United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the Court is the motion for summary judgment
filed by Defendant William Welborn on December 6, 2016 (Doc.
119), and the motion to withdraw admissions filed by Welborn
on April 4, 2017 (Doc. 158). For the reasons set forth below,
the motion for summary judgment is granted, and the motion to
withdraw is denied.
Steven Jordan, an inmate currently confined at the Hill
Correctional Center, is proceeding on a second amended
complaint (Doc. 96) filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
His claim relates to a fall that occurred on June 20, 2014,
while he was housed at the Menard Correctional Center. On
that day, Jordan claims that he passed out in his cell and
fell, and that Sergeant Welborn did not summon medical care.
When he saw Nurse South and Dr. Trost a few days later, they
did nothing meaningful to address his pain. He further claims
Dr. Ritz failed to approve necessary diagnostic testing,
contributing to his prolonged pain and suffering. Jordan is
proceeding on one count alleging that each Defendant was
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs (Doc.
95). Defendants Ritz, South, and Trost filed a separate
motion for summary judgment (Doc. 110).
Welborn filed his motion for summary judgment, Jordan sought
additional time to respond and filed a flurry of discovery
motions. Jordan then filed a response to Welborn's motion
on April 3, 2017 (Doc. 157). In that response, Jordan cited
to requests to admit that Welborn had failed to timely
answer. Welborn filed a motion to withdraw his admissions the
following day, April 4, 2017 (Doc. 158).
discovery motions were resolved in an Order issued by
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson dated June 13, 2017 (Doc. 161). In
that Order, Welborn was permitted to withdraw his admissions.
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson later reconsidered his ruling,
however, and reinstated Welborn's motion to withdraw his
admissions (Doc. 169). Therefore, now pending before the
Court are Welborn's motion for summary judgment and his
request to withdraw his admissions. To the extent that Jordan
seeks additional discovery, his request is denied.
Motion to Withdraw Admissions
January 13, 2017, Jordan served requests to admit that
Welborn failed to answer within the thirty days allowed by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a)(3). Therefore, the
matters were deemed admitted by operation of the Federal
Rules. This harsh result can be avoided by withdrawing the
admissions. Kalis v. Colgate-Palmolive Co.,
231 F.3d 1049, 1059 (7th Cir. 2000). “A court, in its
discretion, may permit a party to rescind admissions when
doing so better serves the presentation of the merits of the
case and the party who benefits from the admissions (usually
by relying on them) is not prejudiced.” Banos v.
City of Chicago, 398 F.3d 889, 892 (7th Cir. 2005). In
his motion to withdraw, Welborn argues that Jordan would
suffer no prejudice and the interests of justice required
that this matter be resolved on the merits (Doc. 158). He
notes that Jordan has neither filed his own motion for
summary judgment, “nor has Plaintiff relied on these
admissions in his response to Defendant Welborn's Motion
for Summary Judgment” (Doc. 159, p. 3).
has filed a motion for summary judgment, which indicates he
believes he has a meritorious defense to Jordan's claim
and that this matter would benefit from an analysis of the
record evidence rather than unintentional admissions. While
permitting Welborn to withdraw his admissions would better
serve the presentation of the merits of this case, Welborn
has failed to show how Jordan is not prejudiced. In his
response to Welborn's motion for summary judgment (Doc.
157), Jordan did, in fact, attach the requests to admit as
Exhibit D and referred to them on pages 12-14 of his brief
when discussing Welborn's state of mind, an element
integral to a deliberate indifference claim. Jordan has
relied on the admissions in arguing that this matter should
go to trial. Jordan can conduct no further discovery to
support his claims (as set forth in the June 13, 2017 Order),
the discovery deadline having expired on March 3, 2017, and
dispositive motions having been filed.
excuse for failing to respond also is weak. He states he did
not respond because Jordan did not comply with Local Rule
26.1(b)(1). The Court is unaware of any rule of law that
would permit one party to ignore the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure merely because another party does not comply with a
Local Rule. Welborn's motion to withdraw admissions is
accordingly denied. To the extent that Jordan's requests
to admit relate to “facts, the application of law to
fact, or opinions about either, ” they conclusively
establish the same.
Motion for Summary Judgment
facts relating to Jordan's medical care are detailed in
this Court's Order on Defendants Ritz, South, and
Trost's motion for summary judgment. Therefore, only
facts relevant to Jordan's claim against Welborn are set
a correctional sergeant at the time, was on duty in
Jordan's cellhouse on the night of the incident but does
not recall the actual incident (Doc. 120-1, p. 2). On that
night, June 20, 2014, Jordan was at his sink when he
“fainted and fell to the floor of my cell, hitting
[his] head, and hurting [his] back and shoulders” (Doc.
157-2, p. 2). Jordan's cellmates “pounded on the
bars and called for help, ” and Welborn arrived outside
the cell bars (Id.). Welborn told Jordan to get up.
When Jordan tried but could not, Welborn told him that he was
“faking” (Id.). When Jordan said he
could not get up, Welborn directed another inmate to drag him
to the bars (Jordan's cell was eight-feet long)
(Id.; Doc. 120-1, p. 2). The cellmate only
“partially complied” (Id.). Welborn did
not take Jordan to the healthcare unit but did tell him he
would “drop a sick call slip” for him (Doc.
157-2, p. 2). Jordan then fell asleep (Id. at p. 3).
He received no further medical care from either a nurse
making rounds early the next morning or from other
correctional officers who made rounds every thirty minutes
throughout the night (Jordan was sleeping at the time these
rounds were made) (Doc. 120-1, p. 3).
has no medical training, except for CPR and First Aid, and
did not examine Jordan or open his cell door (Doc. 157-1,
¶ 1, 2, 5). In fact, Welborn “made the
determination that the plaintiff's fall, and subsequent
condition was not a ‘medical emergency' from
outside the cell . . . without ever even touching the
plaintiff” (Id. ¶ 6). Welborn had
“no direct knowledge of whether the Plaintiff's
spine was injured or not, . . . or not injured enough to
warrant a call to medical personnel qualified to administer
medical care . . . ...