Freeman #752710 v. Headley et al
OPINION AND ORDER APPROVING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 140 ; granting Motion for Summary Judgment 122 ; signed by District Judge Jane M. Beckering (lep)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 2:18-cv-68
HON. JANE M. BECKERING
JENNIFER HEADLEY, et al.,
OPINION AND ORDER
This is a prisoner civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, a prisoner
who suffers from paraplegia, brought this lawsuit against several Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) employees and a variety of medical providers. Defendant Headley, a
registered nurse and the sole remaining Defendant in this case, moved for summary judgment of
Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment deliberate-indifference claim against her. The matter was referred
to the Magistrate Judge, who issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R), recommending that
this Court grant her motion. The matter is presently before the Court on Plaintiff’s objections to
the Report and Recommendation. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and FED. R. CIV. P.
72(b)(3), the Court has performed de novo consideration of those portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which objections have been made. The Court denies the objections and issues
this Opinion and Order.
Plaintiff presents nine interrelated and overlapping objections to the Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation, which the Court will address in turn. First, Plaintiff argues that the
Magistrate Judge “erred in deciding that only Freeman’s UTI [Urinary Tract Infection]-based
claim against RN Headley remains” (Pl. Obj., ECF No. 146 at PageID.1739–1740). According to
Plaintiff, he also still has a separate deliberate-indifference claim against Defendant Headley
related to developing decubitus pressure ulcers (DPUs) (id. at PageID.1739). Plaintiff’s objection
lacks merit. This Court’s review of the record indicates that, as the Magistrate Judge pointed out,
Plaintiff’s two claims against Defendant Headley were identified in December 2020 as (1) a claim
for intentional infliction of emotional distress, which was subsequently dismissed; and (2) a
deliberate-indifference claim for “confiscat[ing] Freeman’s air mattress and catheters despite
being aware of the medical concerns her conduct would cause Freeman, … result[ing] [in]
Freeman contract[ing] a urinary tract infection,” the claim that went forward (R&R, ECF No. 140
at PageID.1721, quoting R&R, ECF No. 93 at PageID.1208). However, even assuming arguendo
that Plaintiff has a separate DPU-based claim, the Magistrate Judge thoroughly addressed such a
potential claim, determining that Plaintiff failed to provide evidence either that Defendant
Headley’s conduct caused him to develop DPUs or that Headley acted with the requisite state of
mind to support Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference claim (R&R, ECF No. 140 at PageID.1721–
1723). Therefore, Plaintiff’s first objection is properly denied.
Second, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge also “improperly held that Plaintiff[’s]
[DPU-based] claim was identical to [the claim he made against the] doctor who denied special
accommodate request” (Pl. Obj., ECF No. 146 at PageID.1740–1741). According to Plaintiff,
there were several differences between the claims (id.). Plaintiff’s objection lacks merit. The
Magistrate Judge noted that “even if Freeman has a DPU-based claim against RN Headley, the
undersigned finds that the claim should be dismissed for the same reasons that this Court dismissed
Freeman’s nearly identical claim against the doctor who denied his special accommodation
request: a lack of verifying medical evidence that Headley’s conduct caused Freeman to develop
DPUs or evidence that RN Headley acted with deliberate indifference” (R&R, ECF No. 140 at
While the Magistrate Judge indeed characterized the two claims as
“identical,” the Magistrate Judge nonetheless thoroughly analyzed Plaintiff’s DPU-based claim.
See id. at PageID.1722–1723. Plaintiff’s objection is properly denied.
Third, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge also “improperly determined [his] air
mattress (DPU)-based claim … and catheter-based claim is one in delay of treatment” (Pl. Obj.,
ECF No. 146 at PageID.1741–1742). According to Plaintiff, his claim instead “falls in the
category of complete denial of medical treatment” (id. at PageID.1741). Plaintiff’s argument lacks
merit. The Magistrate Judge properly characterized Plaintiff’s claim as a delay-in-treatment claim
where Plaintiff’s medical records demonstrate that he subsequently received catheters (ECF No.
122-2 at PageID.1515–1516) and an air mattress (id. at PageID.1523). Plaintiff’s objection is
Fourth, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “improperly dismissed Plaintiff[’s] DPU
air mattress claim for lack of verifying evidence that because RN Headley did not provide him
a[n] air mattress he developed DPUs” (Pl. Obj., ECF No. 146 at PageID.1742–1743). According
to Plaintiff, it “can be infered [sic] easily by a trier of fact the cause of Plaintiff developing DPUs
was from the lack of air mattress” (id. at PageID.1743). Plaintiff’s argument lacks merit. The
Magistrate Judge did not overlook the medical evidence that Plaintiff submitted indicating that he
developed DPUs after Defendant Headley denied him an air mattress; rather, the Magistrate Judge
determined that the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that the DPUs were “a direct result
of the denial” (R&R, ECF No. 140 at PageID.1722). In any event, Defendant’s objection, even if
meritorious, does not support a result other than the recommendation by the Magistrate Judge
because Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate any error in the Magistrate Judge’s analysis of the
subjective component of his deliberate-indifference claim. The Magistrate Judge determined that
“even if the medical records were sufficient, Freeman has not established a genuine issue of
material fact as to whether RN Headley acted with deliberate indifference in denying his request”
for an air mattress (id.) (emphasis added). Plaintiff’s objection is therefore properly denied.
