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Scott v. Pinas

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

September 11, 2017

JOVON SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
MEGAN PINAS, SALEH OBAISI, MARCUS HARDY, STANLEY JENKINS, JASON BERRY, and KAREN FRYER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN Z. LEE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jovon Scott (“Plaintiff”) brings this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At all times relevant to this action, he was incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”) in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), and received medical care from Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”). He claims that, during this period, Wexford employees Megan Pinas and Dr. Saleh Obaisi (“the Wexford Defendants”), as well as IDOC employees Marcus Hardy, Stanley Jenkins, Jason Berry, and Karen Fryer (“the IDOC Defendants”) (collectively, “Defendants”), [1] were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The Wexford Defendants and the IDOC Defendants have moved separately for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Wexford Defendants' motion [97] is granted, and the IDOC Defendants' motion [101] is granted in part and denied in part.

         Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

         Northern District of Illinois Local Rule (“LR”) 56.1 establishes a procedure for presenting facts on summary judgment. Under LR 56.1(a)(3), the movant must submit “a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the moving party to a judgment as a matter of law.” LR 56.1(a)(3). In turn, the opposing party must file “a concise response to the movant's statement.” LR 56.1(b)(3). This response must consist of “numbered paragraphs, each corresponding to and stating a concise summary of the paragraph to which it is directed.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(A). In addition, the opponent must “respon[d] 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). Finally, the opponent must submit “a statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(C).

         Here, Plaintiff, who is represented by counsel, failed to respond to Defendants' LR 56.1(a)(3) statements of facts with a response as dictated by LR 56.1(b)(3). In addition, Plaintiff did not submit a statement of additional facts under LR 56.1(b)(3)(C). Rather, Plaintiff filed two response briefs which contradict certain factual assertions in Defendants' statements of facts and assert additional facts. Plaintiff has therefore failed to comply with LR 56.1, and the Court is entitled to admit Defendants' statements of facts and disregard any additional facts Plaintiff has asserted. See, e.g., Thornton v. M7 Aerospace LP, 796 F.3d 757, 769 (7th Cir. 2015) (affirming a district court's decision to admit defendants' uncontested statement of facts and to “disregard[ ] evidentiary documents because a required statement of facts was not filed”); Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., 401 F.3d 803, 810 (7th Cir. 2005). As such, the Court will accept Defendants' “uncontroverted version of the facts to the extent that it is supported by evidence in the record.” Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012). That said, insofar as the materials Defendants have submitted do not comply with LR 56.1 or do not otherwise indicate that summary judgment is warranted, the Court does not deem Plaintiff's failure to file a rule-compliant response dispositive. See Perez v. Thorntons, Inc., 731 F.3d 699, 706 (7th Cir. 2013) (“Where the moving party has undermined its own [LR] 56.1 assertion through the presentation of contradictory assertions and evidence, a nonmovant's ‘admission' of the movant's assertion is not decisive.”).

         Background

         On December 21, 2012, while incarcerated at Stateville, Plaintiff awoke due to an irritation in his left ear. Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 8, ECF No. 98; IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 7, ECF No. 103. He believes the irritation was caused by a cockroach that had crawled into his ear. Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 8; IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 2, 7. As a result, Plaintiff claims that he suffered pain in his ear and hearing loss. IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 2; id., Ex. 2 (“Pl.'s Dep.”), at 18:21-19:19.

         According to Plaintiff, he informed various prison officials and medical personnel about his condition. See Id. ¶¶ 9-18.[2] First, immediately after the incident on December 21, he informed an officer of what had occurred and requested medical attention. See Id. ¶ 9; Pl.'s Dep. at 10:22-24. The officer advised him to “put in for [a] nurse sick call.” Pl.'s Dep. at 11:2.[3] The next day, December 22, he continued to complain to prison officials about his ear condition. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. He “notified the medical technician who was passing meds out” as well as “pretty much [ ] everybody from the lieutenant to the gallery officer.” Pl.'s Dep. at 20:15-18. He was again instructed to submit a written request for treatment. Id. at 20:9-14. On December 23, he repeated his request for treatment to medical personnel passing out medications, but he did not receive medical attention. IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 13. His condition purportedly worsened. On December 26, Plaintiff experienced bleeding in his ear and claims that he removed fragments of the cockroach from his ear with the help of his cellmate. Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Plaintiff attests that he showed the fragments to a lieutenant, who informed Plaintiff that he would notify the health care unit, but Plaintiff never received medical attention. Id. ¶¶ 16-17.

