United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge.
James Harrington, a former inmate in the custody of the
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”),
filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
his constitutional rights were violated while he was
incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center
(“Vandalia”). Plaintiff alleges he was denied
adequate treatment for his serious dental condition.
Plaintiff is proceeding against Dr. John Sones and Nurse Jacy
Fulk for deliberate indifference.
Sones and Nurse Fulk filed motions for summary judgment that
are now before the Court (Docs. 58 and 74). Harrington timely
responded to Defendants' motions (Docs. 65 and 80). For
the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motions are
November 2013, while incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional
Center (“Vandalia”), Plaintiff James Harrington
experienced stiffness in the left side of his body and was
escorted to the healthcare unit on an emergency basis
(Deposition of James Harrington, Doc. 59-3, p. 5). Harrington
contends Nurse Jacy Fulk came into the exam room and, after
he explained that the left side of his body was stiff and he
could not move his neck or jaw, she told him, “It's
not a life-or-death situation” and directed him to go
back to his dorm and fill out a request form (Id. at
9). Nurse Fulk did not perform an examination and did not
refer Harrington to be seen by a doctor (Id. at 9,
44). It is not clear what day this interaction occurred, but
Harrington believes it was within one week before seeing the
dentist, Dr. Sones, which occurred on November 29, 2013
(Id. at 16, 44). Harrington did not fill out a
medical request form, explaining that he purchased pain
medication from the commissary a few hours after seeing Nurse
Fulk, which resolved his pain (Id. at 10).
November 29, 2013, the left side of Harrington's face was
swollen and he was again taken to the healthcare unit for
evaluation, where he was seen by Defendant Dr. Sones (Doc.
59-3 at 10-11, 44; see James Harrington's
Medical Records, Doc. 59-1, p. 1, 5). Harrington complained
that his “face swelled up bad” the previous
afternoon, and Dr. Sones observed severe swelling from the
edge of Harrington's upper lip over the cheekbone to the
back of the arch of tooth #16 (top left wisdom tooth)
(Deposition of Dr. Jonathan Sones, Doc. 59-2 at 15;
see Doc. 59-1 at 1, 5). After examining
Harrington's mouth and reviewing his panoramic x-rays,
Dr. Sones determined Harrington suffered from severe
swelling, severe periodontal disease, and severe decay
throughout the four quadrants of his mouth (Doc. 59-2 at 15).
Dr. Sones also found that teeth #s 4, 14, and 21 were
actively infected (Id. at 15-16). Based on this
assessment, Dr. Sones determined that all of Harrington's
remaining teeth needed to be extracted as they were not
viable or salvageable (Id. at 17-18; see
Doc. 59-1 at 1, 5). Harrington, however, contends that Dr.
Sones did not tell him that all of his teeth needed to be
extracted on this date (Doc. 59-3 at 27). It is undisputed
that Dr. Sones ordered the administration of Unasyn (an IV
antibiotic), Pen VK (an oral antibiotic), and Motrin (a
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory) (Doc. 59-2 at 15; Doc. 59-3
at 26; see Doc. 59-1 at 1, 5). The antibiotics were
prescribed to treat the infection, prior to extraction, and
Motrin was prescribed to address any discomfort or pain (Doc.
59-2 at 15; see Doc. 59-1 at 1, 5). An immediate
extraction was not scheduled due to the severity of
Harrington's infection and swelling (Doc. 59-2 at 17).
receiving antibiotics, Harrington saw Dr. Sones for his
extraction on December 2, 2013 (Doc. 59-3 at 27; Doc. 59-2 at
17; see Doc. 59-1 at 5). It is undisputed that Dr.
Sones extracted teeth #s 4, 14, and 21 (Id.).
Harrington contends that after these teeth were extracted,
Dr. Sones told him, for the first time, that the rest of his
teeth also needed to be extracted (Doc. 59-3 at 28).
Harrington refused (Id.; see Doc. 59-1 at
14). After this extraction, Harrington's partial denture
no longer fit in his mouth, but Dr. Sones would not provide a
new partial denture (Doc. 59-3 at 46).
saw Dr. Sones again on June 19, 2014 and October 21, 2014
(Doc. 59-3 at 32; see Doc. 59-1 at 7). During these
appointments, Harrington requested a new partial denture and
indicated he had difficulty eating, but Dr. Sones refused,
offering only his initial recommendation of extracting the
remainder of Harrington's teeth, letting the extractions
heal, and then fitting him for a complete set of dentures
(Doc. 59-3 at 33-35). It does not appear that Dr. Sones saw
Harrington after October 21, 2014.
October 31, 2014, Harrington was seen by another dentist, Dr.
Sandhu, who noted that he had very poor oral hygiene and was
leaving his partial denture in “24/7, ” which was
causing inflammation of the upper gingival tissues and palate
(Doc. 59-2 at 37; see Doc. 59-1 at 8-9). Dr.
Sandhu's examination was limited to Harrington's
upper arch, and he recommended a full upper extraction and a
full upper denture (Id.). However, Dr. Sandhu noted
that he would add teeth to Harrington's upper partial
denture, but this could not be done until his oral hygiene
improved (Doc. 59-2 at 38; see Doc. 59-1 at 9). On
November 10, 2014, Dr. Sandhu noted that Harrington's
oral hygiene had improved and he explained to Harrington that
he would add teeth to his upper denture; however, Harrington
declined, due to Dr. Sandhu's concern that the denture
may not fit when it came back from the factory (Doc. 59-3 at
48; Doc. 59-2 at 38; see Doc. 59-1 at 9, 11).
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).
assessing 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). The Seventh
Circuit has remarked that summary judgment “is the put
up or shut up moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show
what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to
accept its version of events.” Steen v. Myers et.
al, 486 F.3d 1017, 1022 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Hammel v. Eau Galle Cheese Factory, 407
F.3d 852, 859 (7th Cir. 2005) (other citations omitted)).