United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
ORDER AND OPINION
E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge.
matter now before the Court on the Defendants, ANDEREW
TILDEN, M.D., DIANE POUK, and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES,
INC.'s Motion  for Summary Judgment. Co-Defendant Joe
Nemergut has joined this Motion. Plaintiff has filed a
Response  and Defendants have filed a Reply . For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion  is
Isaiah Johnson is an inmate incarcerated at Pontiac
Correctional Center. On March 25, 2014, Plaintiff filed a
pro se Complaint alleging that his constitutional
rights had been violated by Defendants Andrew Tilden, Diane
Pouk, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
(“Wexford”). In a merit review, this Court issued
an Order  finding that Plaintiff's Complaint
sufficiently stated one cause of action against the
Defendants for deliberate indifference to serious medical
alleges that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent in
the treatment of his inguinal hernia. Plaintiff first noted the
hernia on May 7, 2013. He complained to health care personnel
on June 12, 2013, and was seen by Dr. Ojelade the following
day. Dr. Ojelade found no signs of a hernia and did not
prescribe any medication or treatment. Plaintiff next
complained of a hernia in September of 2013. On September 15,
2013, he was seen by Dr. Tilden who performed an examination
and found no signs of a hernia. He advised Plaintiff to
return to the clinic as needed when the hernia was present.
saw Dr. Tilden again on February 14, 2014. At that time, Dr.
Tilden was not able to discern a hernia but prescribed
Fiberlax to help with constipation. On October 30, Plaintiff
was seen by Physician's Assistant James Caruso for
complaints of an inguinal hernia on Plaintiff's left
side. Caruso noted that that the left-sided hernia was easily
reduced. Caruso determined that no further
treatment was needed, and Plaintiff did not need to return to
the clinic. Dr. Tilden states that “[t]hroughout [his]
examinations of Mr. Johnson, [he] never saw any indication
that Plaintiff was suffering from an inguinal hernia.”
Doc. 66, at 6.
alleges that “Diane Pouk was deliberately indifferent
to Plaintiff [sic] serious medical needs because she was
aware of Plaintiff's consistent complaining of
pain.” Doc. 69, at 2. Plaintiff states that he wrote
Defendant Diane Pouk letters about his pain which she
ignored. Defendant Pouk never physically examined Plaintiff
or provided him with medical care.
alleges that he was injured due to a written Wexford policy
to undertreat hernias. Private corporations such as Wexford
may have liability under § 1983 when performing
governmental functions. Iskander v. Village of Forest
Park, 690 F.2d 126, 128 (7th Cir. 1982). Plaintiff cites
the Wexford policy which provides, “[r]educible
hernias, in which the herniated contents may be returned to
the abdominal cavity either spontaneously or manually,
generally pose no medical risk to the patient.” Doc.
69, at 13. Wexford's Medical Policies and Procedures also
state, “[p]atients with stable abdominal wall hernias
are not, in general, candidates for herniorrhaphy and will be
monitored and treated with appropriate non-surgical
therapy.” Doc. 69, at 14. Plaintiff asserts that
Wexford has adopted this policy as a cost savings measure.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that “[t]he
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); see Ruiz-Rivera v. Moyer, 70
F.3d 498, 500-01 (7th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the
burden of providing proper documentary evidence to show the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotext
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Once the
moving party has met its burden, the opposing party must come
forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or
denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a
genuine issue for trial. Garcia v. Volvo Europa Truck,
N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997). “[A]
party moving for summary judgment can prevail just by showing
that the other party has no evidence on an issue on which
that party has the burden of proof.” Brazinski v.
Amoco Petroleum Additivies Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183 (7th
the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must
designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is
a genuine triable issue; he “must do more than simply
show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986));
Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818
(7th Cir. 1999). Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support
of the non-movant's position is not sufficient to oppose
successfully a summary judgment motion; “there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
[non-movant].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs
42, Section 1983 of the United States Code provides a federal
cause of action for the deprivation, under color of state
law, of the rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States. 42 U.S.C. §
1983. To establish an Eighth Amendment violation by a prison
official for failure to provide adequate medical care, a
prisoner “must allege acts or omissions sufficiently
harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 105-106 (1976). Plaintiff must show that he suffered from
a serious medical need and that ...