United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty, which recommends the
undersigned deny the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant Robert Stelfox, D.D.S. (Doc. 362).
lawsuit, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff
David Bentz alleges Defendants Dr. Parthasarathi Ghosh, Dr.
Stelfox, Shane Lair, and Ryan Sadler violated his Eighth
Amendment rights when they were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs (Doc. 1). He also brings a state
law negligence claim against Sadler and Lair (Id.).
Specifically, Bentz claims Defendants disregarded his
complaints related to a tooth abscess and chronic tooth pain
January 16, 2019, Dr. Stelfox filed a motion for summary
judgment arguing that, as a matter of law, he was not
deliberately indifferent to Bentz's complaints of chronic
pain and an abscessed tooth (Doc. 362). Dr. Stelfox states
that the only time he evaluated Bentz was on May 22, 2013,
that evaluation concerned Bentz's biennial exam (Doc.
363-1 at p. 2; Doc. 363-2). Dr. Stelfox attests that Bentz
reported no complaints with his teeth at that exam (Doc.
363-2 at ¶ 7). While Bentz had some bleeding of his
gums, further evaluation revealed no acute issues, cavities,
swelling, or pain (Id.). Dr. Stelfox diagnosed Bentz
as a Class IIIB, which meant he had mild periodontal disease,
and he instructed Bentz to follow up with the dental clinic
as necessary (Id.). Because Bentz had no acute
issues, Dr. Stelfox contends, there was no need for any
further treatment. Dr. Stelfox also notes that Bentz admitted
in his deposition that no dentist has ever told him he had an
abscessed tooth. And, while Bentz claims Dr. Stelfox should
have scheduled him for a dental cleaning, Dr. Stelfox did
recommend that he follow up with the dental clinic as
necessary-which Bentz subsequently did the following month.
Thus, Dr. Stelfox asserts, he was not deliberately
indifferent to Bentz's dental needs, and summary judgment
9, 2019, after several extensions of time, Bentz filed a
response in opposition to Dr. Stelfox's motion for
summary judgment, as well as a cross-motion for partial
summary judgment. Bentz states that, at his biennial exam,
Dr. Stelfox did not actually examine Bentz's teeth but
instead did a “visual quick peek” and went off
his previous dental records (Doc. 391 at p. 49). Dr. Stelfox
then told Bentz that he needed three fillings and that he
should get them fixed when he gets out of prison, because the
prison only pulls teeth. Dr. Stelfox and his assistant also
acknowledged the swelling near Bentz's tooth and jaw
(Id. at 54). Bentz requested fillings for his three
teeth and pain medication, but Dr. Stelfox did not prescribe
him any pain medication or antibiotics and did not schedule
him for any further dental work (Id. at p. 55).
Based on this evidence (and evidence that he subsequently had
dental work done on his teeth), Bentz argues that Dr.
Stelfox's motion should be denied, while his cross-motion
for summary judgment should be granted.
Stelfox has moved to strike Bentz's cross-motion for
summary judgment (Doc. 395), arguing that the deadline for
dispositive motions was December 17, 2018, and Bentz never
asked for an extension of that deadline. And, while he asked
for three extensions of time to respond to Dr. Stelfox's
motion for summary judgment, Bentz only mentioned his desire
to file a cross-motion in his second and third requests for
an extension of time. On May 9, 2019, without having received
leave of court to do so, Bentz filed his response and
cross-motion for summary judgment. That same day, Judge
Beatty found Bentz's second and third motions for
extension of time to be moot, considering Bentz had already
filed his response (Doc. 392). Judge Beatty did not address
the fact that Bentz filed a cross-motion for summary judgment
or grant him leave to do so after the fact.
5, 2019, Judge Beatty entered the Report and Recommendation
currently before the Court (Doc. 398). Judge Beatty
recommends denying Dr. Stelfox's motion for summary
judgment because Dr. Stelfox's affidavit and Bentz's
deposition testimony present two different accounts of what
happened during the dental exam on May 22, 2013. Because
there is a genuine dispute regarding the material
facts-whether Bentz complained about his teeth that day and
whether Dr. Stelfox told Bentz he needed fillings but refused
to provide any form of treatment-Judge Beatty found that
summary judgment for Dr. Stelfox would not be proper.
Objections to the Report and Recommendation were due 14 days
after service of the Report and Recommendation. 28 U.S.C.
§636(b); SDIL-LR 73.1(b). No. objections were filed.
timely objections are filed, this Court must undertake a
de novo review of the Report and Recommendation. 28
U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); SDIL-LR
73.1(b); Harper v. City of Chicago Heights, 824
F.Supp. 786, 788 (N.D. Ill. 1993); see also Govas v.
Chalmers, 965 F.2d 298, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). Where
neither timely nor specific objections to the Report and
Recommendation are made, however, this Court need not conduct
de novo review of the Report and Recommendation.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985). Instead, the
Court should review the Report and Recommendation for clear
error. Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734,
739 (7th Cir. 1999). The Court may then “accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
de novo review is not required here, the Court has
reviewed the evidence and Judge Beatty's Report and
Recommendation for clear error. Following this review, the
Court agrees with his findings, analysis, and conclusions.
The genuine issues of material fact present in this case
preclude the entry of summary judgment for Dr. Stelfox. The
Court therefore ADOPTS Judge Beatty's
Report and Recommendation (Doc. 398) and
DENIES Dr. Stelfox's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 362). For the same reason, had Bentz sought
and obtained leave of court to file his cross-motion for
summary judgment, it also would be denied. But, he did not,
so his cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 391 at pp.
104-107) is STRICKEN from the record.
case shall now proceed to trial on the following claims, as
separated into the following counts:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to Bentz's serious medical needs claim
against Dr. Ghosh for ignoring Bentz's need for immediate
pain relief during his October 28, 2010 appointment;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to Bentz's serious medical needs claim
against Dr. Stelfox for ignoring Bentz's complaints of
pain and a tooth abscess;
Count 3: Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim 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
Count 4: Illinois state law negligence
claims against officers Sadler and Lair regarding his