United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. Lee United States District Judge
Melvin Jordan has filed this civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Kerry Williams
(“Williams”), Akinola Iyiola
(“Iyiola”), Rebecca Buczkowski, f/k/a Rebecca
Lawler (“Lawler”), Bryan Stahr
(“Stahr”), and Jeffery Nurse
(“Nurse”). Plaintiff brings claims under the
Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference to medical needs
(Count I) and excessive force (Count II). Defendants have
filed a motion for summary judgment . For the reasons
provided herein, Defendants' motion is granted in part
and denied in part.
is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of
Corrections. Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 1, ECF No.
208. At all times relevant to this case, he resided at
Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”),
where Defendants Williams, Iyiola, Stahr, and Nurse were
employed as correctional officers. Id. ¶¶
1-2. Defendant Lawler was employed at Stateville as a
healthcare practitioner. Id.
outset, the Court notes that there are several Stateville
policies central to this case that the parties do not
dispute. First, when an inmate at Stateville claims to be
injured, correctional officers are responsible for informing
Stateville's medical technicians about the injury so that
a medical technician “can go in and assess [the] inmate
right away.” Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.
¶¶ 68, 75, ECF No. 225. Under Stateville policy, a
medical technician is always dispatched to evaluate an inmate
upon notification of a claimed injury. Id. ¶
71. After evaluating the inmate, medical technicians decide
whether the inmate needs to be taken to Stateville's
healthcare unit immediately, or whether the inmate can
instead be scheduled for treatment the next day. Id.
August 11, 2008, sometime between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m.,
Plaintiff injured his left foot while playing basketball
during a recreational session in a yard next to his
confinement unit. Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 8;
Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 1- 2. According
to Plaintiff, Defendant Williams arrived at the yard at the
end of the recreational session to escort the inmates inside.
Id. ¶ 4. When Williams arrived, Plaintiff was
sitting on the ground with his left shoe off. Id.
¶ 5. He showed Williams his foot, which was visibly
swollen, and he told Williams he was unable to walk and was
suffering from excruciating pain. Id. ¶¶
5, 7. He also asked Williams to call a healthcare provider to
bring a wheelchair to the yard. Id. ¶ 7. In
response, Williams told Plaintiff he “didn't give a
fuck what happened” and refused to call a healthcare
provider. Id. With no medical care forthcoming,
Plaintiff made his way inside by hopping on one foot with the
assistance of two other inmates. Id. ¶ 8.
Williams denies that he ever had this interaction with
Plaintiff. Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.
¶¶ 4-8, ECF No. 227.
entering his confinement unit, Plaintiff told Defendant
Iyiola about his injury. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.
¶ 9. Iyiola advised Plaintiff that a healthcare provider
would be notified of the injury. Id. ¶ 10. In
the meantime, however, Iyiola ordered Plaintiff to return to
his cell on the fourth tier of the unit. Id.
¶¶ 10-11. Plaintiff did not want to climb the
several flights of stairs leading to his cell, given the
severity of his pain. Id. ¶ 11. He explained to
Iyiola that he was in extreme pain and requested permission
to wait in a ground floor holding cell until a healthcare
provider arrived. Id. Iyiola denied this request.
Id. Although Iyiola has no recollection of this
conversation with Plaintiff, he does not dispute that it
occurred. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 22;
Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.
speaking with Iyiola, Plaintiff returned to his cell.
Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 12. Once there, he
submerged his foot in the toilet bowl, hoping the water would
alleviate his pain. Id. Even though Iyiola had told
Plaintiff a healthcare provider would be notified of his
injury, no healthcare provider arrived that night.
Id. Plaintiff's pain prevented him from climbing
to the top of his cell's bunk bed, where Plaintiff
normally slept, and so he spent the night on the floor.
Id. ¶ 13. When Plaintiff awoke on the morning
of August 12, 2008, his foot was discolored and still
swollen. Id. He returned to the toilet bowl, again
soaking his foot in the water in an effort to dull the pain.
that morning, at 11:00 a.m., Stateville went on lockdown.
Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 9. The lockdown
required inmates to be confined to their cells absent a
medical emergency. Id. ¶ 10. According to
Plaintiff, Defendant Lawler came to distribute medicine to
inmates in Plaintiff's unit sometime that afternoon or
evening, while the lockdown remained ongoing. See
Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 14. Plaintiff showed
Lawler his swollen, discolored ankle, told her he was in
pain, and requested medical care. Id. ¶ 15.
Lawler acknowledged Plaintiff's injury and told him she
would send someone to escort him to the healthcare unit as
soon as she finished distributing medications. Id.
As with the previous evening, however, no healthcare provider
or escort ever arrived, and Plaintiff spent another night
sleeping on the floor of his cell. Id. Lawler denies
that she ever had this interaction with Plaintiff. Defs.'
Resp. LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 14-15.
3:00 a.m. on August 13, 2008, an officer named Lieutenant
Young was walking through the gallery in Plaintiff's
unit. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 16. Plaintiff
showed his injured foot to Young and asked him to notify the
healthcare unit of his injury. Id. Later that
morning, Defendant Stahr arrived at Plaintiff's cell to
finally escort him to the healthcare unit. Defs.' LR
56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. B (“Pl.'s Dep.”), at
48. Before descending the stairway to the ground floor,
Plaintiff told Stahr about his injury and pain, and he asked
Stahr to request that a healthcare provider bring a
wheelchair to transport him. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt.
¶¶ 19-20. Stahr refused to do so. Id.
¶ 19. Plaintiff then asked Stahr to temporarily handcuff
Plaintiff's arms in front of his body rather than behind
his back, so he could use the stairway railings for balance
and support. Id. ¶ 20. Stahr refused to
accommodate this request as well. Id. Accordingly,
Stahr handcuffed Plaintiff behind his back, and Plaintiff
proceeded to “walk and hop” down three flights of
stairs to the ground level. Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff
believes that proceeding down the stairs in this manner
exacerbated his foot injury, id., though he admitted
at his deposition that he does not know whether this belief
is accurate, Pl.'s Dep. at 53.
Plaintiff attests that, when he reached the bottom of the
stairs, he saw Defendant Nurse. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C)
Stmt. ¶ 22. He informed Nurse of his pain and inability
to walk. Id. He also asked Nurse to call for a
wheelchair, but Nurse refused this request. Id.
Nurse denies that this interaction took place. Defs.'
Resp. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 22.
11:00 a.m. that morning, Plaintiff was finally seen by a
medical practitioner in the healthcare unit. Pl.'s LR
56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 25. By this time, the lockdown had
ended. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 9. The doctor
who examined Plaintiff's foot, Dr. Liping Zhang, found
that the foot showed no swelling, bruising, or marked
deformity. Id. ¶ 12. Dr. Zhang diagnosed
Plaintiff with a left foot strain, a type of soft tissue
injury caused by overuse. Id. ¶ 13. At her
deposition, Dr. Zhang testified that, if a patient is not
seen by a doctor for two days following a foot strain, it is
possible that any swelling caused by the strain will decrease
by the time the doctor examines the foot. Pl.'s LR
56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 53.
addition to diagnosing a foot strain, Dr. Zhang told
Plaintiff that his foot could possibly be fractured.
Id. ¶ 26. She accordingly ordered an x-ray for
Plaintiff's left foot. Id. ¶ 27. She also
provided Plaintiff with an ankle brace, one crutch to be used
for two weeks (a second crutch was not available), analgesic
balm to apply to his foot, and a package of 400 mg Ibuprofen.
Id. ¶ 29.
reasons not apparent from the record, the x-ray of
Plaintiff's left foot was not taken until October 2012,
four years after Dr. Zhang ordered it. Id. ¶
47. The x-ray results were negative for a fracture.
Id. Defendants admit, however, that a fracture will
not necessarily be detected by an x-ray that is taken four
years after the fracture is formed. Defs.' Resp.
Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 47. As of the time of