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Clarkk v. Simmons

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 2, 2020

TOMMY CLARK, Plaintiff,



         The matter is before the Court on the Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 72) filed by Defendants. Plaintiff timely filed a response (Doc. 73). For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.


         Plaintiff Tommy Clark, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Following this Court's Order Granting Summary Judgment as to Count 1 (Doc. 70), Plaintiff proceeds on his Count II retaliation claim.

         Defendants filed a supplemental motion for summary judgment (Doc. 72) arguing Plaintiff's retaliation claim is unsupported by evidence and barred by the applicable Statute of Limitations. Plaintiff contends the retaliation claim is not barred as it relates back to the original pleading and that there is sufficient evidence to support his claim of retaliation.

         Findings of Fact

         At all times relevant to this litigation, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Menard (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 54-1 at 2). On November 14, 2012, Plaintiff filed a grievance complaining about numerous substandard conditions at Menard (Doc. 73-2 at 1-8). On April 6, 2013, Plaintiff told Defendant Correctional Officer Stueve he had been bitten by a spider when Stueve was walking by doing count (Doc. 54-1 at 2). Stueve told Plaintiff he would get some help and returned with Correctional Officer Simmons (Id.).

         Simmons informed Plaintiff he would need to see a doctor but that he could not be taken to health care at the time because the institution was on Level 1 lockdown (Id.). Simmons told Plaintiff he needed to fill out a request slip (Id.). Plaintiff wrote the request on a slip of paper and handed it to Simmons (Id.). Later in the day, Nurse Oakley saw Plaintiff while doing her rounds (Id. at 5). Oakley looked at the sore and said it was a brown recluse bite (Id.). According to Plaintiff, Nurse Oakley told Plaintiff he would not be able to see a doctor until Monday (two days later) because there was not a doctor at the institution (Id.). Also, on April 6, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., Plaintiff was seen by a CMT (Id. at 6). Nurse Oakley saw Plaintiff again on April 7, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. (Id.).

         Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Nwaobasi on the morning of April 8, 2013 (Id. at 54-5). Nwaobasi examined Plaintiff and noted spider bites on the left forearm and the left buttocks (Id.). He prescribed Plaintiff Minocin, an antibiotic, and Motrin (Id.). Plaintiff saw Nwaobasi two days later, on April 10, 2013, and told him that he had not yet received the antibiotic (54-1 at 7). Nwaobasi admitted Plaintiff to the infirmary on April 10, 2013, where he stayed for four days (Id.). Plaintiff received the antibiotic right after he was admitted to the infirmary (Id.). After Plaintiff left the infirmary, he was taken to the health care unit every day to get his dressing changed (Id.). He testified the spider bites were healed by the end of May 2013 (Id. at 16).

         Plaintiff admits Defendant Gail Walls did not participate in denying him prompt treatment on April 6, 2013 (Doc. 54-1 at 8). Plaintiff sued Walls because, as health care administrator, she responded to a grievance he filed regarding his medical treatment (Id.). Plaintiff testified he does not remember any conversation with Walls before her involvement with his grievance in July 2013 (Id.). Plaintiff admits that Walls reviewed his grievance and responded on July 10, 2013, that his issue had been addressed (Id.).

         Plaintiff testified during his deposition that he did not know if Stueve or Simmons were aware of any previous grievances he had filed (Doc. 54-1 at 17). He testified he believed he was retaliated against because “I was going by how I was treated” (Id.). Specifically, when asked, “Do you know that either Stueve or Simmons acted slower in getting you help because you filed a grievance in the past, ” Plaintiff responded, “Oh, that there, I have no knowledge of that” (Id.).

         Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). In ...

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