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Justi v. Shah

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 20, 2018

PATRICK JUSTI, Plaintiff,
v.
VIPIN SHAH, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se Plaintiff Patrick Justi brings claims against Defendant Vipin Shah for deliberate indifference in the treatment of his left elbow and right shoulder pain. This matter is currently before the Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Docs. 58 and 59). Plaintiff has filed a response (Doc. 65) in opposition to the motion.

         This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams by United States District Judge J. Phil Gilbert pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B) and (c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and Local Rule 72.1(a). Based on the following, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court GRANT Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on April 11, 2016 alleging deliberate indifference by Defendant Vipin Shah in the treatment of Plaintiff's elbow and shoulder pain (Doc. 1). At that time of Plaintiff's treatment, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center (Doc. 59-1, p. 3). Plaintiff testified that prior to his incarceration, in 2012, he suffered an injury to his left bicep from lifting weights, and suffered a torn distal tendon (Id. at p. 4). His tendon, where it attaches to the elbow, snapped while lifting (Id.). He also had a previous shoulder injury which was documented by an MRI in 2008 (Id.). He was diagnosed at that time with a right shoulder impingement, subacromial bursitis, and rotator cuff tendinitis and was prescribed physical therapy (Doc. 1, p. 43). He previously received physical therapy in the form of light weights for his distal tendon in February 2014, prior to his incarceration, with Dr. Tracy DeLucia and had been released to start exercising again (Doc. 59-1, p. 5). Plaintiff later testified that he had not sought treatment for his right shoulder since 2008 because his shoulder felt better (Doc. 59-1, p. 8).

         Plaintiff initially saw Dr. Shah for pain in his left elbow on December 27, 2014 (Doc. 59-1, p. 5). Plaintiff had been performing body weight exercises, specifically dips, when his elbow started hurting (Id. at p. 7). Plaintiff described himself as having been a body builder/weightlifter for many years (Doc. 1, p. 41; Doc. 59-1, p. 4). Plaintiff initially saw the nurse on December 23, 2014 and was referred to Dr. Shah (Doc. 65, p. 31). The nurse noted that Plaintiff had previously torn his left distal tendon but that his elbow was now hurting (Id.). The nurse prescribed Plaintiff Acetaminophen (Id.; Doc. 59-1, p. 6).

         Plaintiff testified that Dr. Shah did not prescribe Plaintiff any treatment for his elbow. Dr. Shah noted that Plaintiff had a BMI of 30.5 and instructed Plaintiff that he was obese and needed to lose weight (Doc. 65, p. 32; 59-1, p. 6). Plaintiff testified that he weighs 195 pounds and while his weight may fluctuate ten pounds in either direction, he consistently maintains a weight of 195 pounds (Doc. 59-1, p. 6). Plaintiff's medical records from his 2008 orthopedic consult indicates that he is 5 foot 9 inches (Doc. 1, p. 41). The medical records note that Plaintiff requested physical therapy and Shah instructed Plaintiff to do the exercises on his own (Doc. 65, p. 32). Dr. Shah also prescribed ibuprofen for Plaintiff's pain (Id.).

         Plaintiff next presented for sick call on February 13, 2015 (Doc. 65, p. 33). In addition to his elbow pain, Plaintiff complained of pain in his right shoulder (Doc. 59-1, p. 7). The nurse prescribed Plaintiff ibuprofen, cold compress, and instructed him to avoid lifting and strenuous activities (Doc. 65, p. 33). Plaintiff saw Dr. Shah on February 14, 2015 (Doc. 65, p. 34). Plaintiff noted that he previously had an MRI of his right shoulder (Id.). At that time, Dr. Shah requested Plaintiff's medical records from his previous orthopedist (Id.; Doc. 59-1, p. 7). He did not prescribe physical therapy or medications at that time (Id.). By that time, Plaintiff had stopped doing body weight exercises due to the pain in his left elbow (Doc. 59-1, p. 7). Dr. Shah rescheduled Plaintiff for a visit in three weeks (Doc. 65, p. 34).

         Dr. Shah received Plaintiff's records in April 2015 and noted on April 4, 2015 that Plaintiff's MRI from 2008 showed a previous injury to his right shoulder (Doc. 65, p. 35). Plaintiff was instructed to exercise, lose weight, and to return to the healthcare unit as needed (Id.). Plaintiff testified that Dr. Shah's only plan was to attack Plaintiff's obesity (Doc. 59-1, p. 8). He indicated that Dr. Shah did not show Plaintiff any range of motion exercises for his arm or shoulder, nor did he provide him with any examples of stretching exercises he could do to alleviate his pain (Id.).

         Plaintiff continued to receive treatment while at Robinson Correctional Center, although not from Dr. Shah (Doc. 65, p. 36-49). On June 11, 2015, Plaintiff was seen by the nurse for continued pain in his elbow and shoulder (Doc. 65, p. 43). He was prescribed medication and educated on weight lifting (Id.). He was also referred to the doctor which he saw on June 18, 2015 (Id. at p. 44). That doctor prescribed naproxen, warm soaks, no weight lifting, and ordered an x-ray (Id.). The x-ray completed on June 23, 2015 showed features consistent with rotator cuff impingement syndrome (Id. at p. 45). With the x-ray findings, Plaintiff was ordered pain medication and exercises as well as warm soaks (Id. at p. 48). The medical records indicate that Plaintiff chose not to take the medications or follow the exercise regime prescribed to him (Id.). Plaintiff transferred to Jacksonville Correctional center in July 2015 (Doc. 59-1, p. 11). He was seen by a physician there in October 2015 where he received an outside consult for physical therapy to learn an exercise program for his right shoulder (Doc. 65, p. 52).

         Legal Standards

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs summary judgment motions. Summary judgment is appropriate only if the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Doe, 743 F.3d 1101, 1105 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating - based on the pleadings, affidavits and/or information obtained via discovery - the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). After a properly supported motion for summary judgment is filed, the ...


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