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Garfield v. Furlong

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 28, 2017

JOHN GARFIELD, #N72615 Plaintiff,


          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS United States Magistrate Judge


         Plaintiff John Garfield is an inmate currently incarcerated at Dixon Correctional Center. He brought the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights by Defendants during his incarceration at Big Muddy Correctional Center. This matter is before the Court on two motions for summary judgment, one filed by Defendants Furlong and Larson (Doc. 63) and another filed by Defendant Nalley (Doc. 65). The time for Plaintiff to respond to the motions has passed, with Plaintiff responding only to one. Therefore, Defendants' motions are ripe for disposition. For the reasons articulated below, the Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 63, 65) are both GRANTED.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         1. Defendants Furlong and Larson

         Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Furlong and Larson arise from treatment Plaintiff received for a cracked tooth that lead to a fractured root. It is undisputed that Plaintiff was incarcerated at Big Muddy Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”) during 2012 and 2013 before he was transferred to other institutions. (Doc. 64, p. 2; Doc. 70, p. 1). Plaintiff's claims arise from the time period he was incarcerated at Big Muddy. (Doc. 64, p. 2; Doc. 70, p. 1). On January 31, 2013, Defendant Dr. Dennis Furlong, the dentist at Big Muddy, examined Plaintiff in response to Plaintiff's complaint of pain in his number two tooth. (Doc. 64-1, p. 1). During that visit, Defendant Furlong diagnosed Plaintiff with having Cracked Tooth Syndrome. (Id.). On the same day, Plaintiff executed an IDOC Consent for Treatment Form, wherein Plaintiff gave his consent to Defendant Furlong to extract the number two tooth, if necessary. (Doc. 64-3, p. 16). On this form, above Plaintiff's signature, was a list of six potential risks from the procedure, which included “Displacement of the teeth into the sinuses or other soft tissue spaces requiring additional surgery to remove.” (Id.). Defendant Furlong attempted to remove the tooth on February 7, 2013, due to complaints of pain from Plaintiff. (Doc. 66-1, p. 4; Doc. 64-3, p. 1). During the procedure, however, the medial root fractured away from the main body of the tooth. (Doc. 64-1, p. 2). It is undisputed that at some point the medial root was lost into Plaintiff's sinus cavity. (Doc. 64, p. 3; Doc. 70, p. 2). As best the Court can tell, however, there appears to be a dispute over at what point the root lodged into the sinus canal. While Defendants Furlong and Larson indicate it was lost during a subsequent, unsuccessful, attempt to remove the fractured root on March 4, 2013 (Doc. 64, p. 3; Doc. 64-3, p. 1), Plaintiff appears to take the position that the root was lost during the February 7 extraction (Doc. 70, p. 2, 5; Doc. 66-1, p. 5).

         On March 9, 2013, due to the loss of the medial root into the sinus cavity, Defendant Furlong submitted an IDOC Medical Special Services Referral and Report requesting permission from the Collegial Review Board of Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) to refer Plaintiff to an outside oral surgeon. (Doc. 64-1, p. 2). On March 15, 2013, Dr. O'Brien of the Collegial Review Board authorized the request to allow Plaintiff to see an outside surgeon. (Id.). On April 4, 2013, Plaintiff had an initial visit with Dr. Jay Swanson, an oral surgeon. (Doc. 64-2, p. 2 - 3). During that visit, Dr. Swanson recommended a Caldwell-Luc procedure to remove the root. (Id.). On April 8, 2013, Defendant Dr. Dennis Larson, the Medical Director at Big Muddy, approved Dr. Swanson's recommendations, and on April 10, 2013, Dr. Haymes of the Collegial Review Board authorized Plaintiff to have the operation. (Id. at 1 - 2, 3). Dr. Swanson performed the operation on April 10, 2013. (Id. at 3). Upon discharge, Plaintiff was prescribed pain medication and antibiotics. (Id.). When Plaintiff returned to Big Muddy, he was placed in the healthcare unit (“HCU”) for 23 hours of observation and treatment, and given the pain medication and antibiotic prescribed by Dr. Swanson. (Id. at 3 - 4).

