William Lane v. Wexford Health Sources, et al
Per Curiam OPINION: The district court's judgment is AFFIRMED and Lane's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED as MOOT, decision not for publication. Gilbert S. Merritt, Circuit Judge; Boyce F. Martin , Jr., Circuit Judge and Ronald Lee Gilman, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0015n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Jan 07, 2013
WILLIAM L. LANE,
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES
(CONTREATOR); VANESSA SAWYER, Health
Care Administrator; PAMILA REDDEN,
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF
Before: MERRITT, MARTIN, and GILMAN, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. William L. Lane, a pro se Ohio prisoner, appeals the dismissal of two
defendants from his civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Lane has moved for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.
Seeking monetary and injunctive relief, Lane sued Wexford Health Sources (Wexford), a
company providing services to Noble Correctional Institution prisoners; Pamela (spelled “Pamila”
by the plaintiff) Redden, a physician employed by Wexford; and Vanessa Sawyer, a Health Care
Administrator at the prison. Lane alleged that he is disabled from arthritis in his left leg, a previous
gun shot wound to that leg, and a discrepancy between the length of his legs. He claims that: (1)
Redden exhibited deliberate indifference to his disabilities by failing to provide him with a low-level
dorm accommodation and, as a result, he injured himself on December 31, 2009, and again on
February 18, 2010, while moving to another floor; (2) unspecified medical staff told him to throw
out his old shoes, which contained a heel lift, because he was going to get a new pair; (3) unspecified
-2medical staff denied him medical care for over two weeks after his injuries on February 18, 2010;
and (4) Sawyer failed to intervene, despite knowing of the problems he was having with medical
Wexford and Redden (collectively the Wexford defendants) moved for summary judgment.
A magistrate judge recommended granting the motion. Lane objected and moved to subpoena his
medical records. The magistrate judge granted Lane additional time to review his medical records
and to file supplemental objections, but denied his request for a subpoena. Thereafter, Lane filed
supplemental objections, along with various motions for additional relief. The district court adopted
the magistrate judge’s recommendation and granted summary judgment for the Wexford defendants.
The district court denied Lane’s various motions for relief. Lane filed a notice of appeal.
Sawyer then successfully moved for summary judgment. Lane did not appeal the district
court order dismissing Sawyer as a defendant or the district court’s final judgment terminating the
On appeal, Lane challenges the dismissals of all three defendants and argues that the
dismissals were based on an incomplete record. However, Lane’s notice of appeal was premature,
given that the order he appealed disposed of fewer than all the parties and claims. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 54(b). While the final judgment vested us with jurisdiction to hear the appeal with respect to the
Wexford defendants, see Bonner v. Perry, 564 F.3d 424, 429 (6th Cir. 2009), the notice of appeal
did not do so with respect to Sawyer because the allegations against Sawyer had not been dismissed
when Lane filed his notice of appeal. See id. To challenge the dismissal of Sawyer, Lane “would
have had to file a new notice of appeal after [Sawyer] was dismissed, specifying that [he] appealed
from the final judgment in the action.” Id. He did not do so. Thus, only Lane’s challenges to the
dismissal of the Wexford defendants and to the completeness of the record are properly before us.
We review the district court’s decision de novo. Williams v. Mehra, 186 F.3d 685, 689 (6th
-3The district court properly entered summary judgment in favor of the Wexford defendants.
Although “a private entity that contracts to perform traditional state functions may . . . be sued
pursuant to § 1983,” a § 1983 claim cannot be based solely on a theory of respondeat superior.
Johnson v. Karnes, 398 F.3d 868, 877 (6th Cir. 2005). Rather, an entity may be liable under § 1983
only if its official policies or customs resulted in injury to the plaintiff. Id. Lane sued Wexford and
alleged only that its medical staff inadequately treated his medical conditions. Such allegations do
not state a § 1983 claim. Id.
The district court also properly granted summary judgment in favor of Redden. To establish
an Eighth Amendment claim regarding medical treatment, a prisoner must demonstrate that the
defendant acted, or failed to act, with “‘deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.’” Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). That
standard requires a state of mind that evinces “deliberateness tantamount to intent to punish.” Miller
v. Calhoun Cnty., 408 F.3d 803, 813 (6th Cir. 2005). “[A]n official’s failure to alleviate a significant
risk that he should have perceived but did not” is not an Eighth Amendment violation. Farmer, 511
U.S. at 838.
Lane’s chief complaint against Redden is that she did not grant his requests for a low-level
dorm accommodation prior to his injuries in December 2009 and February 2010. Nothing in the
record, however, suggests that Redden acted with the requisite intent required to support a claim of
deliberate indifference. Lane was transferred to the Noble Correctional Institution in November
2009. He was seen at a Chronic Care Clinic on November 21, 2009, at which time it was reported
that he “ambulates well.” Further, Lane was told to “exercise” as part of his Chronic Care Clinic
treatment plan. Redden saw Lane on November 27, 2009. Contrary to his allegations of deliberate
indifference, Redden changed his medication on that date, at Lane’s request, to treat his complaints
of leg pain. Lane was seen by a podiatrist on December 19, 2009. The podiatrist prescribed him a
5/8-inch shoe lift, noting that Lane had a temporary shoe lift at the time. Nothing in the podiatrist’s
-4notes from that date indicate that Lane’s mobility should be limited. Furthermore, a March 9, 2010,
entry in Lane’s medical records recommends that Lane “try to walk.” These records suggest an
attempt by medical staff, including Redden, to keep Lane mobile. They do not suggest that Lane’s
medical needs were being deliberately disregarded.
Lane attempts to bolster his deliberate-indifference claim against Redden by highlighting the
fact that a non-defendant doctor at the prison gave him a low-level dorm accommodation and a cane
on March 10, 2010. However, these assertions do not show deliberate indifference on Redden’s part.
Lane’s allegations suggest, at most, a difference in medical opinion, which is not actionable under
§ 1983. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 107.
Further, because Lane does not allege facts showing that Redden was personally involved
in ordering shoes for him, or in the purported two-week delay in treatment after his February 18,
2010, injuries, these assertions do not support a deliberate-indifference claim against Redden. See
Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). Moreover, Lane’s records show that he was
scheduled for nurse sick call on February 19, 2010, but was a “no show.” Further, in April 2010,
medical staff told Lane that they would order the boots Lane was requesting at that time if the
podiatrist prescribed them.
Lane unpersuasively argues that the district court based its judgment on an incomplete record.
We review for an abuse of discretion a claim that summary judgment was prematurely granted due
to the lack of discovery. Vance ex rel. Hammons v. United States, 90 F.3d 1145, 1149 (6th Cir.
1996). Lane did not file an affidavit asserting that facts necessary to oppose the Wexford
defendants’ summary judgment motion were unavailable to him. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d). “[T]o
preserve the argument that the grant of summary judgment was too hasty and precluded necessary
discovery, the appellant must have complied with the strictures of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56[(d)].” Plott v. Gen. Motors Corp., Packard Elec. Div., 71 F.3d 1190, 1196–97 (6th Cir. 1995).
“Bare allegations or vague assertions of the need for discovery are not enough.” Summers v. Leis,
-5368 F.3d 881, 887 (6th Cir. 2004). Because Lane failed to satisfy the requirements of Rule 56(d),
the district court was under no obligation to allow additional discovery pertaining to his medical
records before granting summary judgment.
The district court’s judgment is affirmed and Lane’s motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis is denied as moot.
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