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Hildreth v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 17, 2018




         This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson, which recommends denying the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc.[1] (“Wexford”) (Doc. 79) and the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Kim Butler and Lori Oakley (Doc. 82). For the following reasons, the Court respectfully rejects the Report and Recommendation and grants both motions.


         Plaintiff Scott Hildreth, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, filed this civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaining Defendants violated his constitutional rights. Hildreth is proceeding on two claims. First, Hildreth claims Defendant Butler, the former Assistant Warden and Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Coordinator at Menard, and Defendant Oakley, a Grievance Officer, discriminated against him and denied him reasonable accommodations for his Parkinson's disease. Specifically, he claims Defendants denied him access to a typewriter or word processor and/or access to the prison law library, in violation of the ADA (Doc. 26). Second, Hildreth claims Defendant Wexford maintains unconstitutional policies, practices, and customs of intentionally not refilling its stock of Parkinson's medicine such that Hildreth's prescriptions can be refilled in a timely manner (Id.). Hildreth alleges his prescription medication has run out multiple times and has not been refilled within a reasonable amount of time, thus causing him to suffer relapses and withdrawal symptoms (Doc. 26). Hildreth claims this practice is motivated by Wexford's deliberate indifference to his and other inmates' medical needs, which are placed at a lower priority than Wexford's business interests and profits (Id.).


         Hildreth was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1996 (Doc. 83-1, p. 18). The disease causes Hildreth to lose his balance, slide out of his chair, and move uncontrollably (Id., pp. 21-22). It also affects his handwriting and causes him to “shuffle” when walking or to freeze up and fall over (Id.).

         Because his handwriting is shaky, Hildreth purchased a typewriter to keep in his cell in order to write court documents and other correspondence. In 2012, the prison confiscated his typewriter because it was considered contraband (Id., pp. 38-39). Hildreth filed a grievance in July 2012 and sought a permit allowing him to possess the typewriter and/or a word processor (Id., p. 143). Grievance Officer Oakley found the grievance moot, stating the issue was discussed with the prison's ADA Coordinators, Assistant Warden Butler, Assistant A. Grott, the Healthcare Unit, and the Warden, and it was determined that the typewriter would not be returned to Hildreth (Id., pp. 40, 50, 143). He would, however, be placed on the automatic call line to the law library when he was 90 days out from a court deadline, he could contact an officer in emergency situations, and a counselor would be making increased contact to assist him (Id.).

         Hildreth testified that the counselor did make increased contact with him, and Defendant Butler gave him three days a week in the law library from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to use the typewriter (Id., p. 42). On October 30, 2014, Hildreth filed another grievance stating that he needed staff assistance to file grievances. In March 2015, Grievance Officer Oakley reviewed the grievance and found it moot, as Hildreth, at that point, was already receiving increased law library access and assistance with his grievances when necessary (Doc. 46-9).

         On July 9, 2015, Hildreth's extra library access was rescinded because he was assigned an ADA attendant to help him write grievances and pleadings (Doc. 83-3). Hildreth went back to attending the law library about once every other week (Doc. 83-1, pp. 45-49). According to Hildreth, the attendant did not have his GED, couldn't spell, and his writing was nearly as sloppy as Hildreth's. Using the attendant is “not even worth it.” (Id., p. 85). The current ADA Coordinator, Angela Crain, attested that if Hildreth does not want to use the ADA attendant, “he can simply request extra library time again in lieu of the attendant and the ADA attendant will then be assigned to another inmate.” (Doc. 83-3).

         Hildreth testified that while he has not missed any court deadlines and has been able to file motions and complaints without a typewriter, he is only able to do a portion of what he used to do, which was spend at least six hours a day working on court filings in his cell (Id., pp. 52-53). Meanwhile, other inmates are given time and supplies in their cells to draft documents, which he cannot do (Id., pp. 50-51).

         Hildreth stated that he sued Defendant Butler because he thinks she improperly denied him access to a typewriter (Id., p. 117). He sued Defendant Oakley because she mooted his grievances, and “[s]he's the only avenue I got to raise the issues . . . And I think she hasn't done her job to help me find avenues to-to correct it.” (Id., p. 119).

