United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
VINCENT E. TRIMBLE, Plaintiff,
RANDY GROUNDS, DANA TYLKA, SUSAN KERR, DR. JANSSEN WILLIAMS, DR. VIPIN SHAH, and DEE DEE BROOKHART, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
Vincent Trimble, 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
Eighth Amendment constitutional right to adequate medical
care was denied while he was incarcerated at Robinson
Correctional Center (“Robinson”). Specifically,
Trimble alleges that he suffered from a serious lumbar spine
injury and was denied access to the medical gym by Defendants
Randy Grounds, Dana Tylka, Dee Dee Brookhart, Susan Kerr, Dr.
Janssen Williams, and Dr. Vipin Shah. He also alleges that
Dr. Williams and Dr. Shah failed to prescribe adequate pain
medication following his January 17, 2014 lumbar surgery.
the Court are Defendants Dr. Williams and Dr. Shah's
(“the Wexford Defendants”) Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 86) and Defendants Brookhart, Grounds, Kerr,
and Tylka's (“the IDOC Defendants”) Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. 91). Trimble filed Responses to
both motions (Docs. 90 and 93). For the following reasons,
Defendants Williams and Shah's Motion is GRANTED
in part and DENIED in part, and Defendants
Brookhart, Grounds, Kerr, and Tylka's Motion is
claims arise from his incarceration at Robinson from August
2012 to November 2014 (Deposition of Vincent Trimble, Doc.
92-1, p. 9). Trimble, who has suffered from back injuries
since 1993, underwent an MRI of his lumbar spine on March 15,
2013 (Id. at 4; see Doc. 87-10 at 1). The
MRI revealed that Trimble suffered from a herniated disc at
the L3-4 level (Deposition of Dr. Vipin Shah, Doc. 90-1 at 2;
see Doc. 87-10 at 1). Following this diagnosis,
Trimble was in the care of Dr. James Harms, a physician with
the Carle Foundation Hospital (See Doc. 90-6).
Harms regularly saw Trimble from May 2013 to June 2014 to
address his back condition (See id.). On January 17,
2014, Dr. Harms performed a laminectomy at the L3-4 level
(Doc. 92-1 at 4; see Doc. 90-6 at 25-26). Both
before and after surgery, Dr. Harms recommended that Trimble
engage in a regular exercise program that would “do
something for his flexibility, something for his abdominal
and back muscles, and something for his cardiovascular
fitness” (Id. at 36; Doc. 92-1 at 11, 23). Dr.
Harms provided Trimble with a “back owner's
manual” that recommended he complete various stretching
exercises (Id. at 11; see Doc. 92-8). In
order to complete his exercises, Trimble attempted to access
the medical gym, but was often denied access (Doc. 92-1 at
6). Trimble's claims of deliberate indifference relate to
the denial of access to the medical gym and denial of certain
pain medications prescribed by Dr. Harms following his
January 18, 2014, Defendant Dr. Shah approved an order for
Vistaril (an anti-anxiety medication) and Robaxin (a muscle
relaxant), medications that were prescribed by Dr. Harms
(Doc. 87-2 at 10; see Doc. 87-10 at 6 and Doc. 90-6
at 28-29). Dr. Shah did not, however, provide an order for
Trimble to receive acetaminophen with codeine, which was also
prescribed by Dr. Harms (Doc. 92-1 at 6; see Doc.
87-10 at 6 and Doc. 90-6 at 29). At some point following his
surgery, Trimble asked Dr. Shah for Tylenol with codeine, but
was told that the medication was not allowed at the
institution (Doc. 92-1 at 6).
January 31, 2014, Trimble saw Defendant Dr. Williams for a
surgical follow-up examination (Doc. 87-5 at 13; see
Doc. 87-10 at 8). Dr. Williams prescribed Flexeril (a muscle
relaxant) and Lortab (Tylenol with oxycodone) (Doc. 87-5 at
12-13; see Doc. 87-10 at 8). Although not documented
in his medical records, Trimble testified that he saw Dr.
Williams on February 5, 2014, and they discussed his pain
medication (Doc. 92-1 at 8). After a review of Dr. Harms'
orders, Dr. Williams indicated that Trimble had not been
prescribed the amount of medication ordered by Dr. Harms and
he would write him a new prescription order; however, Trimble
never received the prescribed medication (Id.).
subsequent follow-up visit on February 19, 2014, Dr. Williams
conducted a physical exam and noted there was no pain or
tenderness in Trimble's back (Doc. 87-5 at 14). However,
Dr. Williams determined Trimble was experiencing neurological
pain due to nerve compression, and prescribed Elavil, an
anti-depressant used to treat nerve pain (neuropathy)
(Id. at 14-15; see Doc. 87-10 at 10).
Williams discontinued the Elavil during his March 14, 2014
examination because Trimble was not taking it (Doc. 87-5 at
19; see Doc. 87-10 at 17). He last saw Trimble (in
relation to the claims in this lawsuit) on April 18, 2014, at
which time Trimble requested a renewal of his Flexeril
prescription (Doc. 87-5 at 20; see Doc. 87-10 at
22). Because Trimble had been taking Flexeril for three weeks
and it is not recommended for more than seven days, Dr.
Williams denied Trimble's request and prescribed Tylenol
for six months instead (Doc. 87-5 at 20; see Doc.
87-10 at 22). During one of these follow-up examinations,
Trimble asked Dr. Williams for Tylenol with codeine and any
other medications prescribed by Dr. Harms that were not
dispensed, but Dr. Williams denied his request and told him
that “the institution had the right to deny any orders
from outside doctors” (Doc. 92-1 at 8).
to his back surgery, Trimble was issued a pass for the
medical gym from August 16, 2013 to November 16, 2013
(Deposition of Dr. Janssen Williams, Doc. 90-2, p. 2). On
November 14, 2013, Trimble submitted a request to extend his
medical gym pass, but his request was denied by Dr. Williams
(Doc. 87-5 at 10; see Doc. 87-3 at 5). Dr. Williams
was not able to renew Trimble's gym pass without first
conducting a physical examination (Doc. 87-5 at 10).
November 20, 2013, Dr. Lochard, a non-defendant physician,
renewed Trimble's pass for the medical gym after
conducting a physical examination (Doc. 92-1 at 4;
see Doc. 87-3 at 4 and Doc. 87-10 at 4). This pass
was valid at all times relevant to this lawsuit
medical gym at Robinson is held six days per week, one hour
per day (Doc. 92-1 at 10). It is held in the standard gym,
but is limited to inmates with ADA disabilities or handicaps
that impede their ability to use the facilities during
standard gym time (Id.). The gym includes equipment
such as stretch bands, mats, and medicine balls
(Id.). It is unknown whether all of the equipment
available during medical gym is available for the regular
gym, but it is held in the same space as there is only one
gym unit at Robinson (Id.). Trimble never attempted
to go to the regular gym because he would not have been able
to compete for the equipment and was often using a wheelchair
to ambulate (Id. at 22-23, 27).
having a valid medical gym pass, Trimble was routinely denied
access because he was not on the list. Trimble asked Dr. Shah
and Dr. Williams to allow him access to the medical gym, both
before and after his January 17, 2014 surgery, but they
failed to take any action (Id. at 5, 7). He spoke
with Dr. Williams on one or two occasions, and spoke with Dr.
Shah two or three times about this issue before giving up and
writing a grievance complaining about the same on May 1, 2014
(Id. at 7-8; see Doc. 87-3 at 11). ...