Smith v. McGee et al
ORDER: For reasons explained herein, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 65 is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in PART. Summary judgment is DENIED as to Defendants McGhee, Niepert, and Butler. Summary judgment is GRANTED in favor of the Warden of Menard who was added in his or her official capacity only to effectuate any injunctive relief ordered, because injunctive relief is now moot. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to UPDATE the docket sheet to reflect accurate spellings of Defendants' names consistent with footnote 1. Defendants Tripp, Gregson, and Thompson are in default, which will be addressed separately. Signed by Judge David W. Dugan on 9/16/2022. (kgk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ALLORY SMITH, K84523,
WARDEN OF MENARD, 1
Case No. 18-cv-1517-DWD
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DUGAN, District Judge:
Plaintiff Allory Smith, a former inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections
(IDOC) now on parole 2, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
deprivations of his constitutional rights while at Menard Correctional Center (Menard).
Plaintiff alleges the defendants were deliberately indifferent to serious medical needs
because they failed to administer his prescribed Risperdal doses from June 29, 2016,
through July 6, 2016, while he was on a court writ at Menard from Pontiac Correctional
Center. The Defendants’ filed a timely Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 48), Plaintiff
1 As clarified in the Memorandum in Support of the Motion for Summary Judgment, Heather McGee is
Heather McGhee, Nurse Nayper is Karen Niepert, and Kim Butler is Kimberly Butler. (Doc. 71). As
clarified in the executed waivers of service, Leah Gracin is Lee Gregson, and Nurse Shrip is Brandy Tripp.
(Doc. 16). The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to update the docket sheet to reflect these clarifications.
2 According to the IDOC Inmate Locator, Plaintiff was released on parole on March 10, 2022.
(Search for inmate number
K84523, last accessed September 14, 2022).
responded (Doc. 50), and the Defendants’ replied (Doc. 52). The matter is now ripe for
Plaintiff initiated this case by filing a complaint on August 20, 2018. (Doc. 1). Upon
initial review, the Court identified two valid claims:
Eighth Amendment claim against Nurses McGee, Gracin,
Nayper, Thompson, and Shrip (“Menard Nurses”) for
denying or delaying Plaintiff’s access to medication and/or
mental health treatment at Menard between June 29 and July
9, 2016 3; and,
Eighth Amendment claim against Warden Butler for
disregarding or denying Plaintiff’s grievances regarding the
denial of psychotropic medication and/or mental health
treatment between June 29, and July 9, 2016.
(Doc. 6 at 3). Other claims and parties were dismissed. (Id.). Service of process was
initiated on the identified parties. The Warden of Menard was served for the sole purpose
of effectuating any injunctive relief.
Waivers of service were returned executed for Defendants McGhee, Niepert, and
Butler, and an answer was filed collectively on behalf of these parties (and the Warden of
Menard) on November 19, 2018. (Docs. 15, 19). By contrast, a wavier was returned
executed as to Defendant Gracin 4 on September 22, 2018, and by Defendant Shrip 5 on
September 27, 2019, but neither of these defendants ever filed an answer. (Doc. 16). A
The July 9, 2016, designation in the Court’s initial review appears to have been erroneous. The parties
agree that Plaintiff left Menard on July 6, 2016.
4 The executed waiver served on Defendant “Gracin” was signed by Lee Gregson. (Doc. 16).
5 The executed waiver served on Defendant “Shrip” was signed by Brandy Tripp. (Doc. 16).
waiver was never successfully executed on Defendant Thompson, but a summons was
returned as executed on February 26, 2019. (Doc. 29). Thompson never filed an answer.
On October 3, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s second motion for appointment
of counsel, and Attorney Jason Bartell was assigned to represent Plaintiff. (Doc. 41). In
August of 2020, December of 2020, June of 2021, and August of 2021, the parties received
extensions of the pending discovery and dispositive motion deadlines. (Docs. 55, 59, 62,
Finally, on September 2, 2021, the three defendants who had appeared and
answered—Defendants McGhee, Niepert, and Butler—filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Doc. 65). On October 7, 2021, Defendants sought and received an extension
of time to file an Amended Motion for Summary Judgment. On October 15, 2021, the
Defendants filed an Amended Motion, which was just an Amended Memorandum (Doc.
