United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
GILBERT C. SISON United States Magistrate Judge
Warren Morris alleges that, after he fractured a bone in his
right hand in a physical altercation with another inmate,
Defendants Scott, Lashbrook and Ebers were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs (Count I). Morris
further alleges that Defendants Clark, Pearce, Johnson,
Moore, Fagerland, Pruitt, Porter, Ebers and Wall used
excessive force when handcuffing him following his injury
(Count II). Defendant Scott moved for summary judgment (Doc.
116), as have Defendants Clark, Fagerland, Johnson,
Lashbrook, Moore, Pierce, Porter, Pruitt and Wall (Doc. 119).
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
Scott's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 116) and grant
in part the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants
Clark, Fagerland, Johnson, Lashbrook, Moore, Pierce, Porter,
Pruitt and Wall (Doc. 119).
Findings of Fact
who was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center,
became involved in a physical altercation with another inmate
on March 18, 2016, around 12:00 p.m. He injured his hand
during the incident, leaving it painful and visibly swollen.
At his deposition, Morris testified that Defendant Ebers, a
correctional officer, arrived a few minutes after the fight
and told Morris not to say anything. Morris alleges that
Ebers saw that his hand was swollen and that he was in pain,
but Ebers did nothing. (Doc. 117-2, p. 28).
was not taken to the healthcare unit until approximately 3:00
p.m. that day even though Ebers knew of his injury hours
earlier. (Doc. 117-2, p. 30-31). Morris testified that around
3:00 p.m., Defendant Clark, who was aware of Morris's
hand injury and pain, handcuffed and escorted him from his
cell to an office. Clark questioned Morris about the
altercation in the office before handcuffing him a second
time and transporting him to the healthcare unit. (Doc.
117-2, p. 24). Clark testified at his deposition that he did
not recall his interactions with Morris on August 18, 2016.
arrived in the healthcare unit, Morris was treated by a nurse
before seeing Defendant Michael Scott, a doctor, for what may
have been an unofficial appointment. Morris testified that
Dr. Scott told him that the x-ray technician was unavailable
until Monday, March 21 because the technician did not work on
the weekends. Morris recalled Dr. Scott telling him that he
had a boxer's break and would need a cast from an outside
orthopedist after his hand was x-rayed. Dr. Scott prescribed
ibuprofen (400mg) three-times daily as needed for pain. (Doc.
117-1, p. 3, 13, 19). Morris stayed in the infirmary through
the weekend and was given 24 ibuprofen pills for his pain.
(Doc. 117-2, p. 11-13).
Wall escorted Morris to see the x-ray technician on August
21, 2018. Wall handcuffed Morris while transporting him
despite being aware that Morris had a hand injury. (Doc.
117-2, p. 11-13, 23-25). Dr. Scott reviewed the results of
the x-ray with Morris and diagnosed a fractured third
metacarpal with 30-degree angulation. Dr. Scott placed an
ortho-glass splint on Morris's hand and told him that he
would be sent to an orthopedist. In Dr. Scott's medical
opinion, Morris's fracture was not urgent due to the
minimal angulation, the closed nature of the fracture and the
absence of neurological symptoms. (Doc. 117-1, p. 7). On
March 22, 2016, Dr. Scott submitted a collegial review
request, and he noted that an orthopedic outpatient visit was
scheduled to be approved. (Doc. 117-1, p. 5, 19).
testified that after his appointment with Dr. Scott, Wall
again handcuffed him behind his back and transported him from
the healthcare unit to segregation. (Doc. 117-2, p. 25). Wall
does not recall his interactions with Morris. (Doc. 122-3, p.
11). Defendant Pearce strip-searched Morris when he arrived
at the segregation unit. Pearce then handcuffed Morris behind
his back to transport him to the shower, even though Morris
testified that he told Pearce about his broken hand and his
severe pain. (Doc. 117-2, p. 25).
maintains that he received no pain medication between March
21-28, 2016. He testified that he spoke to numerous nurses
about his pain medication and that the nurses told him to
submit a sick call request to address the issue, but he
refused to do it. (Doc. 117-2, p. 14). Dr. Scott testified
that an inmate can request an evaluation through the sick
call process if he is not receiving his pain medication.
(Doc. 117-1, p. 13)). On March 28, 2016, Morris submitted a
sick call request, received pain medication and was referred
to see Dr. Scott. (Doc. 117-2, p. 14-15; Doc. 117-1, p. 20).
Dr. Scott prescribed tramadol on March 29, 2016. Dr. Scott
testified that he wrote that the tramadol prescription was
“inadvertently omitted” from a previous request
in order to help Morris cover his $5 co-pay for placing the
nurse sick call request. (Doc. 117-1, p. 7-8).
testified that when he was transported to the nurse for the
March 28, 2016 sick call, Defendant Moore handcuffed him
behind his back, despite Morris telling him that he was in
severe pain from his broken hand and showing him the splint.
He testified similarly as to Defendant Johnson, who
transported him to see Dr. Scott on March 29. (Doc. 117-2 p.
25-26). Neither Moore nor Johnson remember the interactions
with Morris. (Doc. 122-5; Doc. 122-6).
April 5, 2016, Morris alleges that Moore transported him to
the showers, again with his broken hand handcuffed behind his
back. Defendant Fagerland then was responsible for
transporting Morris to his outpatient appointment with an
orthopedic specialist. Fagerland used box cuffs to handcuff
Morris. Morris testified that he told Fagerland that he was
in severe pain due to his broken hand and that he showed
Fagerland his splint. Morris claims that the box cuffs caused
more pain because they required that he place one palm
face-up and the other face-down. (Doc. 117-2, p. 25-26).
was seen by Gretchen Mason, a physician's assistant at
the Orthopedic Institute of Southern Illinois. At her
deposition, Mason testified that she treats approximately 80
patients per week and that roughly 15-20% are referred for
treatment more than one week after their date of injury. She
determined that Morris had a clean fracture that was starting
to heal and that he did not require surgery. She taught
Morris hand exercises to strengthen his hand and to help
control his pain. Mason testified that she did not believe
that the two-week interval between Morris's injury and
her appointment with him had any impact on the outcome of his
injury. (Doc. 117-3, p. 4-8). Dr. Scott saw Morris on April
8, 2016, for a follow-up appointment. He prescribed Motrin
(400mg) as needed for pain for approximately 30 days.
April 12, 2016, Defendant Porter handcuffed Morris behind his
back to transport him to the showers even though Morris told
him he was in severe pain from his broken hand. (Doc. 117-2,
p. 26). On April 18, 2016, Dr. Scott reviewed records from
Gretchen Mason. Dr. Scott noted that Mason requested a
follow-up appointment, and he submitted a collegial review
request to approve the appointment. (Doc. 117-1, p. 27). On
May 3, 2016, Dr. Scott prescribed a new round of Tylenol in
response to a request from Morris for pain medication. On May
4, 2016, Morris had a follow-up visit with Mason. She
determined that his fracture was healed as expected. On May
27, 2016, Dr. Scott saw Morris for a follow-up appointment.
He noted that Morris completed six weeks in a splint and
showed healing without malalignment, per Mason's notes.
Morris complained of pain, so Dr. Scott prescribed Motrin and
Tylenol along with physical therapy.