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Jordan v. Quintero

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

July 24, 2017



          John Z. Lee United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Melvin Jordan, a prisoner at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), brings suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants David Grey, Devi Austin, and Hector Quintero. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendants have filed a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 seeking summary judgment in their favor. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

         Compliance with Local Rule 56.1

         Consistent with Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1(a)(3), Defendants filed a statement of facts alongside their motion for summary judgment and accompanying brief. See Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., ECF No. 156. Defendants' statement complies with the rule's requirement that “each paragraph [contain] specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that paragraph.” LR 56.1(a). Plaintiff was required to submit a responsive filing pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B), consisting in part of a “response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(B). Plaintiff failed to submit such a responsive filing, instead submitting only his own, separate statement of additional facts. See Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt., ECF No. 165.[1]

         “[W]hen a party fails to comply with the local rule requiring a response to a statement of undisputed material facts, the court may rely on the opposing party's statement to the extent that it is supported by citations to relevant evidence in the record.” Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing FTC v. Bay Area Bus. Council, Inc., 423 F.3d 627, 634 (7th Cir. 2005)). Because Plaintiff did not properly respond to any portion of Defendants' 56.1(a)(3) statement of facts, those facts are deemed admitted where they are supported by the underlying evidence submitted by Defendants. But Plaintiff's failure to properly respond to Defendants' statement of facts “does not, of course, automatically result in judgment for [Defendants].” Id. at 884 (internal quotation marks omitted). Rather, Defendants must still demonstrate that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and the Court must still draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff's favor. Id.

         Factual Background[2]

         During the time relevant to his lawsuit, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Stateville, where Defendants Grey, Austin, and Quintero were employed as correctional staff. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 1-2. Defendants routinely worked in housing unit B, where Plaintiff's cell was located, in their capacity as correctional officers. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 2.

         Stateville maintains several policies relevant to the present litigation. A prisoner at Stateville can access the healthcare unit (HCU) for a medical appointment if he has a healthcare pass. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 30. There are two ways for a prisoner to obtain a healthcare pass: he can request one directly from healthcare personnel during daily rounds, or he can submit a written request for review by HCU staff. Id.

         On March 11, 2009, Plaintiff was taken to the HCU after sustaining an injury to his left knee while playing basketball. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 7-9. The examiner concluded that Plaintiff had sprained his knee, though the knee exhibited no bruising, swelling, or bone deformity at the time of the examination. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. Plaintiff was prescribed pain medication and an analgesic balm, and he was told to return to the HCU if he experienced increased pain. Id. ¶ 12; Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 3.

         Plaintiff attests that six days later, on March 17, he awoke with elevated pain and swelling in his left knee. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 4.[3] Plaintiff sought a healthcare pass for this pain, though he did not receive a pass that day. Id. ¶¶ 4-5. Plaintiff consumed the last of his pain medication on March 18. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 5-7. By March 19, Plaintiff's pain had become severe, and his knee's swelling made it difficult for him to climb into and out of his upper-level bunk. Id. ¶ 6. He received a healthcare pass on the following day, March 20, with an appointment scheduled for March 21. Id. ¶¶ 5-7. The healthcare pass did not specify a time for his appointment. Id. ¶ 7. By March 21, the day of the scheduled HCU visit, Plaintiff was visibly limping. Id. ¶ 8.

         At some time on March 21, Plaintiff informed Grey and Austin that he had a healthcare pass for that day because of his knee condition. Id. Shortly after these conversations, Quintero came to Plaintiff's cell without warning and said, “Healthcare.” Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiff prepared to leave his cell by tucking in his shirt and turning off all of his electronics, as Stateville's rules require. Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff asserts, and Defendants deny, that Plaintiff's appearance at this time made it readily apparent to Quintero that Plaintiff was in severe pain and unable to move easily on his knee. Id. ¶ 11; Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 11.

         Two minutes after first arriving, Quintero muttered something inaudible and walked away, leaving Plaintiff in his cell without an escort to the HCU. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 10. A few minutes later, Plaintiff called out to Quintero as he passed Plaintiff's cell, telling him that he was in severe pain and insisting that he be taken to the HCU for his appointment. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. Quintero continued to walk away, saying only that Plaintiff had already refused the appointment. Id. It is undisputed, however, that Plaintiff had not refused the appointment. Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 12. Plaintiff claims that he then attempted to contact Grey and Austin to request help in getting to the HCU. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 14. In support, he claims that other inmates told him that Grey and Austin were in earshot when he called out his requests to them. See Id. ¶¶ 14-15 (citing Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt., Ex. H (“Pl.'s Aff.”) ¶¶ 14-15). But neither Grey nor Austin appeared at his cell or acknowledged his requests. Id. ¶ 14.

         Later that day, Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance requesting that Quintero be disciplined for leaving Plaintiff in his cell, despite Plaintiff's healthcare pass and his reports of pain. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 16. Plaintiff's counselor, Karen Rabideau, responded to the grievance in writing, saying that Quintero had acted improperly and that Plaintiff had not refused his appointment. Id. Nevertheless, Quintero was never formally disciplined or reprimanded for the incident. Id.

         Plaintiff was eventually seen by the HCU on March 26, 2009, five days after his missed appointment. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 14. At that time, the HCU confirmed the diagnosis of a sprain in his left knee.[4] Id.

         Legal 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); see also Shell v. Smith, 789 F.3d 715, 717 (7th Cir. 2015). To survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party must “do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), and instead must “establish some genuine issue for trial such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in her favor.” Gordon v. FedEx Freight, Inc., 674 F.3d 769, 772-73 (7th Cir. 2012). The evidence considered for summary judgment “must be admissible if offered at trial, except that affidavits, depositions, and other written forms of testimony can substitute for live testimony.” Malin v. Hospira, Inc., 762 F.3d 552, 554-55 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court gives the nonmoving party “the benefit of conflicts in the evidence and reasonable ...

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