71) in support of their prior Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 65). On December 13,
2021, Plaintiff’s counsel filed a response (Doc. 72), and on January 26, 2022, Defendants
filed a reply (Docs. 76, 77).
On June 29, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred from Pontiac to Menard for a court writ.
Upon arrival at Menard, Plaintiff informed medical staff that he had taken psychotropic
medications in the past, and that he currently took medications. Plaintiff claims that he
verbally informed Defendants McGhee, Niepert, Thompson, Gregson, and Tripp of his
need for medications during morning and evening medical rounds throughout his stay
at Menard. The Defendants informed him that his parent institution (Pontiac) was
responsible for sending his medications and records when he went on a court writ, and
that without the records they could not provide him with any medications. Plaintiff also
claims that he submitted four emergency grievances seeking his medication, but that
Defendant Butler did not respond to any of the grievances. The parties agree that there
is no formal record of these grievances being submitted at Menard. The parties agree
that, at minimum, the grievances were mailed to the Administrative Review Board (ARB)
in late July of 2016. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of his lack of medication, his mental
condition deteriorated, and he suffered from anxiety, vomiting, massive headaches, and
In support of the Motion for Summary Judgment, the Defendants submitted
random medical records and charts, Plaintiff’s deposition (Doc. 71-5), Defendant Butler’s
responses to Plaintiff’s Interrogatories (Doc. 71-6), emails exchanged between the Illinois
Attorney General’s Office and IDOC officials concerning this case, and various grievance
and disciplinary records. 6 In response, Plaintiff submitted a copy of grievances, and a
copy of a settlement agreement from another case concerning the general care provided
in the IDOC. (Docs. 72-1-72-3). In reply, Defendants submitted additional grievance
documentation. (Doc. 77).
Of note, at his deposition, Plaintiff testified that upon arrival at Menard he spoke
to a mental health professional, he informed her of his need for medications, and he also
The Court notes that many of the attached grievances and disciplinary documents are totally irrelevant
to the claims in this case. Take for example the inclusion of a disciplinary report from May 1, 2018, (Doc.
71-9 at 2-3), or a disciplinary report and emails about contraband in the form of homemade alcohol (Doc.
71-7 at 25, 28). The inclusion of irrelevant documents can cause a waste of judicial resources because the
Court carefully reviews documents submitted at the summary judgment phase. Counsel should avoid the
inclusion of unnecessary documents in the future.
had a psychological evaluation and informed the evaluator of his need for medications.
(Doc. 71-5 at 32:1-12). Plaintiff testified that he never received his medications the first
day at Menard. (Doc. 71-5 at 32:14-17). Plaintiff testified that for the first four days of his
writ at Menard, he would talk to the nurses who made medication rounds in the morning
and evening and after rounds were completed, he would write and submit an emergency
grievance about who he talked to, what they said, and the outcome. (Id. 61:10-25). He
submitted the grievances to the Butler, but he never got a response. (Id.)
One of the nurses he spoke to was Defendant Niepert. He alleges that Niepert
knew him well from his previous years at Menard, but that she declined him assistance
because there was no note in his file about medications. (Id. at 63-65). Another nurse he
spoke to was Gregson, who was also familiar with him, and who similarly noted that his
file did not list any medications. (Id. at 67-68:12-15). Plaintiff testified that he saw
Defendant McGhee probably three times during his writ to Menard, and she also told
him that because his medical file did not reflect medication, she could not give him
anything. (Id. at 52:16-22; 88-89). Plaintiff also testified that on July 5, 2016, he spoke to
a mental health counselor, who acknowledged his status as an “SMI inmate,” and noted
that he should be provided with is medication. (Id. at 40:20-23). The counselor (Melissa
Pappas) apparently wrote in her notes that Plaintiff reported he was doing bad and had
not had his medication since he arrived at Menard. 7 (Id. at 39).
