United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are cross Motions for Summary Judgment filed
by Plaintiff Farris Thomas (Doc. 82) and Defendant Mark Hodge
(Warden) (Doc. 84). For the reasons set forth below,
Thomas's motion is denied, and Warden Hodge's motion
filed this action alleging various medical providers at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) exhibited
deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition, an
inguinal hernia. In September 2016, this Court found that
each of those medical providers was entitled to summary
judgment because no reasonable jury would find any of them
acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind. (Doc. 80).
also alleged that Mark Hodge, who was at the relevant time
the Warden of Menard, was deliberately indifferent to his
medical needs. Warden Hodge did not seek summary judgment at
the same time as the other defendants. Because the other
defendants were granted judgment on the same medical
condition that forms the basis for Thomas's claim against
Warden Hodge, however, the parties were directed to inform
the Court why judgment should not be entered in his favor
also. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f)(1) (permitting
judgment in favor of a nonmoving defendant upon notice and an
opportunity to respond). Thomas's claim against Warden
Hodge is now before the Court for consideration.
February 5, 2013, Thomas's hernia was determined to be
non-reducible, and he was approved for a surgical evaluation
by Dr. Pontius. (Doc. 63-5, p. 5; Doc. 63-2, p. 12). Dr.
Pontius recommended surgery on February 14, 2013; however,
surgery was denied by Dr. Garcia later that month. (Doc.
63-2, p. 14).
February 28, 2013, Thomas submitted an emergency grievance
based on the denial of surgery. (Doc. 82, p. 7). Warden Hodge
found the grievance was not an emergency and directed Thomas
to file a “grievance in the normal manner.” (Doc.
82, p. 7). As instructed, on March 11, 2013, Thomas submitted
a non-emergency grievance setting forth the same complaint.
(Doc. 82, pp. 8-9). After finding out from the health care
unit that a follow-up ultrasound had shown the hernia was
reducible and surgery was not warranted, the grievance
officer recommended Thomas's grievance be denied. (Doc.
82, p. 10). Warden Hodge concurred with the recommendation on
July 5, 2013. (Doc. 82, p. 10).
submitted another emergency grievance six weeks later, this
time elaborating on the pain he was suffering. (Doc. 82, p.
11). Again, emergency review was denied by Warden Hodge.
(Doc. 82, p. 11). While Thomas subsequently submitted the
grievance to his counselor (Doc. 82, p. 11), he has not
provided any additional documentation or evidence that he
also submitted the document to his grievance officer.
months later, on September 7, 2013, Thomas spoke with Warden
Hodge while he was on an inspection tour of the yard. (Doc.
82, p. 4). Thomas “explained that he was denied surgery
and was going through severe pain with his hernia and
left-testical [sic].” (Doc. 82, p. 4). In response,
Thomas alleges Warden Hodge stated: “They are not gonna
pay for a surgery if it's not life-threatening.”
(Doc. 82, p. 4). The Warden, who does not recall speaking to
Thomas, denies that he would have made such a statement to an
inmate. (Doc. 85-2, p. 1).
“unscheduled inspection report” authored by
Warden Hodge on the same day as the alleged conversation
between Warden Hodge and Thomas states: “Eight house
was on the yard and I spoke to several offenders regarding
multiple issues. These will be followed up on Monday with my
HCUA and CSS.” (Doc. 82, p. 12). Thomas had no further
interaction with the Warden with respect to his hernia.
surgery was subsequently approved in the summer of 2014 (Doc.
63-2, p. 37), and Thomas underwent the surgery on September
5, 2014 (Doc. 63-2, p. 44).
a prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth
Amendment unless the official knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to an inmate's health or safety; the
official must both be aware of facts from which the inference
could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm
exists, and must also draw the inference. Farmer v.
Brennan,511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). Thus, without more,