January 16, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 C 01698 -
Thomas M. Durkin, Judge.
Bauer, Rovner, and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
Palmer ("Palmer") is an inmate in the custody of
the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"). In
lieu of a left-hand, Palmer has a nub which terminates at the
wrist and does not have any functional fingers.
to his residency at the Northern Reception and Classification
Center (the "NRC"), Palmer was a resident of the
Shawnee Correctional Center ("Shawnee"). While at
Shawnee, the medical director issued Palmer a low bunk pass
for an indefinite duration.
preparation for a court appearance in Cook County, Palmer was
transferred to the NRC on January 11, 2012. When he arrived
defendant Craig P. Franz ("Franz"), an employee of
Wexford Health Services, Inc. ("Wexford"),
conducted a routine intake screening. A transferred inmate is
accompanied by a transfer summary completed by the
originating institution. The top half of Palmer's intake
form had been completed by a nurse at Shawnee and noted
Palmer's missing hand. Franz noted the deformity but
ignored Palmer's explicit request for a low bunk permit.
Franz took no other steps in conjunction with Palmer's
deformity or his request for an accommodation: he did not
issue a permit, notify any other member of the medical staff,
or put Palmer in queue to see a doctor.
Palmer was escorted to his assigned cell the bottom bunk was
occupied. Palmer informed the guard that he had a low bunk
pass at Shawnee but was told that without a pass for the NRC,
the guard could not do anything. Palmer was forced to use the
the next eleven days Palmer made two requests to see a doctor
to get a low bunk pass; neither request was acknowledged. On
the morning of January 22, 2012, Palmer fell while attempting
to climb down from the upper bunk. He landed on his knee and
suffered a severe injury Following his fall from the top
bunk, Palmer was issued a low bunk permit and assigned to a
February 2, 2012, through July 11, 2012, Palmer was
transferred throughout the Illinois correctional system. He
was transferred from the NRC to the Cook County Jail, back to
the NRC, and back to Shawnee before he was again transferred
to the NRC. In April and August of 2012, Palmer filed
grievances with IDOC because he was unable to secure a low
bunk permit and as a result he was injured.
September 12, 2012, after not receiving a response to his
grievances, Palmer appealed the apparent denials to the
Administrative Review Board, which also went unanswered.
March 5, 2013, Palmer filed a complaint in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. On
March 11, 2013, the district court granted Palmer's
motions to proceed in forma pauperis and for the
appointment of counsel pursuant to the local rule. Finally,
the operative complaint (Fourth Amended Complaint) was filed.
Complaint alleged, inter alia, that Franz was
deliberately indifferent to Palmer's serious medical need
when he refused to issue a low bunk permit and that this
constituted a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
the close of discovery, Franz filed a motion for summary
judgment arguing that: Palmer's deformity did not
constitute a serious medical need; Palmer failed to show
Franz was subjectively aware of the alleged medical need; and
that Palmer ...