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Hunt v. Orange Crush Officers

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 20, 2018

LESHURN HUNT, Plaintiff,
v.
ORANGE CRUSH OFFICERS, DOCTOR VIPIN SHAH, T PEEK, WARDEN THOMAS SPILLER, and PINCKNEYVILLE MEDICAL STAFF JANE AND JOHN DOES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on a Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson (Doc. 49), which recommends that the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Vipin Shah and Tracy Peek[1] (Docs. 42 and 43) be granted. The Report and Recommendation was entered on June 1, 2018. Defendants Shah and Peek filed a timely objection to the Report and Recommendation on June 15, 2018 (Doc. 50).

         Preliminary Matter

         As recommended by Magistrate Judge Wilkerson, the Court construes the document filed by Plaintiff Leshurn Hunt on December 19, 2017 (at Doc. 44) to be a Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, rather than a Cross Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Factual Background

         Defendants Shah and Peek filed a Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff Leshurn Hunt's (“Hunt”) claims against them, which are alleged within Count 2 of his Complaint. In Count 2, Hunt alleges an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by certain Unknown Orange Crush Officers and nurses, as well as by Shah and Peek (Doc. 6, p. 5).

         During a search conducted on March 10, 2014 or March 13, 2014, Hunt's housing unit at Pinckneyville was searched by the Orange Crush Tactical Team (Doc. 43-1, p. 5). During that search, an unknown Orange Crush officer forcefully grabbed Hunt's left arm and pushed him to the ground, causing injury (Doc. 43-1, p. 11, 17). Specifically, Hunt experienced a sharp pain in his left arm and lower back (Doc. 43-1, p. 22). This pain continued so Hunt submitted various sick call request slips following the incident (Id.). On March 18, 2014, a nurse came to Hunt's cell and examined him during lockdown (Doc. 43-1, p. 22, Doc. 43-4, p. 12). The note indicates that Hunt complained of arm discomfort and his hand was warm, but his hand was normal in color and moved easily (Doc. 43-4, p. 12). The nurse discussed Hunt's complaints with Shah, who did not examine Hunt at this time, but prescribed Tylenol for the pain (Id.). Shah also recommended Hunt follow up with nurse sick call if the pain continues (Id.).

         Hunt continued to put in sick call requests for his pain (Doc. 43-1, p. 24). On March 26, 2014, Hunt was seen during nurse sick call for complaints of painful hemorrhoid complications and referred to the doctor (Doc. 43-4, p. 14). The next day, on March 27, 2014, Hunt was seen by Shah for hemorrhoid treatment (Doc. 43-4, p. 16). Hunt explained in his deposition that he was supposed to be seen at this time for his arm and back pain as well, as he specified this on his request slips (Doc. 43-1, p. 24; Doc. 44, p. 50, 52). During his meeting with Shah on March 27, 2014, Hunt told Shah that his arm and back still hurt, but Shah responded that Hunt was not there for that and told him to leave (Doc. 43-1, p. 24-25).

         The next time Hunt was seen by a nurse for his back and arm pain was on April 5, 2014; he was given Motrin (Doc. 43-4, p. 18). On April 19, 2014, Hunt was again seen by a nurse for back and arm pain (Doc. 43-4, p. 21). This time, he was referred to Shah (Id.). At an appointment on April 22, 2014, Shah examined Hart's arm and back and determined that he was not displaying any acute injuries or swelling (Doc. 43-4, p. 22; Doc. 43-1, p. 26; Doc. 43-2, p. 3). Shah prescribed Ibuprofen and ordered an x-ray of Hart's spine (Doc. 43-4, p. 22; Doc. 43-2, p. 3). An x-ray was performed on April 23, 2014. It showed degenerative changes to Hunt's spine, but did not show any acute injuries or fractures (Doc. 43-2, p. 3). Based on Shah's examination of the x-ray results, he did not think that additional treatments were medically necessary (Id.).

         Hunt submitted another sick call request on April 24, 2014, relating to his back and arm pain (Doc. 44, p. 51). An appointment was then scheduled for June 5, 2014, but Hunt did not show up (Doc. 43-4, p. 23). On June 11, 2014, Hunt was seen by Peek for pain in his lower spine (Doc. 43-1, p. 28). Peek's note shows that Hunt had no gait disturbance and was able to lean forward and straighten up without any distress or acute discomfort (Id.). She indicates that Hunt demanded to be seen by a doctor and refused medication (Id.). Hunt indicates, however, that she falsified her report, refused to examine him, and did not offer him any medication (Doc. 43-1, p. 28).

         The Report and Recommendation

         Magistrate Judge Wilkerson recommends denying Defendants' motion for summary judgment in its entirety. As to Shah, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson found that Hunt raised claims against Shah in both his role as Hunt's treating physician and his role as the medical director at Pinckneyville. Magistrate Judge Wilkerson specifically concluded that, as to Hunt's claim against Shah as his treating physician, a jury could find that Shah knowingly refused treatment and persisted in a course of treatment known to be ineffective. As to the claim against Shah as the medical director at Pinckneyville, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson found that material issues of fact exist as to Shah's responsibilities and knowledge regarding the disregarded medical request slips. As to Peek, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson concluded that a reasonable jury could find that Peek refused to provide Hunt with pain medication and refused to conduct an exam and such treatment could constitute deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.

         Discussion

         Where timely objections are filed, the Court must undertake a de novo review of the Report and Recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); SDIL-LR 73.1(b); Harper v. City of Chicago Heights, 824 F.Supp. 786, 788 (N.D. Ill. 1993); seealso Govas v. Chalmers, 965 F.2d 298, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). The Court “may accept, reject or modify the magistrate judge's recommended decision.” Harper, 824 F.Supp. at 788. In making this determination, the Court must look at all of the evidence contained in the record and give fresh consideration to those issues to which ...


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