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Walker v. McGlorn

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 13, 2019



          Hon. Reona J. Daly, United States Magistrate Judge

         The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly by United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants. It is RECOMMENDED that the District Court ADOPT the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 51, 54) be GRANTED.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff Andrew Walker, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Following threshold review, Plaintiff proceeds on the following Counts:

Count 1:McGlorn, Lang, and Walls were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs when they persisted in a course of treatment known to be ineffective with regards to Plaintiff's gastrointestinal and estrogen symptoms in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Defendant McGlorn filed a motion for summary judgment arguing she saw Plaintiff on only one occasion and provided appropriate medical care. Defendants Walls and Lang filed a motion for summary judgment asserting they were not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs. Specifically, Defendant Lang asserts she was present for only one of Plaintiff's medical appointments where he was seen by a nurse practitioner. Defendant Walls, as Health Care Administrator, never treated Plaintiff but asserts she properly responded to his letter and grievance. Plaintiff timely filed a Response (Doc. 61) arguing Defendants refused to test him for a soy allergy and that he was not provided alternative treatments when a non-soy diet was unavailable.

         At all relevant times, Plaintiff was an inmate at Menard (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 55-1 at 4). In early 2015, Plaintiff began experiencing gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, cramping, and constipation (Doc. 1 at 4). Plaintiff believed his medical problems were due to the presence of soy in the diet served at Menard (Doc. 55-1 at 5). Plaintiff has never been diagnosed as being allergic to soy (Id. at 9).

         On January 12, 2016, Plaintiff saw Defendant McGlorn, a nurse practitioner at Menard (Doc. 55-1 at 6, Doc. 52-3 at 1-2). Defendant Aimee Lang was present when Plaintiff first walked in to see McGlorn on January 12, 2016, but was not present for the entire visit (Doc. 55-1 at 12-13). McGlorn discussed with Plaintiff his gastrointestinal problems and reviewed his medication (Id. at 7-8). Plaintiff requested a soy-free diet (Id. at 8). McGlorn stated that she would submit Plaintiff for a soy-free diet but that he would not get it (Id.). The medical records indicate McGlorn did not conduct a physical examination because of Plaintiff's escalating anger (Doc. 52-3 at 2). McGlorn continued Plaintiff on the medications Colace and FiberCon which he reported helped with his symptoms, but were not resolving the problem (Id. at 8, Doc. 52-3 at 2). McGlorn also recommended Milk of Magnesia as necessary (Doc. 52-3 at 2). McGlorn ordered Plaintiff a therapeutic soy-free diet for one year pursuant to his request and his subjective complaints (Id.). Plaintiff only saw Defendant McGlorn on the one occasion (Doc. 55-1 at 6). Plaintiff did not have any other interactions with Defendant Lang regarding his gastrointestinal symptoms other than the January 12, 2016 visit with McGlorn (Id. at 12). Plaintiff testified he was seen by several other medical staff concerning his soy issues (Doc. 55-1 at 7).

         On January 20, 2016, McGlorn was contacted by her Wexford Health Sources Director and told that a dietician with the IDOC reviewed the soy-free diet request, and instructed the soy-free diet be discontinued and that soy-free diets were not available at Menard (McGlorn Affidavit, Doc. 52-2 at 2-3).

         Defendant Walls was the Health Care Administrator at Menard during the events alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 55-1 at 13). Walls never treated Plaintiff and Plaintiff never spoke directly to Walls regarding his complaints (Id.). Walls responded to one handwritten letter sent by Plaintiff and responded to his grievance (Id.).

         Plaintiff testified that the symptoms he suffered from not being prescribed a soy-free diet were five or six pounds of weight loss, cramping, bloating, and constipation (Doc. 55-1 at 9). Plaintiff did not report swelling of lips, tongue, or throat, nor did he report any wheezing or difficulty breathing (Id. at 10). During the relevant timeframe at Menard, Plaintiff would play basketball and lift weights (Id. at 4). If Plaintiff experienced cramping, he would sit out and not play (Id.). Plaintiff testified he is still experiencing some slight cramping, but otherwise is no longer having symptoms (Id. at 9).

         Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). In determining a summary judgment motion, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

         The Eighth Amendment protects inmates from cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. Const., amend. VIII; see also Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435 (7th Cir. 2010). As the Supreme Court has recognized, “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners” may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). In order to prevail on such a claim, the plaintiff must first show that his condition was “objectively, sufficiently serious” and second, that the “prison officials ...

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