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Butler v. Deal

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

July 30, 2018

KENDRICK BUTLER Plaintiff,
v.
ADAM DEAL Defendant.

          ORDER & OPINION

          JOE BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Adam Deal. (Doc. 74). The motion has been fully briefed. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         Background

         Plaintiff Kendrick Butler is an inmate currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”). On March 12, 2015, Butler filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Pontiac Correctional Officer Adam Deal and Pontiac Medical Technician Jaculynn Lane. (Doc. 4). The Complaint stated that, prior to Plaintiff's transfer on November 29, 2013, to Pontiac, Plaintiff suffered wrist injuries from excessive force inflicted by officers at his prior institution, Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Id. at 8. Plaintiff also stated that he had high blood pressure, asthma and back injuries unrelated to the excessive force that were well-documented at Menard. Id.

         Plaintiff alleged that when he arrived at Pontiac, Lane neglected to treat him for his medical conditions; specifically, he did not receive an inhaler for his asthma until January 2014. Id. Plaintiff also alleged that he complained to Officer Deal throughout December 2013 about his medical conditions, but was not treated. Id. Butler further stated that he was scheduled for sick call and a cell-house change on December 15, 2013. Id. When Officer Deal arrived to transfer Plaintiff to a new cell house, Plaintiff alleged that he told Deal he was in pain and suffering from asthma problems, and that he wanted to make his medical appointment. Id. at 8-9. Butler claimed that Deal became angry, refused to let him attend his medical appointment, and instead cuffed Plaintiff excessively hard. Id. at 9. He claimed Deal ignored Plaintiff's wrist injuries and intentionally cuffed him so tight that the circulation was cut off. Id. Plaintiff stated that Lane subsequently saw Plaintiff's wrist injuries from his interaction with Deal, but refused to treat him. Id. at 10.

         On May 12, 2015, the Court issued a Merit Review Order concluding that Butler stated claims for excessive force and deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against Officer Deal and a claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against Lane. (Doc. 7).

         On August 21, 2015, Defendant Lane filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Butler failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to his claim against her. (Doc. 15). The Court agreed, and granted judgment as a matter of law in Lane's favor on January 12, 2016. (Doc. 22).

         On June 15, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Request Counsel as to his remaining claims against Officer Deal. (Doc. 38). On September 14, 2017, the Court entered a Text Order notifying Plaintiff that his case was selected for appointment of the University of Illinois Law School Federal Civil Rights Clinic (“UI”) to represent him. See 9/14/2017 Text Order. On September 25, 2017, Butler filed a response to the Court's Text Order, in which he accepted UI's appointment. (Doc. 44). Law students Arthur Haynes and Loren Jones were appointed to represent Butler. See 9/29/2017 Text Order.

         Unfortunately, on March 2, 2018, Plaintiff's counsel filed a motion to withdraw, citing an irretrievable breakdown in the attorney-client relationship and stating that Ms. Jones was no longer comfortable or capable of continuing representation. (Doc. 59 at 1). The motion further explained that UI was unwilling to have other students from its clinic represent Plaintiff. Id. On March 6, 2018, the Court granted counsel's motion to withdraw, see 3/6/2018 Text Order, and Plaintiff has since proceeded pro se in this matter.

         On June 27, 2018, the Court entered a Text Order stating that there was reason to suggest that the claims against Officer Deal were amenable to disposition by summary judgment, and therefore ordered Defendant to file a motion for summary judgment on or before July 6, 2018. See 6/27/2018 Text Order.

         On July 6, 2018, Officer Deal filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact on either of his claims. (Doc. 74). Officer Deal further argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity. Id. Plaintiff's response was due on July 27, 2018, and he did not file his response until July 30, 2018. (Doc. 76). While Butler's response was untimely, the Court still considered it. This matter is now ripe for decision.

         Material Facts

         Butler was transferred from Menard to Pontiac on November 29, 2013. Deposition Kendrick Butler, 9:8-12 (Doc. 74-2). Butler had a history of hypertension and asthma. Prior to being transferred, Plaintiff had a ganglion cyst on his right wrist and he suffered a left wrist fracture in August 2012. Id. 11:17-19; 51:10-12. Plaintiff claims that he had recent wrist injuries from excessive force inflicted on him by Menard correctional officers just before his transfer. Id. 11:7-15. He claims that Menard officers left handcuffs on him for more than three days at a time, which caused pain. Id. He claims he was prescribed Ibuprofen at Menard for swelling in his wrists and ankles. Id. 15:18-22-16:2-17.

         Butler testified that when he arrived at Pontiac he was not seen by medical staff, although Butler's medical records indicate that he was seen by a Nurse Brown on November 29, 2013, when he arrived. Id. 12:17-14-13:1-16. Medical records indicate that Nurse Brown noted asthma, hypertension, a ganglion cyst in Butler's right wrist, and a former fracture in Butler's left wrist and jawbone. (Doc. 74-5). The record indicates no physicals disabilities or limitations. Id.

         Butler does not recall exactly when he had made sick calls between November 29, 2013, and December 12, 2013, though Butler claims he made multiple requests to be seen for his high blood pressure and asthma, but he was not provided medical assistance. Butler Dep., 13:21-24-14:10-16. Butler claims that he gave “messages” to Officer Deal about needing medical assistance, but Plaintiff still received no medical assistance until he was seen by Medical Technician, Jaculynn Lane, on December 12, 2013, for his asthma, high blood pressure, and wrist injuries. Id. 10:1-12; Doc. 74-5 at 3. Lane recorded that Butler complained of swelling, pain and limited range of motion in his right wrist from recent injuries. Id. Lane then put Plaintiff in for sick call. Butler Dep., 10:13-18.

         For some unknown reason, Butler's sick call was rescheduled for December 15, 2013, the same day he was also scheduled for a cell-house transfer. Id. 10:19-24. Butler claims that when Officer Deal arrived for the cell-house transfer, Officer Deal said “cuff up.” Id. 34:16-24. Butler testified that he told Officer Deal about his sick call, his prior and current wrist injuries, that he had swelling and pain in his wrists, and that twisting his wrists caused pain, and he asked Officer Deal not to put the handcuffs on tight. Id. 10:19-24-11:1; 35:10-122; 39:13-18. Butler also asked Officer Deal if he could go to medical and then come back for the cell transfer, but Officer Deal said no and asked Butler to put his arms out and put his wrists through the cuff port. Id. 35:1-19. Butler claims he again expressed to Officer Deal that when he bends and twists his wrists and shoves them through the cuff port, it causes pain. Id. 35:17-22. Officer ...


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