Neither party included these notes, though at the deposition Plaintiff examined the document and was
asked about it. (Doc. 71-5 at 38:19-25; 39:1-19).
Without his medication, Plaintiff testified that he was having self-harm thoughts
after three or four days, though he never harmed himself. (Id. at 50:17-21). He also stated
that he could not eat or sleep, and when he tried to eat, he would vomit. He reported “I
was having thoughts of wanting to lash out, me hurt other people.” (Id. at 57:19-24).
Additionally, he reported headaches, anxiety, and stress. (Id. 95:23-96:1).
A one-page mental health progress note dated August 1, 2016, indicates that
Plaintiff is designated as “SMI” or seriously mentally ill due to his primary diagnosis of
unspecified bipolar and related disorder. (Doc. 71-1 at 1). He can experience impaired
mood and thinking, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and suicidal ideation. (Id.). The
only other ‘medical records’ submitted on summary judgment are medication
administration charts from Pontiac. (Doc. 71-2 at 1-8).
In response to the interrogatories, Defendant Butler indicated that if an offender
was not receiving his medication, he could complain to a medical provider or file a
grievance, and that if he filed an emergency grievance, she or her designee would review
the emergency grievance. If she reviewed an emergency grievance about a lack of
medication, she would have forwarded the issue to the medical director. (doc. 71-6 at 12).
The Defendants included copies of Plaintiff’s purported July 1, 2016, and July 2,
2016, grievances wherein he complained that he was not receiving his medications at
Menard. (Doc. 71-1 at 33-36), as well as a July 10, 2016, letter he sent to the ARB about
the same issue (Doc. 71-7 at 37). They also included an August 23, 2016, grievance that
he filed detailing his entire stay at Menard. In the grievance he mentions that on July 3,
2016, during evening rounds he informed Defendant Thompson of his need for
medication. (Doc. 71-7 at 39).
An October 21, 2016, letter from the Administrative Review Board to Plaintiff
indicated that the ARB reviewed and processed his grievances from July 1, 2, and August
23, 2016. (Doc. 71-7). During the review of the grievances, the ARB learned from the
Chief of Mental Health that there was no record of Plaintiff receiving medication at
Menard during his court writ. The ARB affirmed Plaintiff’s grievance and directed
Warden Melvin to instruct his staff to ensure that proper protocols are followed when a
Plaintiff is transferred from one facility to another on court writ to ensure health records
The grievances submitted by Plaintiff in his response, and the grievances
submitted by Defendants with their reply are duplicative of those submitted by
Defendants in support of their motion.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
A. Legal Standards
Summary judgment is proper if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). In
determining a summary judgment motion, the Court views the facts in the light most
favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. Apex
Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).
Courts generally cannot resolve factual disputes on a motion for summary judgment. See
Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650, 656 (2014) (“[A] judge’s function at summary judgment is
not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether
there is a genuine issue for trial.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
“A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment by acting with subjective
‘deliberate indifference’ to an inmate’s ‘objectively serious’ medical condition.” Reck v.
Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 27 F.4th 473, 483 (7th Cir. 2022). The first consideration is
whether the prisoner has an “objectively serious medical condition.” Arnett v. Webster,
658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011); accord, Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005).
A medical condition is objectively serious if a physician has diagnosed it as requiring
treatment, or the need for treatment would be obvious to a layperson. Pyles v. Fahim, 771
F.3d 403, 409 (7th Cir. 2014). It is not necessary for such a medical condition to “be lifethreatening to be serious; rather, it could be a condition that would result in further
significant injury or unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain if not treated.” Gayton v.
McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 620 (7th Cir. 2010); accord, Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 828 (1994)
(violating the Eighth Amendment requires “deliberate indifference to a substantial risk
of serious harm”) (internal quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
The second consideration is whether Plaintiff can establish that a defendant was
deliberately indifferent to the serious medical condition. Prevailing on the subjective
prong requires a prisoner to show that a prison official has subjective knowledge of—and
then disregards—an excessive risk to inmate health. See Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653. The
plaintiff need not show the individual “literally ignored” his complaint, but that the
individual was aware of the condition and either knowingly or recklessly disregarded it.
Hayes v. Snyder, 546 F.3d 516, 524 (7th Cir. 2008). “This is a high bar ‘because it requires a
showing [of] something approaching a total unconcern for the prisoner’s welfare in the
face of a serious risk.’” Brown v. Osmundson, 38 F.4th 545, 550 (7th Cir. 2022) citing Rasho
v. Jeffreys, 22 F.4th 703, 710 (7th Cir. 2022). “Something more than negligence or even
malpractice is required” to prove deliberate indifference. Pyles, 771 F.3d at 409. Deliberate
indifference involves “intentional or reckless conduct, not mere negligence.” Berry v.
Peterman, 604 F.3d 435, 440 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Gayton, 593 F.3d at 620).
An injury need not have been specifically diagnosed to have demanded action by
a medical professional. Conley v. Birch, 796 F.3d 742, 747 (7th Cir. 2015). “[W]hen a doctor
is aware of the need to undertake a specific task and fails to do so, the case for deliberate
indifference is particularly strong.” Reck, 27 F.4th at 483, citing Goodloe v. Sood, 947 F.3d
1026, 1031 (7th Cir. 2020). “An official may not escape liability by ‘refusing to verify
underlying facts that she strongly suspects to be true.’” Id. “A nurse confronted with an
‘inappropriate or questionable practice’ should not simply defer to that practice, but
rather has a professional obligation to the patient to ‘take appropriate action,’ whether by
discussing the nurse’s concerns with the treating physician or by contacting a responsible
administrator or higher authority.” Berry, 604 F.3d at 443. A nurse’s deference to
physicians may not be “blind or unthinking.” Reck, 27 F.4th at 485. “Under some
circumstances when a nurse is aware of an inmate’s pain and the ineffectiveness of the
medications, a delay in advising the attending physician or in initiated treatment may
support a claim of deliberate indifference.” Id.
A plaintiff must provide evidence, either direct or circumstantial to prove
deliberate indifference. Brown, 38 F.4th 550. Direct evidence is rare because prison
officials do not typically proclaim that they violated the Constitution. Circumstantial
evidence may include evidence of the denial of medical treatment, delayed treatment,
continued ineffective treatment, a substantial departure from medical norms, ignorance
to an obvious risk, or the refusal of care based on cost. Id. To demonstrate that delay
caused a cognizable injury, an inmate must show that the delay either exacerbated his
injury or that it unnecessarily prolonged the pain. Thomas v. Martija, 991 F.3d 763, 771
(7th Cir. 2021). In cases where prison officials delayed rather than denied treatment, the
plaintiff must offer verifying medical evidence that the delay (rather than the underlying
condition) caused some degree of harm. Conley, 796 F.3d at 749, citing Jackson v. Pollion,
733 F.3d 786, 790 (7th Cir. 2013).
The Defendants argue that summary judgment should be granted in their favor
because Plaintiff did not suffer from a serious medical condition, and their actions did
not amount to deliberate indifference to a serious need. (Doc. 71). Specifically, they argue
that the deprivation of medication for seven days does not constitute a serious medical
need, and the Plaintiff has not supplied medical evidence that shows that he suffered
anything more than negligible and fleeting side effects.
As to subjective intent, Defendants Niepert and McGhee argue that they did not
have actual knowledge of any potential harm because they did not have Plaintiff’s current
medical records, any familiarity with him from his prior time at Menard was not enough
to impute knowledge of his current prescriptions, and as nurses they could not provide
him with medications without a prescription because that would exceed their medical
licenses. Defendant Butler argues that Plaintiff has not established a subjective intent on
her behalf because he has no proof that she received any of his emergency grievances, so
it can not be shown that she personally facilitated, approved, condoned, or turned a blind
eye to his condition.
