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Roberts v. Dawalibi

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

April 24, 2017

Earl Roberts (Y-15872), Plaintiff,
Salim J. Dawalibi, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Earl Roberts' motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) [116] is denied. The judgment in Dr, Dawalibi's favor stands. This case remains closed. This is a final and appealable order.


         In this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff Earl Roberts, who is currently in state custody, contends that Dr. Salim Dawalibi provided constitutionally inadequate care for athlete's foot when Roberts was detained at the Cook County Jail. On March 8, 2017, the Court granted Dr. Dawalibi's motion for summary judgment and entered final judgment. (ECF Nos. 112 & 113.) Roberts' "Reconsider Judgment: Rule 59(e) Motion" (ECF No. 116), which seeks to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), is presently before the Court.

         "The purpose of a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e) is to ask the court to reconsider matters 'properly encompassed in a decision on the merits.'" Wine & Canvas Dev. LLC v. Muylle, No. 1:11-CV-01598-TWP, 2015 WL 6554686, at *1 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 28, 2015) (quoting Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney, 489 U.S. 169, 174 (1989)). To be entitled to relief under Rule 59(e), the movant must "clearly establish[ ] a manifest error of law or fact" or point to newly discovered evidence. Burritt v. Ditlefsen, 807 F.3d 239, 253 (7th Cir. 2015). A manifest error "is not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party. It is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent." Oto v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (citation and quotation marks omitted). Moreover, a Rule 59(e) motion "is not an appropriate forum for rehashing previously rejected arguments." Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus,, Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir. 1996).

         In its opinion granting Dr. Dawalibi's summary judgment, the Court held that Roberts was not entitled to a trial on his Fourteenth Amendment medical claim because he did not identify evidence suggesting that his athlete's foot rose to the level of a serious medical need or that Dr. Dawalibi was deliberately indifferent. For present purposes, familiarity with that opinion is assumed. Roberts asks the Court to revisit its ruling for ten reasons.

         Point One

         Roberts represents that he was "sent to segregation for trying to have everything [i.e., his materials in opposition to Dr. Dawalibi's motion for summary judgment] on time and to learn how to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) and Local Rule 56.1" but was released after eight days when he produced copies of the Court's order setting a briefing schedule for the summary judgment motion. (ECF No. 116, pg. 2.) To the extent that Roberts challenges his placement in segregation, he must file a new lawsuit in the proper district; the Court offers no opinion on whether such a claim would be viable. But that claim is not part of this case.

         Roberts also inconsistently states that he "still hasn't been able to go over to the law library" and that he first obtained assistance in the library in connection with his Rule 59 motion. (Id., pgs. 2, 8.) Roberts did not bring any concerns about law library access to the Court's attention during briefing despite opportunities to do so (as demonstrated, for example, by his filing of an objection to Dr. Dawalibi's requests for extensions of the summary judgment briefing schedule, ECF No. 81, and his own motion for an extension of that schedule, ECF No. 90). In any event, the Court construed the summary judgment record in the light most favorable to Roberts and has carefully considered all of his arguments in support of his request for reconsideration, which he made with the benefit of the Court's opinion and-according to Roberts-law library access. Thus, his assertions about law library access do not warrant relief.

         Point Two

         Roberts asserts that Dr. Dawalibi prescribed the dry skin cream that, as detailed in the summary judgment opinion, was eventually changed to an antifungal cream. This is inconsistent with Robert's deposition testimony, as when he was asked to identify the doctor who prescribed the dry skin cream, he responded, "I can't say which doctor because during the course-I've been here three years and three months. We have a lot of doctors that came and saw us. I can't, per se, specifically tell you which one put me on the dry skin cream." (ECF No. 74-1, Pl.'s Dep. at 40:1-7.)

         In any event, during his deposition, Roberts criticized Dr. Dawalibi by asserting that during the purported January 6, 2014 appointment, Dr. Dawalibi did not tell him to discontinue the dry skin cream. (Id. at 96:2-24.) The Court rejected this criticism, explaining that medical professionals may choose from "a range of acceptable courses based on prevailing standards in the field, " Jackson v. Kotter, 541 F.3d 688, 697 (7th Cir. 2008), so a doctor "is entitled to deference in treatment decisions unless 'no minimally competent professional would have so responded under those circumstances, '" Pyles v. Fahim, 771 F.3d 403, 409 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Sain v. Wood, 512 F.3d 886, 894-95 (7th Cir. 2008)). The Court also noted that an inmate's criticism of medical treatment he received is generally insufficient to establish a constitutional violation. Pyles, 111 F.3d at 409. Instead, "[t]he federal courts will not interfere with a doctor's decision to pursue a particular course of treatment unless that decision represents so significant a departure from accepted professional standards or practices that it calls into question whether the doctor actually was exercising his professional judgment." Id.

         Roberts' current contention about the dry skin cream is essentially identical to his prior position. As such, it is not a proper subject for a motion to reconsider. See Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole, 90 F.3d at 1270. It also does not alter the Court's finding "that on the dates that Roberts contends he saw Dr. Dawalibi (which the Court will accept as Roberts is opposing summary judgment), he was experiencing the type of discomfort typically associated with athlete's foot" and thus did not have a serious medical need. (ECF No. 112, pgs. 10-11.) In addition, it does not demonstrate that Dr. Dawalibi was deliberately indifferent, given the care given by Dr. Dawalibi that is detailed in the summary judgment opinion. In sum, Roberts' position about the dry skin cream was not, and still is not, sufficient to survive summary judgment.

         Points ...

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