Fifth, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “improperly viewed facts regarding the air
mattress in [the] light most favorable to Defendant Headley and completely disregarded other
relevant facts” (Pl. Obj., ECF No. 146 at PageID.1744–1747). Plaintiff’s argument fails to
demonstrate any error by the Magistrate Judge. The Magistrate Judge stated the proper standard
for reviewing motions for summary judgment and properly applied the standard to Defendant
Headley’s motion. Plaintiff’s objection is properly denied.
Sixth, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “improperly viewed facts regarding the air
mattress in [the] light more favorable to RN Headley [and] improperly ruled [that] Plaintiff had no
active special accommodate[ion] and completely disregarded other relevant facts” (Pl. Obj., ECF
No. 146 at PageID.1747–1749). According to Plaintiff, he “presented at least a genuine issue of
material fact regarding his air mattress being active” (id. at PageID.1747). Plaintiff’s objection
lacks merit. This Court’s review of the medical records supplied by the MDOC’s Bureau of Health
Care Services confirms the accuracy of the Magistrate Judge’s finding that “[t]he medical records
show that Freeman did not have an active special accommodation for an air mattress” (R&R, ECF
No. 140 at PageID.1723, citing ECF No. 122-2 at PageID.1501). Plaintiff’s sixth objection is
Seventh, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “improperly dismissed catheter-UTIbased claim for lack of verifying med[ical] evidence” (Pl. Obj., ECF No. 146 at
PageID.1749–1750). Plaintiff’s objection lacks merit. As with his analysis of Plaintiff’s DPU-
based claim, the Magistrate Judge did not overlook the medical evidence that Plaintiff submitted
in support of his UTI-based claim; rather, the Magistrate Judge determined that the evidence was
insufficient to establish either (1) “that Freeman actually had a UTI on September 12, 2017,” the
day following Defendant Headley’s denial of his request for catheters; or (2) “that the UTI was a
result of going a day without catheter supplies” (R&R, ECF No. 140 at PageID.1723–1724). In
any event, Defendant’s objection, even if meritorious, does not support a result other than the
recommendation by the Magistrate Judge because Plaintiff has again failed to identify any error in
the Magistrate Judge’s thorough analysis of the subjective component of Plaintiff’s deliberateindifference claim against Defendant Headley. The Magistrate Judge reasoned the following:
[E]ven had Freeman placed sufficient medical evidence on the record showing that
he developed a UTI, and that the UTI was a result of going a day without catheters,
he has not shown that RN Headley acted with deliberate indifference. Freeman’s
records show that he had not received catheter supplies for nearly a year. (Id.,
PageID.1500.) In fact, three months before RN Headley denied Freeman’s request
for catheters in segregation, another RN had done the same, informing Freeman
that he no longer had an accommodation or medical detail for catheter supplies.
(Id.) And Freeman’s prescription for Surgilube (a surgical lubricant) to assist in his
self-catheterization had expired prior to RN Headley’s September 6, 2017 health
assessment of Freeman. (Id., PageID.1510.) Nothing in the medical records
leading up to Freeman’s stay in segregation would have indicated to Headley that
he had a serious medical need for catheters such that her decision to deny Freeman’s
request was reckless.
(id. at PageID.1724). Plaintiff’s objection is properly denied.
Eighth, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “improperly viewed facts regarding
catheter-UTI-based claim more favorable to RN Headley and completely ignored relevant facts”
(Pl. Obj., ECF No. 146 at PageID.1750–1751). In his ninth objection, Plaintiff similarly argues
that the Magistrate Judge “improperly viewed facts regarding catheters in light more favorable to
RN Headley and disregarded other relevant facts” (id. at PageID.1751–1753). For the reasons
previously stated, Plaintiff’s arguments fail to demonstrate any factual or legal error in the
Magistrate Judge’s analysis or ultimate conclusion that the record entitles Defendant Headley to
summary judgment. Plaintiff’s objections are therefore properly denied.
Accordingly, this Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation as the
Opinion of this Court. Because this Opinion and Order resolves the last pending claim, a Judgment
will be entered. See FED. R. CIV. P. 58. This Court declines to certify, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(3), that an appeal of this decision would not be taken in good faith. See McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 610 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199, 206, 211-12 (2007). Therefore:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Objections (ECF No. 146) are DENIED and the
Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 140) is APPROVED and
ADOPTED as the Opinion of the Court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 122) is
/s/ Jane M. Beckering
JANE M. BECKERING
United States District Judge
Dated: September 19, 2022
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