All three defendants argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity because
Plaintiff did not have a serious medical need and their conduct did not violate clearly
established law. Defendants also argue that because Plaintiff did not suffer any notable
physical injury, he is barred from seeking compensatory damages.
Defendants argue that the Warden of Menard is entitled to summary judgment because
Plaintiff does not reside at Menard, so any injunctive relief related to that facility is moot.
In response Plaintiff argues that his medical need was serious because he was
designated as “SMI,” meaning he had a serious mental illness. Plaintiff further argues
that his symptoms of vomiting, thoughts of self-harm, anxiety, headaches, and other
symptoms should be considered evidence of the seriousness of his condition and the
impact of the denial of his medication, especially in light of his designation as SMI. As to
Defendants’ subjective state of mind, Plaintiff argues that there is at least a genuine
dispute of material fact as to whether the Defendants knew about his serious medical
need, and whether their actions were insufficient in response to his need. He argues that
the Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity because there are genuine
questions of material fact about their actions, which relate to the clearly established right
to adequate medical care.
As to damages, Plaintiff submits that he is entitled to
compensatory damages for the variety of physical ailments that he experienced as a result
of not having his medication for a week. Finally, he contends that his request for
injunctive relief is not moot because it should be interpreted to apply more broadly to
IDOC as a whole, consistent with recent litigation in other federal courts concerning the
state of the medical care provided in IDOC facilities.
In reply, the Defendants reiterate that they believe the condition to be considered
is really the outcome of the deprivation of medication, rather than the existence of the
underlying condition of a serious mental illness. The Defendants also argue that Plaintiff
failed to supply verifying medical evidence of the conditions he self-reported, so they
argue that he can not establish that the denial of his medication caused harm. Concerning
subjective intent, the Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s grievances show that they were
received by the ARB, but not that Butler or other defendants were aware of his requests
for care. They further argue that at best, the grievances show negligence rather than
First, the Court must assess the seriousness of Plaintiff’s medical condition. There
is no dispute that a designation as seriously mentally ill indicates a serious medical
condition. Rather, the Defendants argue that the consideration in this case is more
nuanced because Plaintiff complains of the fallout from a seven-day lack of his
medication, rather than complaining of an overarching issue with his mental illness. The
Defendants make much of the Seventh Circuit’s discussion in Jackson v. Pollion, where the
Seventh Circuit chastised a judge for assuming that an inmate with hypertension had a
serious medical condition, rather than assessing the specific issue at hand—the side
effects caused by a three-week delay in his prescription medication for high blood
pressure. 733 F.3d 786 (7th Cir. 2013). The entire discussion in Jackson v. Pollion about the
difference between an underlying serious condition and the impacts of a short-term
deprivation of a treatment for that condition is dicta. The Jackson Court opened by stating
that the judge’s grant of summary judgment in the case was “so clearly correct as to not
require elaboration.” Id. at 787. The Jackson Court then went on to discuss the hesitance
of the entire legal profession to delve into nuanced medical issues, and it offered a
detailed analysis of the non-severe impacts of a three-week lapse in blood pressure
medication on the plaintiff in that case. Although this Court appreciates the points made
in Jackson—that medical claims should be closely examined and best efforts should be
made to understand the technical implications of various treatment modalities and
decisions—it does not find that the present case is on point with the concerns and
rationale raised in Jackson.
