United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Cleveland Garner, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this
lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that his
constitutional rights were violated when he was denied
adequate medical treatment for muscle spasms and pain while
at Stateville, Pinckneyville, Western Illinois, Danville, and
Shawnee Correctional Centers. He now proceeds only against
Defendant Dr. Vipin Shah on a deliberate indifference claim
for his alleged failure to adequately treat Plaintiff's
serious medical condition.
pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 37). Plaintiff filed a response (Doc.
40). In accordance with this Court's Order, Defendant
filed a supplement to his Motion (Doc. 42); Plaintiff has not
filed a supplemental response. For the following reasons,
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is
Cleveland Garner was incarcerated at Pinckneyville
Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”) from
September 2012 until June 2013 (Deposition of Cleveland
Gardner, Doc. 37-1 at 4). While at Pinckneyville, he saw Dr.
Shah for treatment of his diabetes (Id. at
9).Garner complained to Dr. Shah that he was
experiencing chronic muscle pain and spasms (Id.).
Dr. Shah instructed him to exercise and lose weight to manage
his diabetes, but failed to address his complaints of muscle
pain (Id. at 8-9).
to Dr. Shah's Declaration, he only saw Garner on two
occasions (October 2, 2012 and April 2, 2013) for the
Hepatitis C clinic (Declaration of Vipin Shah, Doc. 37-2 at
¶¶ 5-6; see Garner's Medical Records,
Doc. 37-2 at pp. 8, 14) and there is no record of Garner
complaining about pain during these examinations (Doc. 37-2
at ¶ 7; see Doc. 37-2 at pp. 8, 14).
Additionally, Dr. Shah maintains that a non-urgent issue such
as muscle pain should be raised through the nursing sick call
process because raising unrelated issues during clinic visits
is not the appropriate way to have the issue addressed (Doc.
37-2 at ¶ 7).
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 determining
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).
Eighth Amendment protects inmates from cruel and unusual
punishment. U.S. Const., amend. VIII; see also Berry v.
Peterman, 604 F.3d 435 (7th Cir. 2010). As the Supreme
Court has recognized, “deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs of prisoners” may constitute
cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). In order
to prevail on such a claim, an inmate must show that he
suffered from a sufficiently serious medical condition
(i.e., an objective standard) and that the defendant
exhibited deliberate indifference to that condition
(i.e., a subjective standard). Id.
medical need is considered objectively serious, if it has
either “been diagnosed by a physician as mandating
treatment, ” is “so obvious that even a lay
person would easily recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention, ” significantly affects an
individual's daily activities, or is associated with
chronic and substantial pain. Gutierrez v. Peters,
111 F.3d 1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997); Hayes v.
Snyder, 546 F.3d 516, 522-23 (7th Cir. 2008).
respect to the second element, an inmate must show that
prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state of
mind, namely, deliberate indifference. Negligence, gross
negligence, or even recklessness will not suffice.
Id. at 653; Shockley v. Jones, 823, F.2d
1068, 1072 (7th Cir. 1987). Rather, the plaintiff must
demonstrate that the officials were “aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists” and that the officials
actually drew that inference. Greeno, 414 F.3d at
653. A plaintiff does not have to prove that his complaints
were “literally ignored, ” but only that
“the defendants' responses were so plainly
inappropriate as to permit the inference that the defendants
intentionally or recklessly disregarded his needs.”
Hayes, 546 F.3d at 524 (quoting Sherrod v.
Lingle, 223 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 2000)).
Shah first argues that summary judgment in his favor is
warranted because Garner's condition does not present an
objectively serious medical need. Dr. Shah relies on
Garner's deposition testimony that he is still able to
engage in his daily living activities. In particular, Garner
testified that he likes to jog and run during yard time, and
is able to walk to chow three times a day (Doc. 37-1 at 5-6).
however, also testified that his muscle spasms bother him
more when he is relaxing or just sitting, and that his muscle
pain and spasms were chronic (Id.). While an
inmate's ability to perform activities of daily living is
a factor to be considered in determining whether a serious
medical need existed, it is not the only consideration. A
jury may reasonably find that an inmate's condition
satisfies the objective component of a deliberate
indifference claim if the condition is associated with
chronic and substantial pain.
Garner describes his muscle pain as “muscle
squishing” that “fe[lt] like burning, ”
with the pain running through his arms and legs (Doc. 37-1 at
7, 9). He also asserts that he has suffered from this
condition for approximately twenty years (Id. at 7).
Again, viewing this evidence in Garner's favor as the
Court is required to do in deciding the instant motion, the
Court finds that a reasonable jury could conclude that he