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Bentz v. Ghosh

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 5, 2019

DAVID ROBERT BENTZ, Plaintiff,
v.
PARTHASARATHI GHOSH, ROBERT STELFOX, SHANE LAIR, RYAN SADLER, and WARDEN OF MENARD, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          Mark A. Beatty United States Magistrate Judge.

         The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty 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 Defendant Stelfox's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 362). It is recommended that the District Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the motion for summary judgment (Doc. 362) be DENIED.

         I. Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff David Bentz, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center, filed this action alleging that medical personnel at Stateville, Pontiac, and Menard Correctional Centers were deliberately indifferent to his serious dental condition. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges he was denied medical care for an abscessed tooth from approximately October 2010 to June 2013. Plaintiff filed this action on June 17, 2013.

         The following claims remain before the Court (Doc. 281):

1. Bentz's claim that Dr. Ghosh was deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need because he ignored Plaintiff's need for immediate pain relief during his October 28, 2010 appointment;
2. Bentz's claim that Robert Stelfox, D.D.S. was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's complaints of pain and a tooth abscess;
3. Bentz's Eighth Amendment claims against officers Sadler and Lair for recklessly disregarding a substantial risk of serious pain to an inmate when they ignored Bentz's complaints about an abscessed tooth; and
4. Bentz's Illinois state-law negligence claims against officers Sadler and Lair regarding his complaints of tooth pain.

         On January 16, 2019, Stelfox filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 362) arguing he is entitled to judgment because he was not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. After the Court granted Plaintiff several extensions to respond to Stelfox's motion for summary, Plaintiff filed a response on May 9, 2019.

         Construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the evidence and the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from it establish the following relevant facts for purposes of the instant summary judgment motion.

         According to Bentz's testimony, in December 2009, an intake dentist at Graham Correctional Center told Bentz he needed three teeth “fixed.” (Doc. 197-3, p. 7). The dental record accompanying this visit, however, only indicates that he needed a “routine exam.” (Doc. 299-1, p. 1). Shortly thereafter, Bentz was transferred to Stateville, where he asserts he asked Defendant Dr. Ghosh for pain medication and a dental referral (Doc. 197-3, p. 7). Dr. Ghosh denied Bentz pain medication but referred him to a dentist (Id.). On November 5, 2010, a dentist took x-rays of Bentz's teeth and indicated he would be scheduled to receive fillings (Id., p. 8). Bentz was not given any medication for his chronic pain (Id.). He was scheduled for a referral exam on March 31, 2011, which was later rescheduled to May 6, 2011, then to August 17, 2011 (Id., pp. 11-12). Prior to his August 2011 appointment, however, Bentz was transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”) (Doc. 1, p. 6). When Bentz saw the Medical Director at Pontiac in August 2011 for another medical issue, the Medical Director refused to do anything for Bentz's tooth pain or to put him in to see dental (Id., p. 6). Bentz alleges he never saw a dentist while at Pontiac before he was transferred to Menard in November 2011 (Id.).

         Upon arriving at Menard, Bentz told the intake nurse that he had dental issues but was simply told to put in a request slip for dental (Id., p. 7). Bentz claims he did not see a dentist until May 22, 2013, when he had his biannual exam (Id.). He claims he told Stelfox he had an abscessed tooth causing swelling down to his neck, but Stelfox informed him he only needed a cleaning and there was nothing wrong with his teeth (Id.). Bentz alleged in his complaint that he was told he would have to wait until he was released to get his teeth fixed, but Bentz is serving a life sentence, making him ineligible for release (Id.).

         II. ...


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