The Jackson plaintiff suffered a slightly elevated blood pressure during a threeweek deprivation of his medications, but the Court noted with citations to research that
mildly elevated blood pressure for a short time does not cause risk of a stroke, or heart
attack in the short- or long-term. The Jackson Court emphasized that the District Court
should have taken more time to learn about the impacts of blood pressure before deeming
the condition serious and proceeding to an analysis of subjective intent. Unlike the
Jackson plaintiff who suffered only a slightly elevated blood pressure over the span of
three weeks, Plaintiff in this case testified at his deposition that within four days of being
without his medications he was having visions of self-harm and of harming others, and
he had a host of other physical symptoms. In recent years, courts and the general public
have increasingly recognized the importance of mental health and of adequate treatment.
Thoughts of self-harm, or of harm to others, are serious and should not be taken lightly.
These symptoms are unlike a few days or weeks of slightly elevated blood pressure. The
Defendants do not offer any medical evidence to support their position that the Plaintiff’s
condition during the week of missed doses was not serious. In fact, Defendants tendered
hardly any medical records in support of their motion for summary judgment. In contrast
to Plaintiff’s own deposition testimony that he was not doing well and that he suffered
greatly during the one-week period, 8 the Court cannot confidently say that there is no
genuine dispute of material fact about the existence of a serious medical condition.
The Court also notes that there is at least a genuine dispute about the subjective
intent of the defendants. As to Defendants Niepert and McGhee, Plaintiff testified at his
deposition that he told both nurses on multiple occasions that he was supposed to have
medication for his serious medical illness. He further testified that both Defendants were
familiar with him from prior incarceration at Menard for over five years, so even if they
did not know his exact prescription or dosage, they knew enough to recognize that he
was an individual with a serious mental illness who regularly took medication for his
The Defendants argue that Plaintiff lacks verifying medical evidence that he suffered effects from the lack
of medication, but the deposition transcript makes it clear that the Defendants possess records of this
nature. At the deposition, the Defendants questioned Plaintiff about multiple mental health notes and
records that indicate the lack of medication had an impact on him. These records would include the notes
from Melissa Pappas that stated Plaintiff was not doing well. (Doc. 71-5 at 39-40). Medical records and
Plaintiff’s own testimony can be forms of verifying medical evidence in the absence of expert testimony.
Williams v. Liefer, 491 F.3d 710, 715-16 (7th Cir. 2007) (sources such as medical records and plaintiff’s own
testimony about the impact of a delay in treatment were sufficient to overcome judgment as a matter of
law in favor for a doctor).
condition. In further support that Niepert and McGhee knew about his desire for
medication, Plaintiff submitted grievances from July 1, 2, and August 23, that detailed his
efforts to communicate with Niepert and McGhee on an ongoing basis about his medical
needs. In total, this evidence creates a genuine dispute about the Defendants’ familiarity
with Plaintiff’s condition such that a reasonable jury could find that these individuals
knew about Plaintiff’s need and blatantly ignored it.
The Defendants argue that because they did not have medical authority as nurses
to disburse medication without a prescription or Plaintiff’s medical file, they cannot be
held liable, but this argument is out of step with Seventh Circuit precedent. Nursing staff
is not absolved from liability because they are unable to personally render care. Berry,
604 F.3d at 443 (“As an ethical matter, a nurse confronted with an ‘inappropriate or
questionable practice’ should not simply defer to that practice, but rather has a
professional obligation to the patient to ‘take appropriate action[.]’” “We are not
persuaded, at least as a matter of law, by [the nurse’s argument that he cannot be held
liable because he lacked authority to refer [plaintiff] to a dentist without further
approval.”). A prison nurse is still responsible for alerting superiors to an urgent need
for medical care. Reck, 27 F.4th at 485 (if a nurse is aware of an inmate’s medical problem,
a delay in advising a supervisor may constitute deliberate indifference). Therefore, the
Court does not find that Niepert and McGhee are entitled to summary judgment.
It is worth mentioning that although Defendants Gregson, Thompson, and Tripp
have failed to answer or otherwise appear, summary judgment does not appear
appropriate for them on the available record because the issues concerning their
involvement are likely identical to McGhee and Niepert. Unless Gregson, Tripp, and
Thompson, have some sort of documentary evidence not already available that shows
that they acted on Plaintiff’s requests for care, it is doubtful they would be able to seek
summary judgment on the same grounds used by Niepert and McGhee.
