United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) (Doc. 124) of
Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison. After holding a hearing on
January 25, 2019, Magistrate Judge Sison recommended that the
Court grant the motion for summary judgment filed by
defendant Dr. Stephen Ritz (Doc. 50) and deny the summary
judgment motion filed by defendant Dr. Mohammed Siddiqui
(Doc. 96). Both motions are based on the assertion that
plaintiff Lloyd Saterfield failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies. Dr. Siddiqui has objected to the
Report to the extent it concerns him (Doc. 131), and
Saterfield has responded to that objection (Doc. 135).
Saterfield has also objected to the Report to the extent it
concerns Dr. Ritz (Doc. 136), and Dr. Ritz has responded to
that objection (Doc. 137).
case arose because Saterfield suffers from ongoing back
problems, and he is not happy with the medical treatment
provided by Dr. Siddiqui, Dr. Ritz, and others.
Report Review Standard
Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a
report and recommendation. Fed. R. Civ. P.
The Court must review de novo the portions of the
report to which objections are made. Id. “If
no objection or only partial objection is made, the district
court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear
error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d
734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).
Dr. Ritz's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 50)
Judge Sison found in the Report that Saterfield filed a
grievance on November 27, 2017, complaining about Dr.
Ritz's September 7, 2017, request for collegial review,
Wexford Health Sources Inc.'s (“Wexford”)
process to approve or deny a medical service requested by a
prison doctor. The grievance officer denied the grievance as
late because it was filed more than 60 days after September
7, 2017. Saterfield went through all the grievance steps
thereafter, and the Administrative Review Board made the
final denial of his grievance on January 19, 2018. Magistrate
Judge Sison found that the continuing violation doctrine does
not help Saterfield because that doctrine only excuses
exhaustion for later events of a continuing violation as long
as a timely grievance was filed after the beginning of the
objects to the Court's interpretation of the continuing
violation doctrine. He argues that the doctrine allows
reaching back to events before the filing of the grievance.
He notes that his grievance makes clear that Dr. Ritz was one
of his medical providers and that he continued to suffer from
his medical problems, which is sufficient to exhaust as to
preliminary matter, Magistrate Judge Sison misidentifies Dr.
Ritz as a prison doctor who would have had appointments to
examine, diagnose, and/or treat Saterfield. From the
allegations in the grievance and complaint, however, it is
clear that Dr. Ritz is not a prison doctor but a doctor
working for Wexford Health Sources, Inc. as part of the
collegial review process. Grievance 2 (Doc. 97-2 at 18); Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 23 & 28. Thus, Dr. Ritz's
involvement was not as a treating physician but as a
reviewing physician making discrete decisions on medical
service requests from treating physicians. That distinction
sheds a different light on the exhaustion question.
argument ignores the plain text of the administrative rule on
grievances, which states, “A grievance must be filed
with the counselor or Grievance Officer in accordance with
the procedures in this Subpart, within 60 days after the
discovery of the incident, occurrence or problem that
gives rise to the grievance.” 20 Ill. Admin. Code
§ 504.810 (emphasis added). Thus, by the very terms of
the administrative rule, in order to exhaust, Saterfield must
have grieved Dr. Ritz's conduct within 60 days
of when he discovered his health problem and Dr. Ritz's
participation in it. This point in time is clear where
Saterfield complains of a specific discrete instance by Dr.
Ritz-the decision to deny a “medical special
service” of an MRI. Grievance 2 (Doc. 97-2 at 18); Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 23 & 28; see Ramirez v.
Young, 906 F.3d 530, 539 (7th Cir. 2018) (noting that
“many people assert that problems are ongoing, when the
issue really stems from a discrete act that starts the clock
running”). Saterfield did not file his grievance within
60 days of Dr. Ritz's discrete decision to deny a
specifically requested diagnostic test, so the grievance was
continuing violation doctrine does not save Saterfield's
claim. The doctrine means that after Saterfield files a
timely grievance about Dr. Ritz, he does not have to keep
filing them for ongoing problems with Dr. Ritz, that is,
ongoing deliberate indifference by Dr. Ritz to
Saterfield's medical needs. See Turley v.
Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 650 (7th Cir. 2013)
(“[O]nce a prison has received notice of, and an
opportunity to correct, a problem, the prisoner has satisfied
the purpose of the exhaustion requirement.”). But it
does not excuse Saterfield from filing a timely grievance to
begin with, which he failed to do in this case concerning Dr.
this reason, after a de novo review, the Court will
adopt the Report to the extent it recommends granting Dr.
Ritz's motion for summary judgment on exhaustion grounds.
Dr. Siddiqui's Motion for Summary ...