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Fergusonn v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 4, 2018

JAMES FERGUSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., et. al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff James Ferguson, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”). He asserts claims against Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Dr. Thomas Burrell, D.D.S., Dr. Aldridge, D.D.S., Dr. Naroditsky, D.D.S., Beverly Rockwell, Kendra Seip and Kurtis Hunter. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his health in failing to provide adequate dental care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He is proceeding on the following Counts:

Count I: Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc. exhibited deliberate indifference toward Plaintiff's dental needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, by maintaining a policy or practice to deliberately understaff Shawnee with an insufficient number of licensed dentists to meet the serious medical needs of the inmates and to refuse outside referral;
Count II: Defendants Dr. Burrell, Dr. Naroditsky, and Dr. Aldridge exhibited deliberate indifference toward Plaintiff's serious medical/dental needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment when Defendants failed to timely treat his dental needs;
Count III: Defendants Hunter, Rockwell and Seip exhibited deliberate indifference toward Plaintiff's serious dental need to have his decayed tooth extracted.

         This matter is now before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies filed by Defendants Dr. Burrell and Dr. Narodistky (Doc. 90). Plaintiff filed a timely response (Doc. 97). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Specifically, Defendants assert that the two grievances Plaintiff filed relating to their treatment, dated July 11, 2015 and June 18, 2015, were not exhausted, and that the only grievance that was exhausted, Grievance #2015-06-39, makes no reference to Dr. Burrell or Dr. Naroditsky. In Grievance #2015-06-39, Plaintiff complained that despite paying a $5.00 co-payment for an April 28, 2015 dental visit, no dental work was performed (Id.). The grievance references the “dental doctor” who examined and performed an x-ray on Plaintiff on April 28, 2015 (Id.).

         With regard to Plaintiff's June 18, 2015 grievance, the evidence before the Court indicates the grievance was received by the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) on June 24, 2015 (Doc. 97-1 at 4-7). There is no evidence that the grievance was sent to anyone other than the ARB. The ARB denied the grievance on procedural grounds because it failed to include responses from a counselor, grievance officer and the Chief Administrative Officer (“CAO”) (Id. at 4). The ARB instructed Plaintiff to resubmit the grievance with the missing responses for further review on the merits, if timely. (Id.). There is no other documentation concerning the June 18, 2015 grievance.

         Plaintiff's July 11, 2015 grievance was received by the ARB on July 15, 2015 (Doc. 97-1 at 2-3). There is no evidence before the Court to show the grievance was sent to anyone other than the ARB. The ARB also denied this grievance on procedural grounds for failing to include responses from a counselor, grievance officer and the CAO. (Id. at 2). The ARB instructed Plaintiff to resubmit the grievance with the missing responses for further review on the merits, if timely. (Id.). There is no other documentation concerning the July 11, 2015 grievance.

         Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). In deciding a summary judgment motion, the district court views the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

         Exhaustion ...


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