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Shake v. Smiley

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

March 21, 2018



          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Jerry Donald Shake filed this civil rights action based on circumstances that arose while he was a pretrial detainee at the Vigo County Jail. Mr. Shake alleges that defendants Dee Smiley and Susan Streeter were deliberately indifferent to his skin condition (an allergic reaction and scabies) in violation of his constitutional rights.

         Defendants now seek resolution of the claims alleged against them through summary judgment. They argue that Mr. Shake has failed to produce any evidence that his treatment for an allergic reaction or scabies violated his Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment rights. For the reasons explained below, defendant Susan Streeter's motion for summary judgment filed October 31, 2017, and defendant Dee Smiley's motion for summary judgment filed November 15, 2017, dkts [29] and [35], are granted.

         I. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material fact” is one that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011). “The applicable substantive law will dictate which facts are material.” National Soffit & Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).

         “[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by ‘showing'-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Id. at 325.

         In this case, Defendants have met that burden through their unopposed motions for summary judgment. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”). By not responding to the motions for summary judgment, Mr. Shake conceded to Defendants' version of the facts. Brasic v.Heinemann=sInc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This is the result of Local Rule 56-1, of which Mr. Shake was notified. See dkt. 29. This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Undisputed Facts

         Nurse Streeter is a Registered Nurse in the State of Indiana, who has almost twenty years of nursing experience. She is a full-time employee for Quality Correctional Care, LLC, and works as a nurse at the Vigo County Jail. She provides nursing care and services to the inmates at the jail.

         Ms. Smiley is the Jail Matron. She is responsible for the review and processing of all inmate grievances. Inmate grievances are made through a Vigo County Security Inmate General Action Request Form (Action Form). The Action Forms related to medical care are sent to the medical department consistent with Jail policy. Ms. Smiley was not involved in Mr. Shake's actual medical treatment. Her role was to review and process the Action Forms Mr. Shake submitted. Ms. Smiley responded to each Action Form and request for medical treatment made by Mr. Shake.

         Quentin Emerson, M.D., is the physician at the Vigo County Jail. He visits the Vigo County Jail every Friday and is on-call twenty-four hours a day to answer any medical questions posed by the nursing staff.

         On or about June 18, 2016, Mr. Shake was arrested in Terre Haute and incarcerated as a pre-trial detainee in the Vigo County Jail. He remained at the Vigo County Jail for six months. While incarcerated at the Vigo County Jail, Mr. Shake experienced a rash and hives.

         On August 17, 2016, Mr. Shake complained of an itchy rash. Two days later, he met with Dr. Emerson who diagnosed Mr. Shake with an allergic reaction and prescribed Prednisone for an eight-day period. This was an effective treatment and temporarily resolved Mr. Shake's rash.

         On September 11, 2016, Mr. Shake asked for more Prednisone and Benadryl because he continued to experience discomfort with his rash. The following day, Nurse Streeter examined Mr. Shake. She noted he had redness and raised bumps in the webbing of his hands and feet, and he also had a rash in his groin area and lower abdomen. Nurse Streeter determined he ...

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