United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, Chief U.S. District Judge.
Marcus Rogers, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections, alleges that Defendants Phil
Martin and Vipin Shah were deliberately indifferent to his
neck and shoulder pain while he was incarcerated at Robinson
Correctional Center in 2016. Before the Court are
Defendants’ motions for summary judgment on the merits
of this claim. (Docs. 51, 59). For the reasons delineated
below, the Court grants Defendant Phil Martin’s motion
and denies the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant
Plaintiff Marcus Rogers, an inmate in the Illinois Department
of Corrections since 2015, arrived at Robinson Correctional
Center on January 22, 2016. He began complaining of pain in
his neck and right shoulder in February 2016. On February 8,
2016, Rogers was seen by a nurse in the healthcare unit. His
medical records reflect that he described his pain as sharp
and continuous. The nurse gave him 200 mg of Ibuprofen to
take three times per day for his pain, and she noted that he
should return to the healthcare unit if his symptoms worsened
or interfered with daily functioning. (Doc. 60-1, p. 2).
saw a nurse again on March 1, 2016. He reported sharp,
continuous neck and shoulder pain reaching down to his right
hand, and, according to his medical records, told the nurse
that the Ibuprofen helped “some.” (Doc. 60-1, p.
3). The nurse referred him to a doctor. Defendant Vipin Shah,
a doctor, saw Rogers on March 3, 2016. Dr. Shah examined
Rogers and noted a normal range of motion for his right arm
and a questionable contusion or bruised muscle on his right
neck and shoulder. He recommended that Rogers take long, hot
showers, as needed, and he prescribed 600 mg of Ibuprofen to
be taken three times per day for thirty days. (Doc. 60-1, p.
returned to the healthcare unit on March 16, 2016, and was
seen by a nurse. He reported that he had neck pain that went
across his shoulders and down to his thumb and that he was
experiencing numbness. The nurse referred him to a physician,
and Rogers saw Dr. Shah on March 18, 2016. Rogers told Dr.
Shah that he woke up like he was shot with pain from his neck
to his thumb. He explained that he had been lifting weights
in excess of 200 pounds the day before his pain started and
that the pain medication was not helping, though he continued
to take it. Rogers also told Dr. Shah that he could not lie
down on his right side. Dr. Shah noted that Rogers’s
thumb was swollen due to possible alcoholism or gout, and he
ordered an x-ray. Dr. Shah also ordered blood work to
determine whether Rogers had arthritis. (Doc. 60-1, p. 5-6).
had an x-ray of his right shoulder and cervical spine on
March 21, 2016. The x-ray of his shoulder showed no acute
bony injury and mild degenerative changes at the right
acromioclavicular joint. The x-ray of his cervical spine
showed mild spondylitic changes (i.e., mild degenerative
changes or arthritis).
Shah saw Rogers for a follow-up appointment on April 1, 2016.
Rogers reported that his pain medications were not helping.
Dr. Shah noted that Rogers’s neck movement was okay and
that his right arm was questionably numb. He also noted that
his x-ray showed degenerative changes and that his bloodwork
showed high blood urea nitrogen (“BUN”), a
measurement of kidney and liver function, and low
high-density lipoprotein (“HDL”) cholesterol, the
“good” cholesterol. Dr. Shah noted the risk for
heart disease or stroke and instructed Rogers to lose weight,
to exercise, and to return to the healthcare unit, as needed.
He also prescribed Rogers Naproxen for his pain instead of
Ibuprofen, and he granted him a low-bunk permit. (Doc. 60-1,
April 11, 2016, Rogers reported to a nurse at sick call that
the Naproxen he had been taking was not working, and he was
referred to a physician. On April 18, 2016, Dr. Shah examined
Rogers again and noted that Rogers had gained five pounds.
Rogers told Shah that the pain medications were not strong
enough, but Dr. Shah did not adjust his pain medication. Dr.
Shah noted that Rogers was extremely obese with degenerative
arthritis in his cervical spine. After reviewing his
bloodwork, Dr. Shah ordered an EKG to determine the health of
Rogers’s heart. The EKG, performed on May 4, 2016, was
normal. (Doc. 60-1, p. 9-11). After the EKG, Rogers did not
seek further medical treatment at Robinson before he
transferred to East Moline Correctional Center in October
times relevant to Rogers’s complaint, Defendant Phil
Martin was the Health Care Unit Administrator
(“HCUA”) at Robinson. His background is in
nursing, and, according to Martin, only physicians and
physician’s assistants have the authority to prescribe
medication or a course of treatment for a patient. As a nurse
and the HCUA, Martin lacks the authority to diagnose
conditions, to recommend or order treatments or tests, or to
make medical referrals on behalf of inmates. He also was not
responsible for scheduling appointments for inmates. That was
handled by Wexford medical records staff. According to
Martin, he never provided Rogers with medical treatment or
tests, nor did he prescribe him any medications. (Doc. 52-1).
Martin did respond, however, to two grievances filed by
Rogers about his pain issues on behalf of the healthcare
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. 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, 681-82 (7th Cir.
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.
Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir.
2012); 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,