Peoples v. Corizon Health Services et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Senior Judge Inge P Johnson on 7/7/2014. (AVC)
2014 Jul-07 PM 04:03
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CORIZON HEALTH SERVICES, et al.,
Pending before the court is defendant Anissa Thomas’s motion for summary
judgment (doc. 39). After dismissing plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claims against
all other defendants as well as his deliberate indifference claim against Thomas,
this court ordered Thomas to file an answer to plaintiff’s complaint of excessive
force (doc. 35). Pursuant to the court’s order, Thomas filed a Supplement Special
Report (doc. 39), and the court construed the report as a motion for summary
judgment (doc. 40). Although the court ordered plaintiff to respond to Thomas’s
summary judgment motion within twenty days of the date of entry of the court’s
Order (doc. 40), plaintiff failed to do so. For the reasons discussed below, the
court finds that defendant’s motion for summary judgment is due to be granted.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
In his amended complaint, plaintiff alleged that he complained to Thomas, a
registered nurse, about a spinal injury and plaintiff’s inability to receive treatment
for the pain (doc. 10 p. 7). Plaintiff further alleged that Thomas told him that he
would not see the doctor. Thomas then allegedly instructed plaintiff to stand
against a wall where Thomas, for no apparent reason, “struck plaintiff in the back
with tremendous force causing further increase in pain.” Id. Plaintiff claimed that
he screamed “your [sic] hurting me” as he turned to see Thomas smiling at other
nurses in the room. Id. Plaintiff also claimed that he suffered a shoulder injury
while carrying laundry bags and although he continued to request medical
attention for his pain, Thomas prevented him from seeing a doctor. Id. pp. 8–9.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A court may grant a movant’s motion for summary judgment “when the
pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law.” Jean-Baptiste v. Gutierrez, 627 F.3d 816, 820
(11th Cir. 2010); Hamilton v. Southland Christian School, Inc., 680 F.3d 1316,
1318 (11th Cir. 2012). In determining whether to grant the motion, the court must
view “the evidence and all reasonable inferences from that evidence. . . in the light
most favorable to the nonmovant.” Jean-Baptiste, 627 F.3d at 820 (11th Cir.
2010); Moton v. Cowart, 631 F.3d 1337, 1341 (11th Cir. 2011). However, the
court need only draw those inferences “to the extent supportable by the record.”
Penley v. Eslinger, 605 F.3d 843, 848 (11th Cir. 2010). Once met by the moving
party, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to come forward with evidence to
establish each element essential to that party’s case sufficient to sustain a jury
verdict. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Earley v.
Champion Int’l Corp., 907 F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir. 1990).
Plaintiff has failed to respond to defendant’s Supplemental Special Report,
which this court treated as a motion for summary judgment. “[T]he plain language
of Rule 56 . . . mandates the entry of summary judgment . . . against a party who
fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Johnson v. Bd. of Regent of the Univ. of Ga., 263 F.3d 1234, 1243 (11th Cir.
2001). The sole issue in plaintiff’s case against defendant Thomas is whether
Thomas used excessive force against plaintiff by striking plaintiff in the back. In
her motion for summary judgment, Thomas explicitly and vehemently denies
having struck plaintiff. See Thomas Aff. p. 2 (doc. 39 p. 11) (“At no time have I
ever assaulted or had any physical altercation whatsoever with Mr. Peoples.”). In
fact, Thomas asserts that the only incident between Thomas and Peoples recorded
in plaintiff’s medical chart is when Correctional Officer McDowell ordered
Peoples to leave the medical unit on January 25, 2011 after Peoples declared that
he would see the doctor one way or the other. See Doc. 39 p. 6, 19. Because
defendant’s evidence that she used no force, less yet excessive force, in treating
the plaintiff is uncontradicted, plaintiff has not established the existence of the
sole element essential to his case and on which he would bear the burden of proof
at trial. Thus, the court finds that summary judgment in favor of the defendant is
Based upon a consideration of the foregoing, the court finds that
defendant’s motion for summary judgment (doc. 39) is due to be GRANTED. The
court shall grant said motion by separate Order.
DONE and ORDERED this 7th day of July 2014.
INGE PRYTZ JOHNSON
SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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