         On April 11, 2013, Defendant Larson examined Plaintiff prior to his discharge from the HCU. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff indicated that he felt “ok”, his mouth was sore, and he could tolerate the pain. (Id.). Defendant Larson ordered Plaintiff to follow up in one week and requested authorization from the Collegial Review Board to allow Plaintiff to follow up with Dr. Swanson in a week. (Id.). Plaintiff was discharged on April 11, 2013, and while Defendants take the position that Defendant informed the nurse he was “ready to go”, Plaintiff disputes this. (Doc. 66-1, p. 8). Plaintiff was given antibiotic and Motrin upon discharge (Id. at 9), and was not allowed to continue the painkiller Lortab due to IDOC policy prohibiting narcotic medication administration outside the HCU. (Doc. 64-2, p. 4).

         On April 18, 2013, Defendant Larson examined Plaintiff in segregation for a sick call. (Id.). Plaintiff indicated that he had been feeling poorly, and Defendant Larson states that, upon examining Plaintiff, he found Plaintiff's temperature to be 100 degrees and his blood pressure of 150/90. (Id.). Plaintiff, however, disputes the temperature and blood pressure readings. Plaintiff states that Defendant Larson told him that Plaintiff had a temperature of 103 - 104 and that his blood pressure was higher than 150/90. (Doc. 66-1, p. 12). Regardless, Defendant Larson increased Plaintiff's antibiotic dosage (Id. at 11) and secured an appointment for Plaintiff to see Dr. Swanson the next day (Doc. 64-2, p. 4 - 5).

         Plaintiff followed up with Dr. Swanson on April 19, 2013, and Dr. Swanson ordered that Plaintiff continue on the elevated antibiotic dosage twice a day and take an over the counter antihistamine. (Id. at 5). On April 23, 2013, Defendant Larson made a request to the Collegial Review Board that Plaintiff be allowed to see Dr. Swanson again, and Plaintiff saw Dr. Swanson again on April 25, 2013. (Id. at 5). Dr. Swanson found Plaintiff to be healing as expected, indicated that the area would heal in two to four weeks, and that Plaintiff should follow up in two to three weeks. (Id.). The same day, Defendant Larson approved Dr. Swanson's recommendations to have Plaintiff follow up in two to four weeks. (Id.).

         On May 2, 2013, during a sick call visit with Plaintiff by Defendant Larson, Plaintiff told Defendant Larson that his mouth was improving and requested Tylenol for pain, Excedrin for headaches, and hydrocortisone for rash and eczema, all of which were prescribed by Dr. Larson. (Id.). On May 7, 2013, Defendant Larson requested authorization for the Collegial Review Board to send Plaintiff to visit Dr. Swanson for a follow up appointment in two to three weeks, and the Board responded by sending Defendant Larson a “90 day global” authorization. (Id.).

         Plaintiff saw Dr. Swanson on May 16, 2013, and Dr. Swanson noted that Plaintiff was healing well from the prior surgery. (Id.). He also noted that Plaintiff complained of pain in tooth number four and found mobility in that tooth. (Id.). Dr. Swanson ordered scheduling of the removal of tooth four. (Id.). On May 21, 2013, Defendant Larson saw Plaintiff during a sick call to follow up after Plaintiff's visit with Dr. Swanson. (Id.). Plaintiff told Defendant Larson that three days prior he had blood and drainage from the surgical site. (Id.). Defendant Larson found good healing in the mouth, and prescribed the requested medications of Excedrin Migraine, Eucerin cream, hydrocortisone cream, and Tylenol. (Id.). Plaintiff was transferred from Big Muddy on June 19, 2013. (Id. at 6). He filed suit on August 27, 2014, pleading counts of deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment against Defendants Larson and Furlong. (Docs. 1, 8).

         2. Defendant Nalley

         The Court notes that while Plaintiff filed a Response to the summary judgment motion filed by Defendants Furlong and Larson, he did not file a Response to Defendant Nalley's motion. Since Plaintiff has failed to respond to Defendant Nalley's motion, the Court considers the facts set forth by Defendant Nalley as undisputed. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); SDIL-LR 7.1(c). See also Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003); Flynn v. Sandahl, 58 F.3d 283, 288 (7th Cir. 1995) (a failure to respond constitutes an admission that there are no undisputed material facts). As the Court is ...

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