         Hildreth's Prescription Medication

         To alleviate the symptoms of Hildreth's Parkinson's disease, a prison doctor prescribed Mirapex. According to Hildreth, Mirapex has made a “day and night” difference for him (Id., pp. 89, 92). Hildreth takes Mirapex three times a day and receives his pills monthly, meaning he receives 90 pills at a time (Id. pp. 89-90).

         Hildreth is supposed to see the doctor every six months to have his prescription renewed, but he testified that he thought the doctor sometimes automatically renewed it (Id., p. 94). To refill his monthly prescription, Hildreth must turn in the refill sticker within seven days of the end of the prescription to a nurse or a medic, who then takes it to the pharmacy (Id., p. 90). Hildreth usually receives his refill when he has three to five days of medication left (Id., p. 91). He testified that if the medicine is not there by then, he knows he's “got problems.” (Id.). He would tell his gallery officer, who would then instruct him to tell the nurse on duty; however, the nurses would tell him to wait and see if it comes in time (Id.). If the Mirapex did not come in time, then he would file a grievance (Id.). Hildreth testified he would begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms the second day, “if not late in the first day, ” without his medication (Id., pp. 95-96).

         According to Hildreth, his Mirapex prescription lapsed “at least three times” (Id., pp. 93, 103). The longest amount of time he went without Mirapex was at least ten days. (Id., p. 95). Without his medication, Hildreth experiences hot flashes, poor balance, stiffness, ticks and shakiness, and his gait becomes shuffled. He has freezing episodes, where his body can't move, so he stays in his cell and eats food from the commissary rather than walking to chow for meals (Id., p. 98).

         The record contains three grievances[2] in which Hildreth complained of a lapse in receiving his Parkinson's medication. Hildreth testified that he wrote a grievance dated April 8, 2014, stating he was out of his Parkinson's medication again. The grievance was determined by the Warden to be an emergency (Doc. 83-1, p. 72). The Warden responded that the Healthcare Unit said Hildreth was seen on the doctor call line on April 9, 2014, and that his medication was renewed for one year (Id.). Hildreth explained that while his prescription may have been renewed on that date, he would not have received it that day. Rather, it would have been ordered on April 9 to be received later (Id., p. 73).

         Hildreth wrote a second grievance regarding his Mirapex prescription on October 25, 2014 (Id., p. 76). Within this grievance, Hildreth stated he was about to run out of his prescription for Mirapex, which can cause adverse side effects (Doc. 46-6). Hildreth testified he probably had two or three days' worth of medication left when he wrote the grievance (Doc. 83-1, p. 100). The Warden expedited this grievance as an emergency (Doc. 46-6). The Grievance Officer then contacted the Healthcare Unit, which stated that Hildreth received his Mirapex on October 30, 2014 (Doc. 83-1, p. 76).

         Hildreth's third grievance is dated November 16, 2015 (Doc. 43-4). Hildreth wrote that he had been out of his Parkinson's medication since November 13 (Id.). The Warden determined that this grievance would be handled on an expedited basis, and the Grievance Officer responded on November 23, 2015, finding the grievance moot (Doc. 43-5). The Healthcare Unit Administrator had advised the Grievance Officer that Hildreth's non-formulary prescription had expired and the request to continue using Mirapex was sent to the pharmacy (Id.). The Healthcare Unit was “waiting to hear back.” (Id.). The Warden concurred in the decision on November 25, 2015 (Id.). The record is silent as to when Hildreth received his prescription.

         Hildreth also supplied the Court with an affidavit from Michael McGowan, a fellow inmate at Menard who lived in the same gallery as Hildreth. McGowan attests that he overheard conversations between Hildreth and who he believed to be Wexford nurses on two occasions (Doc. 84-3). The contents of these conversations are inadmissible hearsay, however, and may not be relied upon to defeat summary judgment. See Fed. R. Evid. 802; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4); Maddox v. Jones,370 Fed.Appx. 716, 720 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Haywood v. Lucent Technologies, Inc., 323 F.3d 524, 533 (7th Cir. ...

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