Turning to Defendant Butler, the Court does not find that Butler has met the
burden for summary judgment on the record presented. The only evidence submitted on
Butler’s behalf is her responses to interrogatories wherein she stated that if a grievance
was received and marked as an emergency, she would have sent it to the medical
administrator. This gives no information about the grievance practices at Menard, and it
provides no explanation for what happened with Plaintiff’s grievances that he alleges he
submitted on the first four days of his stay at Menard. Plaintiff cannot be said to lose his
claim simply because no one at Menard made a record of anything that occurred to him
during his stay there on a court writ. The Court finds it significant that when the
Administrative Review Board investigated and reviewed Plaintiff’s grievances about this
issue at Menard, they concluded that his grievance should be affirmed, and that the
facility failed to provide him with medication.
(Doc. 71-7 at 32).
correspondence about the investigation attached by Defendants in support of their
summary judgment motion paints a grim picture of the handling of Plaintiff’s medication
issue, showing that no one could really understand what transpired and that higher level
medical officials believed that what transpired was incorrect. 9 In light of this evidence,
In response to queries by IDOC, Dr. Melvin Hinton (the Chief of Mental Health for IDOC) wrote, “If he
was at Menard and received any psychotropic medications, a MAR would have been created and
maintained. If no such MAR exists, then it is clear he did not receive his psychotropic medication. This
and Plaintiff’s own deposition testimony and grievance documentation, the Court finds
that summary judgment should not be granted on behalf of Defendant Butler.
Given the foregoing analysis, the Court finds that the Defendants are not eligible
for qualified immunity. The prescribed need for medications for a diagnosed serious
mental illness is an obvious need that requires really no medical expertise to appreciate.
The defendants cannot conscionably argue that their duty was so unclear under the law
that they should not be held responsible if it is established that they in fact knew of
Plaintiff’s need and did not act.
As to damages, though the Defendants are correct that compensatory damages
cannot be sought absent a physical injury, the existence of a physical injury in this case is
open for debate. At minimum, Plaintiff would be able to collect punitive and nominal
damages for his week of discomfort and distress, so the damages issue does not foreclose
Finally, turning to injunctive relief, the Court agrees with the Defendants that
injunctive relief is moot at this juncture. Although the Court appreciates the point made
by Plaintiff’s counsel about the state of medical care available in the IDOC, the Court
notes that in March of 2022, Plaintiff was released on parole. His release makes the state
of medical care in the IDOC of particularly low importance to him. Accordingly, the
would be an error on IDOC’s part. He should have received his psychotropic medications. Can you send
me the dates he was on WRIT (to confirm), am I correct that someone from Pontiac marked that he received
medications when he was not in the facility? If so that is a major falsification of medical documents.” (Doc.
71-7 at 43). In response to a follow-up query, he wrote, “According to the MAR, there is no indication that
he received medications while at Menard. In fact, his MAR from Pontiac indicates that on 6/29 & 6/30 a
nurse went to his cell but he was not in the cell; clearly he was at Menard at the time. I believe he is correct
that he did not receive his medications while at Menard.” (Doc. 71-1 at 42).
Warden of Menard need not remain in this case, and summary judgment will be granted
solely as to the issue of injunctive relief.
In conclusion, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 65) will be
GRANTED in PART, and DENIED in PART. The Motion is GRANTED only as to the
Warden of Menard because the request for injunctive relief is MOOT. The Clerk of Court
is DIRECTED to TERMINATE the Warden of Menard from this case, because the
Warden was added for the sole purpose of implementing injunctive relief. By contrast,
summary judgment (Doc. 65) is DENIED as to Defendants McGhee, Niepert, and Butler.
By separate order, the Court will address the default of Defendants Gregson, Tripp, and
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: September 16, 2022
DAVID W. DUGAN
United States District Judge
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