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Williams v. Kelly

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

April 23, 2018

ROBERT WILLIAMS #N03588, Plaintiff,



         On June 10, 2016, Plaintiff Robert Williams, by counsel, brought a one-count First Amended Complaint against Defendants Dr. Jonathan Kelly (“Dr. Kelly”) and Wexford Health Source, Inc. (“Wexford”) alleging deprivations of his Eighth Amendment rights in relation to his medical care while he was incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), which is part of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motion for summary judgment.


         I. Introduction

         Williams, who is 56-years-old, is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), although during the relevant time period, he was incarcerated at Stateville. (R. 69, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 3; R. 74, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.) Defendant Wexford employed Dr. Kelly as a Stateville correctional psychiatrist from 2011 through August 2016. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 4, 5; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 4.) Williams alleges that at least eleven IDOC mental health care providers prescribed him Risperdal (Risperidone), but none of them advised him of certain potential side effects of the medication until March 2014. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 7.) Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug and Williams' IDOC mental health care providers prescribed Risperdal to treat his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 5, 14; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 8.) In this lawsuit, Williams asserts that he has developed gynecomastia as a result of taking Risperdal. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 9.) In general, gynecomastia is increased breast tissue, that can be painful, and Risperdal's side effects include both glandular gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomostia. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 19; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 33.)

         II. Williams' Treatment at Stateville

         On December 19, 2012 - after Williams was transferred from Menard Correctional Center to Stateville - he had his initial visit with Dr. Kelly. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 25.) At that time, Dr. Kelly documented that Williams was under the care of Dr. Kartan at Menard prior to his transfer and that Williams was taking Risperdal. (Id. ¶ 26.) Dr. Kelly continued to prescribe Williams Risperdal after this initial visit. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 17.) Also on December 19, 2012, Williams signed a form entitled “Mental Treatment Plan” in which he accepted the medical plan. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 27.) Williams denies that Dr. Kelly informed him that gynecomastia is a potential side effect of taking Risperdal. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 33.) Dr. Kelly testified that it was his standard procedure to orally inform patients of common potential risks and side effects when prescribing medications. (Id. ¶ 20.) Also, Dr. Kelly testified that he began informing patients about gynecomastia as a potential side effect of Risperdal once the connection was supported by outside studies, which was around 2006. (Id. ¶ 24; R. 69-2, Kelly Dep., at 99.)

         On March 5, 2014, when Dr. Kelly asked Williams about his medications' side effects, Williams showed Dr. Kelly his swollen breasts. (Id. ¶ 31; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 26.) After Dr. Kelly observed Williams' gynecomastia on that date, he discontinued prescribing Williams Risperdal, and instead prescribed Depakote. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 30; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 27, 28.) Dr. Kelly's response to Williams' concerns about his increased breast tissue was to discontinue Risperdal and monitor for changes. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 35.)[1] It is undisputed that the only time Williams mentioned his swollen breasts to Dr. Kelly was on March 5, 2014. (Id. ¶ 31.) Prior to March 2014, various Stateville medical personnel asked Williams if he was experiencing any side effects from his medications, to which he answered no. (Id. ¶ 29.) IDOC transferred Williams to Pontiac in April 2015. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 2.)


         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). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, “facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a ‘genuine' dispute as to those facts.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After “a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party ‘must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quotation omitted). If the non-moving party “‘fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial, ' summary judgment must be granted.” Blow v. Bijora, Inc., 855 F.3d 793, 797-98 (7th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted).


         I. Exhaustion

         Defendants first argue that Williams has failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The “benefits of exhaustion … include allowing a prison to address complaints about the program it administers before being subjected to suit, reducing litigation to the extent complaints are satisfactorily resolved, and improving litigation that does occur by leading to the preparation of a useful record.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 219 (2007); see also Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002) (“Congress enacted § 1997e(a) to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of prisoner suits; to this purpose, Congress afforded corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case.”). Failure to exhaust under the PLRA is an affirmative defense that Defendants must prove, see Davis v. Mason, 881 F.3d 982, 985 (7th Cir. 2018), and “[u]nexhausted claims are procedurally barred from consideration.” Pyles v. Nwaobasi, 829 F.3d 860, 864 (7th Cir. 2016); see also Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88, 93 (2006). “The PLRA does not, however, demand the impossible, ” and thus, “[r]emedies that are genuinely unavailable or nonexistent need not be exhausted.” Pyles, 829 F.3d at 864; see also Weiss v. Barribeau, 853 F.3d 873, 875 (7th Cir. 2017) (“Obviously prisoners can't be required to exhaust remedies that are unavailable to them[.]”).

         Each state sets its own prison grievance system, see Jones, 549 U.S. at 218, and “[a] prisoner must comply with the specific procedures and deadlines established by the prison's policy.” King v. McCarthy, 781 F.3d 889, 893 (7th Cir. 2015). “Illinois has created a three-stage process for its inmates.” Pyles, 829 F.3d at 864; see also 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.800, et seq. “Step one requires the inmate to attempt to resolve the problem through his or her counselor.” Pyles, 829 F.3d at 864. “If that does not resolve the problem, the inmate must invoke step two, which involves the filing of a written grievance with a grievance officer … within 60 days after discovery of the problem.” Id.; see also Roberts v. Neal, 745 F.3d 232, 235 (7th Cir. 2014) (“a grievance shall be filed within 60 days after the discovery of the incident, occurrence, or problem that gives rise to the grievance.”). If the grievance officer denies the grievance and the ...

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