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Bartlett v. Inoue

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

July 5, 2017

DR. INOUE, [1] et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff proceeds pro se from his detention in the Shawnee Correctional Center regarding alleged deliberate indifference to a hand fracture he suffered while in the McLean County Jail. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Inoue missed diagnosing Plaintiff's fractured hand. Plaintiff further alleges that three nurses (Defendants Brown, Payne, and Sturgill)[2] refused pain medication to Plaintiff. (Merit Review Order, d/e 8.)[3]

         Defendants move for summary judgment, which is granted for the reasons explained below.

         Before addressing the summary judgment motion, the Court addresses Defendants' contention that Plaintiff admitted in his deposition that he did not personally sign any of his pleadings. Plaintiff did make this representation in his deposition, stating that he had someone else sign his name because he cannot use his right hand. (Pl.'s Dep. 137-38.) He appears to confirm this in his response to the summary judgment motion, stating that he has not been able to use his right hand “at all ever[] since the beginning of this lawsuit.” (Pl.'s Resp., d/e 40, p. 10.) However, in a later unsigned filing he asserts that he did sign his filings, but with his left hand and with help from others. (Pl.'s Notice, d/e 43, pp. 1-2.)

         Plaintiff may rely on another inmate to write Plaintiff's filings, but Plaintiff must read those filings before sending them to the Clerk to ensure that the filings are factual. Filings that contain false statements are grounds for sanctions, including dismissal. Plaintiff must also sign all of his filings, with his left hand if need be. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(a). At this point, the Court will accept Plaintiff's representation that he did sign the filings and misunderstood the question in his deposition.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A movant may demonstrate the absence of a material dispute through specific cites to admissible evidence, or by showing that the nonmovant “cannot produce admissible evidence to support the [material] fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(B). If the movant clears this hurdle, the nonmovant may not simply rest on his or her allegations in the complaint, but instead must point to admissible evidence in the record to show that a genuine dispute exists. Harvey v. Town of Merrillville, 649 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2011).

         At the summary judgment stage, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, with material factual disputes resolved in the nonmovant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when a reasonable juror could find for the nonmovant. Id.


         Dr. Inoue has not numbered his proposed undisputed facts as required by Local Rule 7.1(D)(1)(b). However, Dr. Inoue does cite to attached exhibits to support each proposed, undisputed fact, and the substantially the same proposed facts are offered by the Nurse Defendants (Brown, Payne, and Sturgill) as numbered facts. Requiring Dr. Inoue to number his proposed facts is unnecessary because the facts are not complex and doing so will only unnecessarily prolong this case. Similarly, Plaintiff has not addressed each proposed fact as required by Local rule 7.1(D)(2)(b), but he does adequately set forth his reasons why summary judgment should be denied. Thus, the Court finds the case ready for a decision on the merits, even though technical compliance with Rule 7.1 is lacking.

         The relevant events occurred during Plaintiff's detention at the McLean County Jail. On September 11, 2015, Defendant Nurse Brown saw Plaintiff for an injury to his right hand that he suffered in a fight. Nurse Brown noted a good range of motion, ordered ice packs as needed for two days, Motrin as needed for seven days, and referred Plaintiff to the physician. (Brown Aff. ¶ 10.)

         Plaintiff received Motrin that day and the next three days before his appointment with Defendant Dr. Inoue. (Nurse Defs.' Undisp. Fact 11.) Plaintiff also received ice packs on those days. (Nurse Defs.' Undisp. Fact 12.) To obtain medicine prescribed on an “as needed” basis, an inmate must submit a request one hour before medical rounds during the day and two hours before the morning medical rounds. (Nurse Defs.' Undisp. Fact 9.)

         Dr. Inoue examined Plaintiff's hand on September 14, 2015. Dr. Inoue ordered an x-ray, ice for three days, and ibuprofen for one week. (Dr. Inoue Aff. ¶ 7; 9/14/15 progress note, d/e 36-1, p. 4.) X-rays were taken that same day, with the radiologist report stating that there was no evidence of “acute bony injury” and “no acute bone injury noted.” (9/14/15 imaging report, d/e 36-1, p. 3.) Plaintiff asserts that he did have an obvious fracture on September 14, 2015, pointing to a later report by an outside orthopedist. (Pl.'s Resp. d/e 40, p. 14.) But the report he attaches is one page from a visit to the orthopedist November 18, 2015, when x-rays of the first visit with the orthopedist were compared to the follow-up visit with the orthopedist on November 18, 2015. (d/e 38-7, p. 2; d/e 38-7, p. 5.) Nothing in this report mentions the first x-ray on September 14, 2015. Plaintiff alternatively asserts that the radiologist misread the first x-ray but he offers no evidence to support that conclusion.

         Plaintiff received ibuprofen from September 15-21, 2015. (Nurse Defs.' Undisp. Fact 18.) Plaintiff received ice packs on September 14, 15, 17, and 21, 2015. (Nurse Defs.' Undisp. Fact 18.)

         On September 22, 2015, Plaintiff saw a nurse for a purported re-injury to his right hand, asserting that he had fallen recently. (Defs.' Undisp. Fact 19.) That was a lie. Plaintiff had made up the story about falling because he felt desperate to obtain adequate pain medication for his original injury. (Pl.'s Dep. 142.) Plaintiff received an ice pack that day and was referred to a physician. (Nurse ...

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