Williams v. Hill et al

Filing 135

RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION recommending that 120 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted and that Plaintiff's claims be dismissed with prejudice. Objections to R&R due by 5/7/2009. Signed by Magistrate Judge Beth Deere on 4/23/09. (hph) (Docket text modified on 5/21/2009 to correct the description of the document filed.) (thd).

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT E A S T E R N DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS P I N E BLUFF DIVISION T H E L M A WILLIAMS, JR., ADC #93197 V. S H E I L A HILL, et al. R E C O M M E N D E D DISPOSITION I. P r o c e d u r e for Filing Objections: T h e following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District C o u rt Judge Susan Webber Wright. Any party may serve and file written objections to th is recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or le g a l basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify th a t finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of yo u r objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk no la te r than eleven (11) days from the date you receive the Partial Recommended D isp o sitio n . A copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely o b jec tio n s may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact. M a il your objections and "Statement of Necessity" to: C lerk , United States District Court E a ste rn District of Arkansas 6 0 0 West Capitol Avenue, Suite A149 L ittle Rock, AR 72201-3325 No. 5:07CV00299 SWW-BD DEFENDANTS PLAINTIFF II. B a c k gro u n d : P la in tif f Thelma Williams Jr., an Arkansas Department of Correction ("ADC") in m a te, brings this suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that his E ig h th Amendment rights have been violated. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that in O c to b e r 2006, he went to sick call complaining of a cold and was provided a medication th a t caused an adverse reaction. Plaintiff complains that the tablets that he was provided w e re "eating up" his body and his blood. He alleges that Defendants first ignored his c o n d itio n before providing him the "bad medicine" and then denied him treatment f o l lo w in g the adverse reaction. Plaintiff originally named as Defendants S. Hill, Ms. G re e n , J. Stell, and Wendy Kelley, in both their individual and official capacities. The C o u rt previously dismissed all claims against Defendant Kelley (#35). Now pending is the remaining Defendants' motion for summary judgment (#120). In the motion, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims fail as a matter of law. The Court a g re e s. For the following reasons, the Court finds that Defendants' motion (#120) should b e GRANTED. III. D is c u s s io n : A. S tand ard S u m m a r y judgment is appropriate when the evidence, viewed in the light most f a v o ra b le to the nonmoving party, presents no genuine issue of material fact. FED. R. C IV. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty 2 L o b b y , Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246 (1986). Once the moving party has successfully carried its b u rd e n under Rule 56(c), the nonmoving party has an affirmative burden to go beyond the p le a d in g s and by depositions, affidavits, or otherwise, designate "specific facts showing th a t there is a genuine issue for trial." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); Mosley v. City of N o r th w o o d s , 415 F.3d 908, 910-11 (8th Cir. 2005) ("The nonmoving party may not rest o n mere allegations or denials, but must demonstrate on the record the existence of sp ec ific facts which create a genuine issue for trial.") If the opposing party fails to carry th a t burden or fails to establish the existence of an essential element of its case on which th a t party will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment should be granted. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Although it is to be construed liberally, a pro se complaint m u s t contain specific facts supporting its conclusions." Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1 3 3 4 , 1337 (8th Cir. 1985). B. D e lib e ra te Indifference Claim Prison officials or their agents violate the Eighth Amendment if they commit "acts o r omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to [an inmate's] s e rio u s medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285 (1976). The E ig h th Circuit Court of Appeals has interpreted this standard as including both an o b je c tiv e and a subjective component: "The [plaintiff] must demonstrate (1) that [he] su f f e re d [from] objectively serious medical needs and (2) that the prison officials actually k n e w of but deliberately disregarded those needs." Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 3 1 2 3 9 (8th Cir. 1997). "The prisoner must show more than negligence, more even than g ro s s negligence, and mere disagreement with treatment decisions does not rise to the le v e l of a constitutional violation." Estate of Rosenberg v. Crandell, 56 F.3d 35, 37 (8th C ir. 1995). When an inmate alleges that a delay in medical treatment rises to the level of an E ig h th Amendment violation, "the objective seriousness of the deprivation should also be m e a su re d `by reference to the effect of delay in treatment.'" Beyerbach v. Sears, 49 F.3d 1 3 2 4 , 1326 (8th Cir. 1995), abrogation on other grounds recognized by Reece v. Groose, 6 0 F.3d 487, 492 (8th Cir. 1995) (quoting Hill v. Dekalb Regional Youth Det. Ctr., 40 F .3 d 1176, 1188 (11th Cir. 1994)). Therefore, the inmate "must place verifying medical e v id e n c e in the record to establish the detrimental effect of delay in medical treatment." C ro w ley v. Hedgepeth, 109 F.3d 500, 502 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting Hill, 40 F.3d at 1188); s e e also Jackson v. Hallazgo, 30 Fed. Appx. 668 (8th Cir. Mar. 6, 2002) (unpub. per c u ria m ) (citing Coleman v. Rahija, 114 F.3d at 778, 784 (8th Cir. 1997) ("[a]n inmate's f a ilu re to place verifying medical evidence in the record to establish the detrimental effect o f delay in medical treatment precludes a claim of deliberate indifference to medical n e e d s" )); O'Neal v. White, 221 F.3d 1343, *1 (8th Cir. July 12, 2000) (unpub. per c u ria m ) (citing Crowley, 109 F.3d at 502) (concluding that plaintiff's "failure to submit v e rif yin g medical evidence to show a detrimental effect from any delay in tests, surgery, o r alternative treatments was fatal to his Eighth Amendment claim")). 4 H e re , the undisputed evidence presented by Defendants shows that on October 11, 2 0 0 6 , Plaintiff submitted a sick call request when he began to suffer cold symptoms. On T h u rs d a y, October 18, 2006, Plaintiff was seen by Defendants in the infirmary. At that tim e , according to Plaintiff, Defendant Green provided him what is believed to be a "cold s e t up," which included Tylenol and Chlor-Trimeton, an antihistimine.1 After Plaintiff f in i sh e d taking the "cold set up," Plaintiff alleges that he began to suffer an adverse re a ctio n to the medicine. However, rather than submit a sick call request, Plaintiff su b m itted a grievance and an affidavit. The grievance was not received by the infirmary u n til November 30, 2006, three days after Plaintiff was transferred to the Delta Regional U n it of the ADC. The Plaintiff's allegations fail to support a deliberate indifference c la im as a matter of law. A s an initial matter, the Court is hesitant to say that Plaintiff suffered from a " se rio u s medical need." A serious medical need is "one that is so obvious that even a la yp e rs o n would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention." Vaughn v. G re e n e County, 438 F.3d 845, 851 (8th Cir. 2005). Although Plaintiff complains that the m e d ic in e in question was "eating up" his body and blood, Plaintiff has failed to provide th e Court any medical records indicating that he suffered any kind of allergic reaction to In their motion for summary judgment, Defendants contend that none of the D e f en d a n ts provided Plaintiff the medicine at issue. However, Plaintiff identifies D e f e n d a n t Green as the responsible party. Considering all evidence in the light most f a v o ra b le to Plaintiff, the Court will assume that Defendant Green provided Plaintiff the m e d ic a tio n in question. 5 1 th e medication in question or that he was provided the wrong medication. Plaintiff a d m its that other than the rash on his legs, he has not been treated for any medical e m e rg e n c y relating to the "bad medicine." Moreover, on October 25, 2006, three days a f te r Plaintiff allegedly began experiencing adverse reactions to the medication, he was e v a lu a te d by Nurse Vera Miller, and he denied having any problems with his health. In addition, Plaintiff has not come forward with any evidence that his condition w o rs e n e d as a result of any of the Defendants' failure to act. Although Plaintiff claims th a t he suffered from an intermittent rash on his legs for 27 days, he has failed to provide a n y "verified medical evidence" to establish any detrimental effect of any alleged delay in tre a tm e n t. Further, Plaintiff's repeated assertion that he was denied lotion for the rash on h is legs is the subject of another lawsuit brought by Plaintiff that has now been dismissed. See Williams v. Cook, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, C a s e No. 5:07cv00300 JMM/HDY. C. P la in tif f 's Response to the Motion for Summary Judgment In his response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff repeatedly a ss e rts that Defendants are lying and that they have submitted falsified documents to the C o u r t. However, Plaintiff may not rest upon mere allegations or denials of other parties' p le a d in g s to survive a motion for summary judgment. Rather, Plaintiff must set out s p e c if ic facts showing a genuine issue for trial. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e). Here, Plaintiff h a s failed to do so. Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. 6 IV . C o n c lu s io n : T h e Court hereby recommends that Defendants' motion for summary judgment (# 1 2 0 ) be GRANTED and that Plaintiff's claims be dismissed with prejudice. D A T E D this 23rd day of April, 2009. ____________________________________ U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 7

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