Brown v. Mace-Liebson et al
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry).Signed by Honorable Malachy E Mannion on 9/29/17. (bs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:14-0623
Plaintiff, Gregory Brown, an inmate currently confined in the Federal
Correctional Institution, Talladega, Alabama, filed the above captioned
Bivens1 action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331. (Doc. 1). The matter proceeds
via an amended complaint. (Doc. 15). Brown complains of events which
occurred at his former place of confinement, the Federal Correctional
Institution, Schuylkill (FCI-Schuylkill), Pennsylvania. Id. The named
Defendants are FCI-Schuylkill employees Ellen Mace-Liebson, Clinical
Director and Cynthia Entzel, Associate Warden. Id. Specifically, Brown
contends that while housed at SCI-Schuylkill, Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs. Id. For relief, Plaintiff seeks
Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388, 397 (1971).
compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief for “the
actions of Defendants Mace-Liebson and Entzel in the delay and/or denial of
Brown’s medical care has resulted in the unnecessary and wanton infliction
of pain and the possibility of a life-long handicap or permanent loss.” Id.
By Memorandum and Order dated March 15, 2016, Defendant Entzel
was dismissed from the complaint and the action was permitted to proceed
with discovery and the filing of dispositive motions. (See Docs. 69, 70).
Presently before the Court is a motion for summary judgment, filed on
behalf of the remaining Defendant, Dr. Ellen Mace-Liebson. (Doc. 114). The
motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that
follow, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be granted.
Standards of Review
A. Bivens Standard
Plaintiff’s claims are filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331, in accordance
with Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of Narcotics,
403 U.S. 388, (1971). Under Bivens, the District Court has federal question
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331 to entertain an action brought to
redress alleged federal constitutional or statutory violations by a federal actor.
Bivens, supra. Pursuant to Bivens, “a citizen suffering a compensable injury
to a constitutionally protected interest could invoke the general federal
question jurisdiction of the district court to obtain an award of monetary
damages against the responsible federal official.” Butz v. Economou, 438
U.S. 478, 504 (1978). A Bivens-style civil rights claim is the federal equivalent
of an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the same legal
principles have been held to apply. See, Paton v. LaPrade, 524 F.2d 862, 871
(3d Cir. 1975); Veteto v. Miller, 829 F.Supp. 1486, 1492 (M.D.Pa. 1992);
Young v. Keohane, 809 F.Supp. 1185, 1200 n. 16 (M.D.Pa. 1992). In order
to state an actionable Bivens claim, a plaintiff must allege that a person has
deprived him of a federal right, and that the person who caused the
deprivation acted under color of federal law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42,
48 (1988); Young v. Keohane, 809 F.Supp. 1185, 1199 (M.D.Pa. 1992).
B. Summary Judgment
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) “[t]he court shall grant
summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986). “[T]his standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged
factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
A disputed fact is “material” if proof of its existence or nonexistence
would affect the outcome of the case under applicable substantive law.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Gray v. York Newspapers, Inc., 957 F.2d 1070,
1078 (3d Cir. 1992). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257; Brenner v. Local 514, United Brotherhood of
Carpenters and Joiners of America, 927 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (3d Cir. 1991).
When determining whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, the
court must view the facts and all reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party. Moore v. Tartler, 986 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1993); Clement v.
Consolidated Rail Corporation, 963 F.2d 599, 600 (3d Cir. 1992); White v.
Westinghouse Electric Company, 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988). In order to
avoid summary judgment, however, parties may not rely on unsubstantiated
allegations. Parties seeking to establish that a fact is or is not genuinely
disputed must support such an assertion by “citing to particular parts of
materials in the record,” by showing that an adverse party’s factual assertion
lacks support from cited materials, or demonstrating that a factual assertion
is unsupportable by admissible evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1); see Celotex,
477 U.S. at 324 (requiring evidentiary support for factual assertions made in
response to summary judgment). The party opposing the motion “must do
more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986). Parties must produce evidence to show the existence of every
element essential to its case that they bear the burden of proving at trial, for
“a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving
party’s case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Celotex, 477 U .S.
at 323; see Harter v. G.A.F. Corp., 967 F.2d 846, 851 (3d Cir. 1992). Failure
to properly support or contest an assertion of fact may result in the fact being
considered undisputed for the purpose of the motion, although a court may
also give parties an opportunity to properly provide support or opposition.
