United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the court on the summary judgment motion
filed by Tari Wolfe on March 22, 2016. For the reasons set
forth below, the motion for summary judgment (DE 36) is
DENIED IN PART as to the claims that Nurse Tari Wolfe denied
Steven Shane Satterly dental care in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment from May 30, 2012, to July 31, 2012. The
motion is GRANTED as to all other claims.
Shane Satterly was a prisoner at the Wabash County Jail in
2012 when the events giving rise to this complaint occurred.
He filed this case pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and was granted leave to proceed on a Fourteenth
Amendment claim for compensatory damages for a denial of
dental care by Nurse Tari Wolfe in her individual capacity
from May until September 2012.
the court screened the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A, it applied the same deliberate indifference standard
applicable to Eighth Amendment cases. See Minix v.
Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 831 (7th Cir. 2010)
(“Although the Eighth Amendment applies only to
convicted persons, pretrial detainees . . . are entitled to
the same basic protections under the Fourteenth
Amendment's due process clause. Accordingly, [courts]
apply the same legal standards to deliberate indifference
claims brought under either the Eighth or Fourteenth
Defendant filed a summary judgment motion applying that test,
but after Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 576 U.S. ___,
___; 135 S.Ct. 2466 (2015), was decided, the court asked for
rebriefing because it appeared that all pre-trial detainee
claims under the Fourteenth Amendment might be subject to the
test in Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979).
The defendant did so, but argues that the Bell test
is not applicable. After this motion was fully briefed, the
Seventh Circuit clarified that Kingsley only applies
to excessive force claims and did not change the test for
denial of medical treatment claims such as this
Therefore the court will apply the same Eighth Amendment
standards to this Fourteenth Amendment claim that were cited
in the screening order. See DE 8.
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court must view
all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. A court must avoid the
temptation to “make credibility determinations, weigh
the evidence, or decide which inferences to draw from the
facts; these are jobs for a factfinder.” Payne v.
Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003). Summary
judgment is not a substitute for a trial on the merits or a
vehicle for resolving factual disputes. Waldridge v. Am.
Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).
Instead, the court's sole task in ruling on a motion for
summary judgment is “to decide, based on the evidence
of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that
requires a trial.” Payne, 337 F.3d at 770. If
a reasonable factfinder could find in favor of the nonmoving
party, summary judgment may not be granted. Id.
preliminary matter, the Defendant argues that the court
should not consider any facts presented by Satterly in his
reply brief because it was not formatted as required by Local
Rule 56-1. Technical defects such as that do not invariably
preclude the court from considering the facts presented by
Satterly. However, because the outcome of this
summary judgment motion would not be different even if the
court considered Satterly's disputed facts, it is
unnecessary to do so.
a medical professional to be liable for deliberate
indifference to an inmate's medical needs, he must make a
decision that represents such a substantial departure from
accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards, as to
demonstrate that the person responsible actually did not base
the decision on such a judgment.” Jackson v.
Kotter, 541 F.3d 688, 697 (7th Cir. 2008) (quotation
marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless, deliberate
indifference is a high standard and even medical malpractice
and incompetence do not state a claim of deliberate
indifference. Walker v. Peters, 233 F.3d 494 (7th
Cir. 2000). “Under the Eighth Amendment, [a prisoner]
is not entitled to demand specific care. She is not entitled
to the best care possible.” Forbes v. Edgar,
112 F.3d 262, 267 (7th Cir.1997). A “disagreement with
medical professionals [does not] state a cognizable Eighth
Amendment Claim under the deliberate indifference standard of
Estelle v. Gamble [429 U.S. 97 (1976)].”
Ciarpaglini v. Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 331 (7th Cir.
29, 2012, Satterly submitted a Medical Request form stating:
“I broke a molar tooth on a pork/beef fritter sandwich.
I now have two molar teeth with cavities and they hurt very
much. I'm not paying $15.00 for nothing. I need to see a
dentist.” DE 37-2 at 14. Later that day, Nurse Tari
Wolfe examined him, gave him Ibuprofen, and explained
“[t]he jail's dental procedure was that an
appointment to see a dentist outside the jail could be made,
but that the inmate or his family had to arrange to pay for
it.” DE 37-1 at 2. “Mr. Satterly informed [her],
‘my family shouldn't have to pay.'”
Id. Her contemporaneous notes show that she assessed
and documented his condition. DE 37-2 at 13. She took his
temperature and weight. She noted that the rear of tooth 19
was missing, but there was no sign of infection. She recorded
giving him medication and advising him of the jail's
dental policy. There was nothing deliberately indifferent
about her response on May 29, 2012.
next day, she wrote on his Medical Request form: “We do
not have a dentist who comes to this jail.” DE 37-2 at
14. That statement was not responsive to his need for
healthcare. His need for dental treatment was not conditioned
upon whether he went to the dentist or the dentist came to
him. In light of her examination of him and conversation with
him the previous day, no reasonable juror could find that she
was deliberately indifferent based solely upon what happened
on those two days. However, when combined with subsequent
events, a reasonable juror could find that was the beginning
of her being deliberately indifferent.
she left work on May 30, 2012, Satterly wrote an Inmate
Grievance. “I have a broken tooth and I'm in severe
pain. I filled out a medical request to see a dentist and the
response I received was ‘we do not have a dentist who
comes to this jail.' This is unacceptable. I have at
least 4 more months here. I need a dentist A.S.A.P. I will
contact the A.C.L.U. if I need to. All I want is my tooth
fixed.” DE 37-2 at 11. Nurse Wolfe did not see that
grievance until she returned to work on June 5, 2012. When
she returned, she wrote a response. Because she was not at
the jail for several days, no reasonable juror could find
that she was deliberately indifferent merely because she did
not respond sooner.
on June 5, 2012, she wrote, “If you need to see a
dentist, the condition HAS to be assessed and documented by
medical - per policy. This is a charged medical visit.”
DE 37-2 at 11. This response is confusing. To the extent that
Satterly needed to have a documented assessment, it appears
that Nurse Wolfe did one on June 29, 2012. See DE
37-2 at 13. Her response appears to be telling him that he
has to do what he has already done. It is possible that a
reasonable juror could find that the creation of such an
obstacle was deliberately indifferent. Though Satterly had
previously refused to pay, nothing in this grievance
mentioned cost. To the extent that he should have (but did
not) pay for that prior examination, Nurse Wolfe makes no
mention of that being a reason why the prior documented
assessment of his dental problem would not qualify under the
policy. Though a ...