Dodds v. Correctional Medical Services
ORDER granting 172 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 8/19/2014. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
JOHN E. DODDS
ADC # 132088
SAMUEL HOUSTON, Dr.,
St. Vincent Health System
Background. Dodds has kidney stones. Corizon, who runs the prison's
clinic, sent him to Dr. Houston, a urology specialist, for treatment. Dr.
Houston put in a stent near Dodds's kidney in April2008. In November, he
saw Dodds again, and told him to come back two weeks later to have the stent
removed. For reasons that aren't completely clear, but through no apparent
fault of Dr. Houston, Dodds didn't return. About a week later, the Arkansas
State Medical Board suspended Dr. Houston's license, making it impossible
for him to remove Dodds's stent. Another doctor removed the stent in late
January, about two months later than Dr. Houston had ordered. Dodds says
that pain from his kidney stones and the stent increased because of the delay.
There's a murky threshold question about whether Dodds's claim against Dr.
Houston is timely based on relation back of an amendment naming the
doctor. FED. R. CIV. P. 15(c); Schrader v. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., 952
F.2d 1008,1011-12 (8th Cir. 1991). Even if timely, though, on the undisputed
facts, Dr. Houston wasn't deliberately indifferent to Dodds's medical needs.
And Dodds's proof on causation fails.
Deliberate Indifference. To reach a jury, Dodds must show that there
exists some dispute of material fact about whether there was a substantial risk
to his health by the extended presence of the stent, and that Dr. Houston
knew of, but disregarded, that risk. Robinson v. Hager, 292 F.3d 560, 563-64
(8th Cir. 2002).
Dr. Houston must have acted with reckless disregard.
Reynolds v. Dormire, 636 F.3d 976,979 (8th Cir. 2011). Negligence, even gross
negligence, isn't enough to carry Dodds's claim forward. Alberson v. Norris,
458 F.3d 762, 765 (8th Cir. 2006).
Viewing any disputed facts and drawing all reasonable inferences in
Dodds's favor, there's nothing of record to suggest that Dr. Houston
deliberately avoided removing the stentor otherwise tried to dodge Dodds's
appointment. Langford v. Norris, 614 F.3d 445, 462 (8th Cir. 2010). The most
likely scenario is that there was some hiccup in transporting Dodds from
prison to Dr. Houston's clinic. What exactly happened, though, is immaterial
because there's no allegation or proof that Dr. Houston was responsible for
the missed appointment. Dr. Houston, along with some other doctors,
provided nearly two years of competent and thorough treatment to
Dodds-meeting or treating him more than a dozen times. NQ 178. Nothing
Dodds offers implies Dr. Houston suddenly began intentionally avoiding
him. Agreed, Dr. Houston should have made sure everyone knew ASAP that
he couldn't handle Dodds's stent. A reasonable jury could find that any
failure to do so was negligent. But no one could conclude on this record that
it was reckless.
Causation. Assuming for argument's sake that Dr. Houston acted
recklessly, Dodds hasn't offered any medical evidence or expert testimony to
establish that the delay in removing the stent caused him medical injury.
Gibson v. Weber, 433 F.3d 642, 646-47 (8th Cir. 2006); Alberson v. Norris, 458
F.3d 762,765-66 (8thCir. 2006). Dr. Houston confirmed thatthestentwasstill
properly placed in November 2008. This was more than nine months after it
was inserted. To make a jury issue based on delayed removal, Dodds must
show that something happened in the two-month period after this final
meeting with Dr. Houston; he must offer some proof that the stent was
displaced or was otherwise causing him injury. He hasn't done so.
* * *
Dr. Houston is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The motion,
NQ 172, is granted.
D.P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
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