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Crowder v. Larson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 28, 2017

DARYL M. CROWDER, # K-88903, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, Daryl Crowder, brings this civil suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for the deprivation of his rights at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”) and Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff claims that he suffered permanent injuries related to three falls which would not have occurred had he been granted low bunk and low gallery permits at Big Muddy and Pinckneyville. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, Dr. Dennis Larson, was deliberately indifferent to his request for permits needed for his pre-existing medical conditions (Count 1). Plaintiff also claims that the falls and resulting injuries were because Defendant failed to order the permits which he claims he should have received automatically due to his age (Count 2).

         This matter is currently before the Court on Defendant Larson's Motion for Summary Judgment filed on November 11, 2016. (Doc. 48). Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, was given 30 days to file a response and has failed to do so. The Court deems that failure an admission of the merits of Defendant's motion pursuant to SDIL Local Rule 7.1(c); Flynn v. Sandahl, 58 F.3d 283, 288 (7th Cir. 1995) (a failure to respond constitutes an admission that there are no disputed material facts).

         II. Factual Background

         When Plaintiff first saw Defendant in October 2010 for complaints of back pain, Defendant examined Plaintiff and advised him to work on range of motion exercises. (Doc. 48-4, p. 1-3). In September 2011, Defendant prescribed Motrin after Plaintiff experienced an incident of numbness in his legs. (Doc. 48-6, p. 1-2). Between September 2011 and April 2013, Plaintiff was seen regularly in the hypertension/cardiovascular care clinic for an existing heart condition. (Doc. 48-7, p. 1-5). During that time, Plaintiff did not request a low bunk permit or a low gallery permit. (Doc. 48-2, p. 37).

         Plaintiff testified that he fell from his bunk on April 9, 2013, due to a back spasm and then again on April 13, 2013, due to dizziness. (Doc. 48-2, p. 17-18). While Plaintiff stated that his first bunk fall took place on April 9th, when he was coming down from his top bunk and had a back spasm, the medical record indicates that Plaintiff was having back spasms and difficulty getting up on his bunk. The record makes no mention of a fall. (Doc. 48-8, p. 1). The April 13th record, which does not mention dizziness, indicates that Plaintiff fell off of his bunk while climbing down due to back spasms and leg pain. (Doc. 48-9, p. 1). Plaintiff did not see Defendant at that time, and the injury report was completed by a nurse. (Doc. 48-9, p. 2).[1]

         When Plaintiff saw Defendant on April 22, 2013 with complaints of neck and lower back pain and dizziness, Defendant placed Plaintiff in the infirmary until May 2-ten days. (Doc. 48-11, p. 1-17). He was given a low bunk permit, pain medications, and instructions to walk slowly and come back with any increase in pain. (Id. at p. 16-17). At his follow-up appointment with Defendant later in May, Plaintiff's medications and low bunk permit were prescribed for three months. (Doc. 48-12, p. 1-2). At Plaintiff's August follow-up appointment with Defendant, Plaintiff's low bunk permit and medications were again ordered to be continued for three more months. (Doc. 48-13, p. 1-2). Plaintiff does not recall requesting a low gallery permit during that time. (Doc. 48-2, p. 37).

         On November 15, 2013, prior to the scheduled follow-up appointment for his low-bunk permit renewal, Plaintiff visited the clinic complaining of neck, shoulder, and arm pain. (Doc. 48-15). His records note that he had a future follow-up appointment to renew the bottom bunk permit. Defendant testified, and the medical records indicate, that Plaintiff did not see Defendant on November 15. (Id.; Doc. 48, p. 4). The next record made by Defendant is dated November 26, 2013 and states that Plaintiff fell down six stairs when his legs gave out. (Doc. 48-16). On that day, Plaintiff was admitted to the Crossroads Community Hospital. (Doc. 48-17, p. 1). There, Dr. Szyfer examined Plaintiff and found posterior spurring, disk herniation, and spinal canal stenosis and admitted him to the hospital for an MRI. (Doc. 48-17, p. 2). No reference is made to dizziness. (Doc. 48-17, p. 1-6).

         Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital the next day in stable condition. (Doc. 48-17, p. 3-4). Plaintiff was again granted a low bunk permit by Defendant. (Doc. 48-2, p. 56). Upon Defendant's recommendation, Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital in July 2014 for a C5-6 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. (Doc. 48-20). In October 2014, Plaintiff was involved in an altercation with his cellmate and was subsequently transferred to Pinckneyville. (Doc. 48-2, p. 56; Doc. 48-23).

         III. Applicable law

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary 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) (internal quotation omitted) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). See also Ruffin-Thompsons v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating-based on the pleadings, affidavits, and/or information obtained via discovery-the lack of 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 facts showing that there is not genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 56 (e)(2)). A fact is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable law. Id. at 248; Balance v. City of Springfield, Ill. Police Dep't, 424 F.3d 614, 616 (7th Cir. 2005); Hottenroth v. Vill. 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. “The nonmovant must create more than mere doubt as to the material facts and will not prevail by relying on a mere scintilla of evidence to support its position.” CAE, Inc. v. Clean Air Eng'g, Inc., 267 F.3d 660, 677 (7th Cir. 2001) (internal ...

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