United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
WILLIAM NALLY, JR. (N51494), Plaintiff,
GHALIAH OBAISI, Executor of the Estate of Saleh Obaisi, M.D., ALMA MARTIJA, M.D., JACQUELINE MITCHELL, D.D.S., and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
William Nally, Jr., by counsel, filed an amended complaint
alleging Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims
based on his fall-related injuries suffered on December 11,
2013 while incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center.
Before the Court is defendants' motion for summary
judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) based on
Nally's failure to exhaust his available administrative
remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”). For the reasons below, the Court grants
in part and denies in part defendants' motion.
is an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC)
and was incarcerated at Stateville during the relevant time
period. Nally asserts that on December 11, 2013 he was
scheduled to appear at the DeKalb County, Illinois courthouse
for a status hearing. While being escorted outside of
Stateville, Nally fell to the ground when he stepped in a
hole that was covered with snow. As a result, Nally suffered
what he calls “fall-related injuries, ” including
injuries to his left knee, right-side rib cage/lower back,
and jaw/neck. He then requested that the security officers
who were escorting him to call 911, but they refused.
same day, Dr. Ann Davis, who is not a defendant to this
lawsuit, attended to Nally's injuries in Stateville's
healthcare unit (“HCU”). Dr. Davis prescribed
x-ray examinations for Nally's fall-related injuries and
gave Nally medication and an injection. Two days later, on
December 13, 2013, officials took Nally for an x-ray of his
January 23, 2014, prison officials took Nally to the HCU for
his jaw problems and his inability to open his mouth, at
which time he saw dentist Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell. Medical
staff then x-rayed Nally's jaw concluding that Nally had
“normal mobility.” Nally explains that between
February and September 2014 he saw defendants Dr. Alma
Martija and Dr. Saleh Obaisi on at least seven occasions and
Dr. Mitchell twice due to his fall-related injuries.
According to Nally, since then, Drs. Martija, Obaisi, and
Mitchell, along with other medical staff, have failed to
provide him sufficient medical treatment for his fall-related
injuries despite his numerous requests.
judgment is appropriate “if 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); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91
L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). A genuine dispute as to any material fact
exists 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,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). When determining
whether a genuine dispute as to any material fact exists, the
Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Id. at
255; McDaniel v. Progress Rail Locomotive, Inc., 940
F.3d 360, 367 (7th Cir. 2019). After “a properly
supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse
party ‘must set forth specific facts showing that there
is a genuine issue for trial.'” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255 (citation omitted).
argue that Nally has failed to exhaust his available
administrative remedies, which is an affirmative defense that
defendants must prove. Lockett v. Bonson, 937 F.3d
1016, 1025 (7th Cir. 2019); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The
purpose of the PLRA's exhaustion requirement is to alert
prison staff to the problem and invite corrective action.
Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir.
2013). “The exhaustion requirement is interpreted
strictly, ” Williams v. Ortiz, 937 F.3d 936,
941 (7th Cir. 2019), and administrative remedy requirements
are established by state law. Lanaghan v. Koch, 902
F.3d 683, 687 (7th Cir. 2018). Unexhausted claims are
procedurally barred from the Court's consideration.
Williams, 937 F.3d at 941.
has a three-step administrative grievance process for
prisoners. Pyles v. Nwaobasi, 829 F.3d 860, 864 (7th
Cir. 2016); 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.810. “Step
one requires the inmate to attempt to resolve the problem
through his or her counselor.” Pyles, 829 F.3d
at 864. “If that does not resolve the problem, the
inmate must invoke step two, which involves the filing of a
written grievance with a grievance officer.”
Id. at 864; see also Ramirez v. Young, 906
F.3d 530, 539 (7th Cir. 2018). If the grievance officer
denies the grievance and the chief administrative officer
(usually the warden) affirms the denial, the inmate may then
appeal the decision to the Illinois Administrative Review
Board (ARB). Pyles, 829 F.3d at 864.
their motion, defendants maintain that Nally filed only one
grievance concerning the injuries resulting from his December
2013 fall. This February 8, 2014 grievance states the injury
date and mentions that security staff were escorting Nally
when he fell. Nally also explains: “I was finally
escorted to the HCU upon arriving at the institution. There,
I expressed my injuries to Dr. Davis, and received medical
care for [the] injuries; change in policies/procedures
treatment for an injury to my knee, as well as an injection
and a pill to help manage the pain.” (R. 78-2, at
ARB000052.) Nally's counselor responded on February 11,
2014 stating that the grievance had been forwarded to the
grievance office. The grievance officer determined that Nally
was receiving appropriate medical care on November 11, 2014,
and the chief administrative officer agreed on November 12,
2014. Nally appealed the denial of this grievance to the ARB
on November 18, 2014. The ARB denied Nally's grievance on
June 3, 2015.
argue that because the February 8, 2014 grievance does not
mention or describe Drs. Obaisi, Martija, (or Mitchell),
Nally has failed to exhaust his claims against these
individual defendants. Under the relevant Illinois
Administrative Code, a “grievance shall contain factual
details regarding each aspect of the offender's
complaint, including what happened, when, where and the name
of each person who is the subject of or who is otherwise
involved in the complaint.” 20 Ill. Admin. Code §
504.810(c). “Prior to 2003, a grievance sufficed simply
by ‘object[ing] intelligently to some asserted
shortcoming.'” Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d
709, 721 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted); see also
Santiago v. Anderson, 496 Fed.Appx. 630, 637 (7th Cir.
2012) (“Since May 2003 the grievance procedures
applicable to Illinois prisons have included a particularity
requirement.”). Further, the IDOC form that Nally
filled out instructs inmates to “[p]rovide information
including a description of what happened, when and where it
happened, and the name or identifying information of each
person involved.” (See ARB000052). Under the
circumstances, the Court agrees that Nally's February 8,
2014 grievance does not exhaust his claims as to the
individual defendants because he does not name them or
provide any identifying information about them. Instead,
Nally unequivocally states that Dr. Davis provided treatment
for his fall-related injuries.
defendants assert that Nally's February 2014 grievance
did not exhaust his claims against Wexford Heath Sources, the
private company which provides medical care at Stateville.
Although Nally stated “change in policies/procedures
treatment for an injury to my knee” in the context of
the care Dr. Davis provided, this vague assertion did not
give prison staff a fair opportunity to address a complaint
against Wexford. See Turley, 729 F.3d at 649;
Maddox, 655 F.3d at 722. Unlike the facts in
Maddox where the inmate specifically complained
about an administrative decision in relation to religious
services, Nally's untethered statement concerning
policies/procedures about ...