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Tillman v. Edwards

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

December 7, 2017

Joseph E. Tillman (R-40962), Plaintiff,
Daryl Edwards, et al., Defendants.


          Charles R. Norgle, U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Joseph Tillman, an Illinois prisoner at Menard Correctional Center proceeding pro se, brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action against Stateville Correctional Center Assistant Warden Darryl Edwards, Stateville Internal Affairs Officer Mindi Pierce, and Stateville Nurse Cynthia Garcia (collectively "Defendants"). While confined at Stateville in 2011. Plaintiff broke his wrist. Defendants Edwards and Garcia allegedly acted with deliberate indifference to Plaintiffs need for medical attention by not sending him to an emergency room the day of his injury and, in response to Plaintiff preparing to sue Edwards and Garcia, Pierce allegedly retaliated against Plaintiff by transferring him to another facility. Currently before the Court are two motions for summary judgment: one from Defendants Edwards and Pierce; the other from Nurse Garcia. Plaintiff has responded to the motions, but not to Defendants' joint N.D. 111. Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts. For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants Defendants' summary judgment motions and dismisses this case.


         Summary judgment is appropriate "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); Jajeh v. County of Cook, 678 F.3d 560, 566 (7th Cir. 2012). To establish that a material fact is undisputed, a party "must support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Rule 56(c)(1). Once the party moving for summary judgment demonstrates the absence of a disputed issue of material fact, "the burden shifts to the non-moving party to provide evidence of specific facts creating a genuine dispute." Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012): Hannemann v. Southern Door County School Dist., 673 F.3d 746, 751 (7th Cir. 2012). "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment, " and "[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) (citations omitted). When considering the summary judgment record, the Court "construe[s] all facts and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Van den Bosch v. Raemisch, 658 F.3d 778, 785 (7th Cir. 2011). citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

         Consistent with this Court's local rules. Defendants jointly filed one Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement of material facts with their summary judgment motions. Doc. 161.). With certain exceptions, the relevant factual assertions in the Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statements cite evidentiary material in the record and are supported by the cited material. See N.D. 111. L.R. 56.1(a) ("The statement referred to in (3) shall consist of short numbered paragraphs, including within each paragraph specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that paragraph."). Also consistent with the local rules. Defendants provided Plaintiff with a Local Rule 56.2 Notice, which explains how a litigant must respond to the Rule 56.1 Statement and summary judgment motion. Doc. 166.

         Although Plaintiff responded to Defendants' memoranda of law in support of their summary judgment motions, see doc. 172, he did not respond to their Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statements of facts in accordance with 56.1(b)(3)(B). "Though courts are solicitous of pro se litigants, they may nonetheless require strict compliance with local rules." Coleman v. Goodwill Indus. of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 Fed.Appx. 642, 643 (7th Cir. 2011). Defendants' Rule 56.1 factual statements are thus unopposed and, to the extent they are supported by the record, deemed admitted. See N.D. 111. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) ("All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party."); Milton v. Slota, 697 Fed.Appx. 462, 464 (7th Cir. Sept. 25. 2017) (unpublished) ("the [district] court was entitled to strictly enforce the local rule, even against a pro se litigant, by deeming uncontroverted statements of material fact admitted for the purpose of deciding summary judgment").

         Since a district court may decide a summary judgment motion "based on the factual record outlined in the [Local Rule 56.1] statements, " Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104, 1109 (7th Cir. 2004), the Court will recite the facts in Defendants* Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statements, as modified where a statement inaccurately characterizes the cited material, and then determine whether, on those facts, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.

         II. FACTS

         On June 29, 2011, while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Stateville. he fell while playing basketball and broke his left wrist. Doc. 161 (Defs.* Statement of Facts) at ¶¶ 1. 6. At that time, Cindy Garcia was a nurse at the prison, Darryl Edwards was an assistant warden, and Mindi Pierce was an Internal Affairs officer. Id. at ¶¶ 2-4.

         Ten minutes after the injury. Plaintiff attracted the attention of a lieutenant who escorted Plaintiff to the healthcare unit ("HCU"). Id. at ¶ 7. Nurse Garcia and another nurse at the HCU sent Plaintiff for x-rays within 15-20 minutes of his arrival. Id. at ¶¶ 8-9. Upon his return to the HCU, an individual introduced himself as the head medical director of the prison. Id. at ¶ 10. The medical director, along with the nurses, examined Plaintiffs wrist and x-rays, and informed him that his wrist was fractured. Id. at ¶¶ 12-13. The doctor and Nurse Garcia recommended that Plaintiff be taken to an emergency room. His transport, however, was put on hold. Id. at ¶ 14. A transfer of an inmate outside the facility requires approval by a prison official. Id. at ¶ 15. Warden Edwards came to the HCU and asked the medical director if he could avoid incurring additional costs since two other inmates were already scheduled to be sent to the emergency room. Id. at ¶ 16. Plaintiff does not know who stopped his transport, but it did not occur and he remained at the prison. Id.

         The medical director, with Nurse Garcia" s assistance, applied a splint, which consisted of a half cast covering the top of Plaintiffs arm from his mid-forearm to his thumb, secured with gauze. Id. at ¶¶ 17-18 (citing 161-2, Exh. A at 10). After the splint was applied. Nurse Garcia examined the wrist and offered Plaintiff pain medication, which he refused. Doc. 161 at ¶ 19. The medical director then approved Plaintiffs return to his cell. Id. at ¶ 20.

         The next morning, June 30, 2011, Plaintiff notified an officer that he needed to return to the HCU. Thirty minutes later, Plaintiff was taken there. Id. at ¶ 21 (citing 161-1, Exh. A, Compl. at 11-12 (the cited materials state that Plaintiff was in horrible pain throughout the night and asked every officer and nurse he saw (Nurse Garcia was not one) to take him to the HCU).

         At the HCU, Nurse Garcia informed him that he was scheduled to see an outside specialist. She also gave him a blister pack of pain medication at that time. Doc. 161 at ¶ 22.

         On July 1, 2011, Plaintiff saw an orthopedic specialist at Rezin Orthopedics. Id. at ¶ 23. The July 1, 2011 office note from Rezin Orthopedics physician Dr. Paul Sauer states the following:

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: On examination, there is a splint. The splint is removed. He has some swelling of the wrist. He has tenderness over his distal radius. His neurovascular status otherwise intact. No elbow tenderness. He has some pain with gentle testing of supination and pronation.
IMAGING: Review of x-rays include hardcopy films brought in by the patient shows a metaphyseal fracture of the left distal radius and small ulnar styloid fracture, but overall alignment appears to be acceptable. There appears to be no extension of the articular surface.
PLAN: I recommend a long-arm cast, re-check in two weeks with repeat x-rays of the left wrist which may be taken in the cast AP and lateral before being seen. They are requesting a bag to cover his left arm [so] that he could shower more frequently because of the inability to use his hand for routine hygiene. When he returns in two weeks, if the cast is fitting well, we will repeat an ...

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