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Linton v. Crain

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 13, 2019

TITUS LINTON, Plaintiff,
ANGELA CRAIN, Defendant.



         As limited by the Court's threshold order (Doc. 12), Plaintiff Titus Linton brings this pro se action against Defendant Angela Crain and alleges a single Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against her. Linton claims that Crain falsified statements about his medical care and failed to provide sufficient care commensurate to his medical needs. Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Crain (Doc. 45). The matter has been referred to the undersigned by Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and Local Rule 72.1(a)(2). For the reasons delineated below, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court grant Defendant Crain's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Findings of Fact

         Linton, who at all times relevant to this action was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), has a number of diagnosed medical conditions, including scleroderma, Raynaud's syndrome, eosinophilic esophagitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, hypertension and proptosis. At his deposition, Linton testified that he has difficulty walking due to the scleroderma. (Doc. 46-1 p. 2-3). When he transferred to Menard from Pontiac Correctional Center in 2014, Linton was taking a number of prescription medications, and he used crutches at Pontiac. (Doc. 46-3, p. 1). According to his deposition, Linton was using a cane prior to his transfer, not crutches. (Doc. 46-1, p. 4).

         Linton had a number of medical appointments throughout April 2014, and on April 15, 2014, was seen by a doctor, who issued him permits for a low bunk, low gallery, shower on gallery, slow walk, double cuff, feed-in cell, front cuff, and no yard. (Doc. 46-2). Linton was also given a special no-bean diet and was referred to see the medical director. (Doc. 46-3, p. 11-13). Linton saw Dr. Trost on May 16 and June 5, 2014.

         On April 17, 2014, Linton filed a grievance complaining that Menard would not let him have an assistive device to help him walk. The medical records indicate that Defendant Crain, the nursing supervisor and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator at Menard, reviewed his medical records on June 13, 2014, in order to respond to the grievance. Crain wrote in the records, “[o]ffender to be scheduled with MD for assessment of medical need for crutch/cane or other assistive device for ADA.” (Doc. 46-3, p. 25). Crain also sent Linton a memorandum stating, “I have received your grievance and reviewed the medical record and offer the following. I find that you have previously used a single crutch at the previous institution. I have scheduled you to see the physician for assessment of gait and questionable continued need for a crutch.” (Doc. 46-4).

         A counselor formally responded to the grievance on June 30, 2014, conveying the same information included in Crain's memo to Linton. (Doc. 46-5). On August 29, 2014, Linda Carter, a grievance officer, recommended denial of the grievance as moot because medical treatment is to be determined by medical professionals. She noted the permits issued to Linton, and wrote, “I am going to go over and see this guy today and talk with staff just to see exactly what it is that he is unable to do. I spoke with Dr. Trost and he does not feel like this inmate would fall under the ADA Standards because although his gait is slow and steady he is still able to ambulate. Dr. Trost did comment that as his disease process progresses he would probably benefit from a cane or crutch but does not feel that he is currently at that point.” (Doc. 46-5). Kimberly Butler, in her role as Chief Administrative Officer, concurred in the decision to deny the grievance on September 8, 2014.

         Linton testified at this deposition that he spoke to Crain while he was living in the hospital following a fight in November 2014. (Doc. 46-1, p. 8). He did not expound on the topics they spoke about. Linton also testified that he wrote Crain several times and continues to write to her because, at the time of his deposition, his wheelchair was broken. (Doc. 46-1, p. 8). As to the information in Carter's denial of his grievance, Linton maintains that he asked Dr. Trost if he said what was written on the grievance response form and that Dr. Trost denied it. He acknowledged that Crain never directly provided him with medical treatment. Linton also testified writing to Crain about a number of ADA issues at Menard unrelated to his deliberate indifference claim against Crain in this case. (Doc. 46-1, p. 12-15).

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs motions for summary judgment. Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Doe, 743 F.3d 1101, 1105 (7th Cir. 2014)(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). Accord Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir. 2012). A genuine issue of material fact remains “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Accord Bunn v. Khoury Enterpr., Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681-682 (7th Cir. 2014).

         In assessing a summary judgment motion, the district court views the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. See Anderson, 699 F.3d at 994; Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011). As the Seventh Circuit has explained, as required by Rule 56(a), “we set forth the facts by examining the evidence in the light reasonably most favorable to the non-moving party, giving [him] the benefit of reasonable, favorable inferences and resolving conflicts in the evidence in [his] favor.” Spaine v. Community Contacts, Inc., 756 F.3d 542, 544 (7th Cir. 2014).

         B. Eight Amendment Deliberate Indifference

         The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments, and the deliberate indifference to the “serious medical needs of a prisoner constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain forbidden by the Constitution.” Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 828 (7th Cir. 2009). A prisoner is entitled to ‚Äúreasonable measures to meet a substantial ...

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