         Although Plaintiff cannot remember specifically which officials he spoke to on which dates during the period of December 21 through December 26, id. ¶¶ 9-11, 13, 16-17, Stanley Jenkins and Jason Berry, who served as lieutenants while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Stateville, and Karen Fryer, who served as a Stateville medical technician, were among the individuals to whom he complained, Pl.'s Dep. at 35:21-36:4; 37:4-10. In addition to these complaints, Plaintiff alleges that he filed various grievances during this time period and until he received treatment, including an emergency grievance to Marcus Hardy as warden on December 21. IDOC Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 8.

         Plaintiff also complained to a nurse who he believes was Megan Pinas. Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 12-13. He does not know whether the nurse was in fact Megan Pinas, but other inmates told him that Megan was the name of the nurse with whom he spoke. Id. On the occasion he spoke with her, the nurse was passing out medications. Id. ¶ 13; see Pl.'s Dep. at 97:10-14, 98:16-99:8. As she passed by his cell, Plaintiff claims that he yelled out to her, “I'm trying to be seen. I have a medical question.” Wexford Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 13. The nurse instructed him to submit a written request for treatment. Id.

         It was not until January 9, 2013, that Plaintiff received medical attention for his ear. See Id. ¶ 15. On that day, Dr. Saleh Obaisi examined Plaintiff's ear, using an otoscope to “get good light with magnification, ” and found no damage to the ear or eardrum. Id. ¶ 17. Based on Plaintiff's report that he performed regular self-cleaning of his ears, Dr. Obaisi determined that Plaintiff's report of pain and swelling could be the result of an infection, or alternatively, inflammation without an infection. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. There is no evidence properly before the Court that Plaintiff complained of hearing loss, [4] and Dr. Obaisi testified that he did not. Id., Ex. B (“Obaisi Dep.”), at 19:10-14. Based on his examination, Dr. Obaisi prescribed Plaintiff an antibiotic. Id. ¶ 19. The antibiotic was effective. When Dr. Obaisi saw Plaintiff again on February 2, 2013, his pain and swelling had decreased. Id. ¶ 21. Again, there is no evidence properly before the Court that Plaintiff complained of hearing loss at this subsequent appointment.

         Following these visits, Plaintiff saw health care professionals at Stateville approximately forty more times before he was transferred to Henry Hill Correctional Center (“Henry Hill”) on October 13, 2014. Id. ¶ 23. He did not seek treatment for his ear at any of these appointments. Id. Upon being transferred to Henry Hill, he did not report any issues with his ear until June 25, 2015. Id. ¶ 27. When he did eventually complain of ear pain, medical officials at Henry Hill prescribed antibiotics and instructed him to cease inserting objects into his ear. Id. ¶¶ 27-28. Plaintiff maintains that he suffers from hearing loss and pain in his left ear to this day. See Id. ¶ 29.

         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). 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). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court gives the nonmoving party “the benefit of conflicts in the evidence and reasonable inferences that could be drawn from it.” Grochocinski v. Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, LLP, 719 F.3d 785, 794 (7th Cir. 2013). The Court must not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence. McCann v. Iroquois Mem'l Hosp., 622 F.3d 745, 752 (7th Cir. 2010).

         Analysis

         Plaintiff has filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by depriving him of medical treatment for his ear condition. As with all § 1983 claims, Plaintiff must demonstrate, as a preliminary matter, that Defendants were personally involved in the events giving rise to his claim. Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996). This requires “a causal connection or affirmative link between the action complained about and the official sued.” Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 759 (7th Cir. 2011). The Eighth Amendment, in turn, proscribes “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners . . . whether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976) (citation and footnotes omitted). To prove a claim of deliberate indifference to ...


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