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Wilson v. Obaisi

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 19, 2017

SALEH OBAISI, M.D., et al., Defendants.


         Gregory Scott Wilson (“Wilson”), plaintiff, began serving a 38-year sentence for murder at Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois in 1999. He alleges that from September 2011 until September 2014 defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious hernia medical needs in violation of his constitutional right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The court has jurisdiction of the subject matter and the parties. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. The case is now before the court on the defendants' motions for summary judgment.

         Plaintiff filed an earlier suit on May 13, 2013 (13 cv 3656) making the same claims as in this case. That action was dismissed without prejudice for failure to satisfy the exhaustion requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) before filing suit. Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 739, 742 (7th Cir. 2008); Wilson v. Obaisi, 2016 WL 3640412 (N.D. Ill.). Exhaustion was complete when the administrative review of plaintiff's prison grievance was later denied on appeal as not being timely. After that action plaintiff's administrative remedies were exhausted and the present case was timely. Accordingly, defendants' motion to dismiss this action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies was denied. (Dkt. 27).

         Defendant Imhotep Carter M.D. was medical director at Stateville Correctional Center from July 25, 2011 to May 13, 2012. He left that position at a time when plaintiff claims injury and violation of his rights. Federal law provides that a claim against any particular person accrues immediately and a limitations period begins to run when a person resigns or retires from public employment. Heard v. Elyea, 525 Fed.Appx. 510, 511 (7th Cir. 2013). This action was brought against defendant Carter more than two years after it accrued contrary to the Illinois two-year statute of limitations which applies to § 1983 actions. Carter was dismissed from this case. (Dkt. 27).

         Also named as defendants are Wexford Health Sources, Inc., a private entity that contracts to provide health services at Stateville and two of its employees, Saleh Obaisi, M.D, who was medical director from August 2, 2012 until the present and La Tanya Williams P.A. who has been a physician's assistant at Stateville since 2002 (“the Wexford defendants”).

         Michael Lemke, who was warden at Stateville for the calendar year 2013 and Royce Reed-Brown, Stateville Health Care Administrator, are named as defendants.

         On a motion for summary judgment, the entire record is considered with all reasonable inferences drawn in favor of the nonmovant and all factual disputes resolved in favor of the nonmovant. Crawford v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., Tenn., 555 U.S. 271, 274 n.1 (2009); Malen v. MTD Prods., Inc., 628 F.3d 296, 303 (7th Cir. 2010); Stokes v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, 599 F.3d 617, 619 (7th Cir. 2010). The burden of establishing a lack of any genuine issue of material fact rests on the movant. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010); Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001). The nonmovant, however, must make a showing sufficient to establish any essential element for which he will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Montgomery v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 626 F.3d 382, 389 (7th Cir. 2010). The movant need not provide affidavits or deposition testimony showing the nonexistence of such essential elements. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Freundt v. Allied Tube & Conduit Corp., 2007 WL 4219417 *2 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 29, 2007); O'Brien v. Encotech Constr., 2004 WL 609798 *1 (N.D. Ill. March 23, 2004). Also, it is not sufficient to show evidence of purportedly disputed facts if those facts are not plausible in light of the entire record. See Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. A & E Oil, Inc., 503 F.3d 588, 594-95 (7th Cir. 2007); Yasak v. Ret. Bd. of Policemen's Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, 357 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2004); Lampley v. Mitcheff, 2010 WL 4362826 *6 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 27, 2010). Id. (citation omitted). In determining whether the nonmovant has identified a "material" issue of fact for trial, the court is guided by the applicable substantive law; "[o]nly disputes that could affect the outcome of the suit under governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." McGinn v. Burlington Northern R.R. Co., 102 F.3d 295, 298 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). A factual dispute is "genuine" for summary judgment purposes only when there is "sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986). Hence, a "metaphysical doubt" regarding the existence of a genuine fact issue is not enough to stave off summary judgment, and "the nonmovant fails to demonstrate a genuine issue for trial 'where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party . . . .'" Logan, 96 F.3d at 978 (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348 (1986)).

         Plaintiff's medical condition was a left-side reducible inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue or structures travel from the abdominal cavity into the inguinal canal and protrude outside of the body. The size of the hernia is related to the pain and discomfort that the hernia causes.

         Plaintiff testified that he had surgery for an unrelated hernia condition in 1994.

         Plaintiff states that he first complained of a hernia that developed at Stateville in 2011. He was seen by defendant LaTanya Williams P.A. of the medical staff for back and leg pain on September 28, 201l. The medical record does not show a hernia evaluation. Williams testified that she would not look at a hernia if Wilson was being seen for back and leg pain. Williams has no independent recollection of conversations with Wilson.

         On January 3, 2012 plaintiff filed a grievance describing hernia pain and stated that he had submitted medical requests which had not been acknowledged.

         Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Imhotep Carter, M.D. on January 26, 2012 for leg pain and a low-bunk and low-gallery assignment. Dr. Carter granted his requests and prescribed medication. Plaintiff contends that at this appointment the hernia was visible and manually reducible. According to Wilson, Dr. Carter would not consider his hernia complaints. Dr. Carter has no independent recollection of any conversations with plaintiff.

         Wilson was given a physical examination by LaTanya Williams on February 21, 2012. Williams observed a hernia and recommended a treatment plan that included patient education of how to reduce the hernia and medical observation. It is undisputed that plaintiff complained of pain at that time.

         During the time plaintiff was diagnosed and treated at Stateville the Medical Policies and Procedures approved by the Wexford Health Advisory Committee, dated October 21, 2011, stated:

Reducible hernias, in which the herniated contents may be returned to the abdominal cavity either spontaneously or manually, generally pose no ...

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