
Plaintiff was scheduled for denture impressions (Id.
at p. 22).
began the process of creating Plaintiff's dentures. On
June 19, 2012, Plaintiff had an initial alginate impression
of his upper gums, including the ridge (Doc. 102-5, p. 29;
102-4, p. 2). The shade, or color of his dentures, was noted
at 62 to match his lower teeth (Doc. 102-5, p. 29-30; 102-4,
p. 2). Chapman noted that those impressions were sent to a
lab and that if the technician making the dentures felt it
would be difficult to make a denture given the excess bone,
the lab would have contacted the prison, but the lab did not
contact Chapman (Doc. 102-5, p. 36-37). On July 1, 2013,
Plaintiff had a “wax bite” to determine
Plaintiff's bite (Doc. 102-5, p. 30; 102-4, p. 2). On
July 17, 2013 Plaintiff was fitted with an initial set of
dentures but the midline was off and the dentures were sent
back for resetting (Doc. 102-5, p. 31; 102-4, p. 2). Chapman
testified that this was either due to Plaintiff biting down
wrong in the wax or a clinical error in marking
Plaintiff's bite wrong (Doc. 102-5, p. 31). Chapman
remarked the midline and sent the dentures back
(Id.). Plaintiff was fitted with another denture on
July 30, 2013 and Chapman noted that the set up was much
better but that Plaintiff continued to bite down differently
every time (Doc. 102-5, p. 32; 102-4, p. 2). Chapman
testified that he believed this was due to the fact that
Plaintiff had went without upper teeth for so long, making it
hard for him to bite down correctly (Doc. 102-5, p. 32).
Plaintiff was happy with the setup and the appearance,
however, and the denture was sent back to the lab for
finalizing (Doc. 102-5, p. 33; 102-4, p. 2). Plaintiff was
provided with a soft diet throughout the fitting process
(Doc. 102-5, p. 28-33).
received his dentures on August 14, 2013 (Doc. 102-4, p. 2).
Plaintiff complained that the dentures were hurting certain
areas of his mouth and marked the locations (Doc. 102-1, p.
20). Chapman noted on August 26, 2013 that there were
undercuts and adjustments were necessary to get the dentures
to go around the undercuts (Doc. 102-5, p. 33; 102-4, p. 2).
Chapman testified that the undercuts were places where
Plaintiff had a little bit more bone and that Plaintiff had
excess bone growths on the right and left sides, towards the
back of his mouth (Id. at p. 34). The dentures
pushed on those areas, causing soreness (Id.).
Chapman testified that he made the adjustments with a
slow-speed drill in order to get the denture around the
excess bone (Id. at 33-34, 38). Chapman testified
that adjustments were quite common for new dentures because
as the dentures settle, there are spots that will rub the gum
and require adjusting (Id. at 33). The medical notes
indicate that Plaintiff felt the dentures were a lot better
(Doc. 102-4, p. 2). Chapman testified that if the dentures
did not ultimately work, he would either order new dentures
or go to the next step (Doc. 102-5, p. 36).
testified that the first time the dentures were put in, the
dentures pressed on his gums and caused pain (Doc. 102-1, p.
26). Plaintiff told Chapman the dentures did not feel right,
but Chapman told him he would have to get used to them
(Id. at p. 27). Plaintiff testified that he only
wore the dentures the one time and that he did not wear them
after that (Id. at p. 21). Plaintiff testified that
when he put the dentures back in the second time, after
Chapman made some adjustments, the dentures hurt his gums and
he stopped wearing them (Id. at p. 26-27). Plaintiff
filed a grievance on August 15, 2013, indicating he received
his dentures on August 14, 2013 and it was causing him
“excruciating pain” (Doc. 114-3, p. 11).
August 26, 2013, Chapman testified that he set Plaintiff to
be seen at Plaintiff's request, which would be done by
Plaintiff submitting a written request for adjustment (Doc.
102-5, p. 39). Plaintiff requested an adjustment because his
bite was off on the left side (Id.). Plaintiff was
seen on September 11, 2013 (Doc. 102-4, p. 2). Chapman
adjusted the dentures again (Id.). Chapman testified
that adjustments are a process that has to be done slowly as
once a piece of the denture is shaved off, it cannot be
replaced (Doc. 102-5, p. 40). The area has to be slowly taken
down until it fits comfortably and if too much is taken off,
the dentures will not fit properly (Id.). Chapman
saw Plaintiff again on September 19, 2013 (Doc. 102-4, p. 2).
Adjustments were made to the left back of the dentures as
Plaintiff indicated he was biting his cheek (Doc. 102-5, p.
40). Plaintiff was specifically biting a saliva gland duct
(Id.). Chapman again adjusted the denture so that
Plaintiff was not biting his cheek (Id.). Chapman
ordered Plaintiff's soft diet to continue for two
additional weeks but counseled Plaintiff that he needed to
get used to the dentures (Id.). Plaintiff was
scheduled to be seen only at Plaintiff's request
November 5, 2013 Plaintiff wrote a kite indicating that he
was still have troubles with his denture and was seen by
Chapman (Doc. 102-4, p. 3; 102-5, p. 42). However, Plaintiff
forgot his dentures and the appointment was rescheduled for
November 7, 2013 (Id.). Plaintiff was seen again on
November 7, 2013 and Chapman adjusted the pallet portion of
the denture and Plaintiff indicated that it felt better
(Id.). Plaintiff, admittedly, made no requests for
adjustments after November 2013 (Doc. 114-2, p. 1). Chapman
did not receive any further requests from Plaintiff regarding
his dentures (Doc. 102-5, p. 42).
testified he did not contact Chapman was because the dentures
were destroyed (Id.). Plaintiff testified that he
stopped wearing them after the second time because they kept
hurting (Doc. 102-1, p. 27). He made a request to see Chapman
and Chapman kept sanding on them (Id.). Plaintiff
testified that he sanded them down so much that they
didn't fit well (Id. at p. 28). Plaintiff
testified when Chapman would sand one side down, that side
would then be okay, but the sanding would cause problems on
the other side of the denture and that it kept going back and
forth from side to side (Id. at p. 28). Plaintiff
testified that after a side was sanded it would feel okay for
a minute but then the other side would not be right
(Id. at p. 29).
next saw Chapman on May 20, 2014 for a toothache (Doc. 102-4,
p. 3). The tooth was ultimately extracted (Doc. 102-4, p. 3;
102-5, p. 43). Plaintiff was seen on June 10, 2014 for a
denture adjustment but Plaintiff forgot the denture and the
appointment was rescheduled (Doc. 102-4, p. 3; 102-5, p. 45).
Plaintiff was seen again on June 16, 2014 but at that time
Plaintiff indicated that the denture was fine and signed a
refusal of treatment (Id.). Plaintiff refused a
two-year exam on November 24, 2014 (Doc. 102-4, p. 3). He
transferred to Jacksonville on July 22, 2015 (Doc. 56).
Plaintiff was seen for a denture adjustment on March 4, 2016
and asked for a soft diet (Doc. 102-4, p. 3). It was noted
that the palatal surface ...