United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil-rights action brought by a pretrial detainee under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff James Abbott contends that
Defendants Deputy LeMarr and Deputy Lt. Hill failed to
protect him from an attack from an inmate (Count 1).
Plaintiff also argues that Defendant LeMarr failed to provide
him with prompt medical treatment after the attack (Count 2).
Defendants filed a joint motion for summary judgment.
Magistrate Judge Daly issued a Report and Recommendation
(R&R) recommending that the Court deny summary judgment
on Count 1 and grant summary judgment on Count 2. Plaintiff
objected to the latter recommendation, prompting de novo
review. Because Plaintiff failed to present
evidence of injury caused by the delay, the Court
ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Daly's R&R
AS MODIFIED BY THIS ORDER and GRANTS
IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion
for summary judgment.
PROCEDURAL & FACTUAL HISTORY
February 2016, Plaintiff-a pretrial detainee-had a physical
altercation with an inmate. (ECF No. 90 at 6). Plaintiff was
thrown into the steel bars of a jail cell, went unconscious,
and awoke with a one and one-half inch laceration on his
head. (ECF No. 90 at 6-7).
five minutes later, Plaintiff contends that he stopped
Defendant LeMarr as he walked past. (ECF No. 90 at 7).
Plaintiff did not want to talk about the fight in front of
the other members of the cell block, so Plaintiff told
Defendant LeMarr that he had a seizure and hit his head as he
went unconscious. (ECF No. 90 at 8). Defendant LeMarr told
Plaintiff that he would come back when he completed his
rounds. (ECF No. 90 at 7). Defendant Hill and Deputy Tassone
arrived “ten to fifteen minutes later” and tended
to Plaintiff. (ECF No. 90 at 9).
was escorted to the shower, instructed to wash his head, and
given a new jumpsuit. (ECF No. 90 at 16). It was there that
Plaintiff revealed that he lied about having a seizure. (ECF
No. 95-3 at 3). The bleeding stopped, (ECF No. 95-8 at 8),
and Deputy Tassone applied a Steri-Strip
bandage on the laceration, (ECF No. 95-8 at 6).
The process was repeated when the wound reopened “an
hour or two later, ” and the bleeding stopped again.
(ECF No. 90 at 17).
following day, Plaintiff was evaluated by Nurse Martha Major.
(ECF No. 95-6 at 4). During her deposition, she stated that,
“[I]f he had had a seizure, then he should have went to
the emergency room.” (ECF No. 95-4 at 9). But since he
did not have a seizure (and could fabricate a lie after being
knocked unconscious), Nurse Major determined that Plaintiff
lacked the type of neural deficits that evidence a
concussion. (ECF No. 85-5 at 8-9, 12). Nurse Major agreed
that Plaintiff suffered from “a simple
laceration” and had no complaints about the treatment
rendered by Defendant Hill and Deputy Tassone. (ECF No. 85-5
filed suit in this Court in October 2016. (ECF No. 1). He
argues in Count 1 that Defendants Hill and LeMarr failed to
protect him from the attack. He further argues in Count 2
that Defendant LeMarr failed to obtain prompt medical
treatment for him. Defendants filed a joint motion for
summary judgment on both counts. Magistrate Judge Daly
recommended that the Court deny summary judgment on Count 1
and grant summary judgment on Count 2. Plaintiff objected to
the latter recommendation.
LAW & ANALYSIS
judgment is appropriate when “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed
R. Civ. P. 56(a). A fact is “genuine” when it is
reasonably contestable, SMS Demag Aktiengesellschaft v.
Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d 365, 368 (7th Cir. 2009),
and a fact is “material” when it might affect the
outcome of the suit, Taylor-Novotny v. Health Alliance
Med. Plans, Inc., 772 F.3d 478. 488 (7th Cir. 2014). The
Court may not weight the evidence to resolve factual disputes
or make credibility determinations; it must only determine
whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Hasan v.
Foley & Lardner LLP, 552 F.3d 520, 526 (7th Cir.
2008). The record must be viewed in the light most favorable
to the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
by pretrial detainees under the Fourteenth Amendment's
Due Process Clause for deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs are assessed under the Eighth Amendment's
objective-reasonableness standard. Miranda v. County of
Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 352-53 (7th Cir. 2018). Delaying
treatment may constitute deliberate indifference if such
delay “exacerbated the injury or unnecessarily
prolonged an inmate's pain.” McGowan v.
Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-105 (1976)).
Importantly, however, “there is no tort- common law,
statutory, or constitutional-without an injury, actual or at
least probabilistic.” Jackson v. Pollion, 733
F.3d 786, 790 (7th Cir. 2013). As the Seventh Circuit
explained in Williams v. Liefer, “In cases
where prison officials delayed rather than denied medical
assistance to an inmate, courts have required the plaintiff
to offer ‘verifying medical evidence' that the
delay (rather than the inmate's underlying condition)
caused some degree of harm. That is, a plaintiff must offer
medical evidence that tends to confirm or corroborate a claim
that the delay was detrimental.” 491 F.3d 710, 714-15
(7th Cir. 2007) (internal citations omitted).
Court noted during its threshold review of the complaint that
Count 2 against Defendant LeMarr addresses the alleged
delay in treatment-not the treatment itself. (ECF
No. 9 at 5-6). At that early stage of this case, the Court
only knew that Defendant LeMarr made Plaintiff “wait
for an undetermined period of time before he summoned Hill
and Tassone.” (ECF No. 9 at 6). During Plaintiff's
deposition, however, he testified that approximately
ten-to-fifteen minutes went by before Defendant Hill and
Deputy Tassone arrived.
failed to present any evidence of a detrimental effect caused
by the ten-to-fifteen-minute delay between the time Plaintiff
notified Defendant LeMarr and the time he received treatment
by Defendant Hill and Deputy Tassone. To the contrary, Nurse
Major testified that Plaintiff lacked the neural deficits
that evidence a concussion and approved of the care
ultimately provided to him. “An unincarcerated
individual may well consider oneself fortunate if he receives
medical attention at a standard emergency room within that
short of a period of time.” Knight v. Wiseman,
590 F.3d 458, 466 (7th Cir. 2009) (emphasis added). In short,
there is no evidence that the delay exacerbated
Plaintiff's injury or resulted in ...