Statement of Facts
From the pleadings, depositions, and exhibits submitted therewith, the
following facts can be ascertained as undisputed.
On August 1, 2011, Brown was transferred to FCI-Schuylkill, where he
remained incarcerated until his transfer on August 25, 2014, to the Federal
Correctional Institution, Edgefield, South Carolina. (Doc. 118-1 at 16).
On June 30, 2013, while lifting weights over 200 lbs., Brown injured his
lower back. (Doc. 118-1 at 67-120). Brown did not report to Health Services
that he injured his back. Id. Nor did he complain to anyone on this date that
he was in pain. Id. Brown believes that he aggravated his injury when he sat
on his mattress in his cell that night. Id.
On July 1, 2013, Brown did not go to health services. Id.
On the morning of July 2, 2013, Brown walked with the assistance of a
cane to “sick call” at Health Services, with complaints of back pain and
numbness in his left shin area. (Doc. 118-1 at 20). Plaintiff’s Clinical
Encounter reveals that he was treated by Physician’s Assistant (PA) Megan
Lingenfelter. Id. PA Ligenfelter examined Brown, finding him alert well and
oriented; and she prescribed him Ibuprofen, 200 mg tablets, to be purchased
from the commissary and advised Brown on the use of a muscle rub, ice and
heat applications, to try the over-the counter medication, and to return to
Health Services if he did not experience relief. Id.
Brown prepared and submitted a sick-call request on July 8, 2013, in
which he complained of “lower left back pain & swelling and numbness in my
lower leg shin area[.]” (Doc. 118-1 at 67-120).
On July 9, 2013, Brown reported to sick call complaining of the
Chief Complaint: Back Pain
left lower back pain with radiation into left lower
leg. c/o numbness into left leg. points to inner
distal thigh towards - medial malleous. doesn’t
recall injury, except it started with bend under
his bunk one week ago.
(Doc. 118-1 at 22). Brown was examined by PA Rush, who noted a possible
sprain or strain of the lumbar region, for which he recommended rest,
stretching, range of motion exercises, and warm compresses, and allow four
to six weeks for healing. Id.
After ten days, on July 19, 2013, Brown states that he “again returned
to sick-call indicating that he was ‘...experiencing lower left back pain and
numbness and swelling in [his] left shin area. . .Brown further indicated that
. . .On July 9, 2013, PA Rush opined that it was disk related which was
affecting my nerves. As such it has been nearly three weeks and these
complications and pain ensue. Therefore, I request to be examined by Dr.
Mace and to be scheduled to have a MRI to determine the extent of the nerve
damage. . .’ Moreover, I further indicated, ‘in lieu of seeing PA Lingenfelter
at sick call, I’m requesting to be placed on the call-out. . .” (Doc. 15 at 3-4).
On July 23, 2013, Brown appeared for a follow-up encounter at Health
Services. (Doc. 118-1 at 25). He was examined by PA Rush and reported the
Chief Complaint: Back Pain
Still with left sided low back pain with radiation into
left lower leg. some paresthesis (numbness and
hypersensitivity to the left anterior lower leg)
Id. After examining Plaintiff, PA Rush again noted a possible sprain or strain
of the lumbar region, provided Brown with a prescription for pain medication
(Meloxicam), and ordered an x-ray of Brown’s lumbar/spine area. Id.
On July 29, 2013, Brown submitted an Inmate Request to Staff,
addressed to Assistant Warden Entzel and copying Defendant Mace-Leibson,
in which he states the following:
Today I approached you at mainline in hopes that you could
intervene by inquiring as to why I have not been scheduled to be
evaluated by a physician as per 6031.01, as I have been seen by
MLP’s on five separate occasions without a defentive (sic)
diagnosis as to the numbness and burning sensations I am
experiencing in my left shin and lower back problems that I have
been experiencing for the last four (4) weeks. For your
convenience I have apendixed (sic) three of the five request for
sick-call as responded by the MLP’s as well as page 18 of
6031.01 1/15/2005 version which is consistent with the 2012
version of Patient Care. Would you please look into this matter.
(Doc. 118-1 at 121).
On July 31, 2013, Defendant Mace-Leibson responded to Plaintiff’s
Inmate Request to Staff with the following:
You were triaged on 7/2 and 7/8 and 7/9. You saw MLP for
evaluation on 7/23/13. You have not completed work-up or
expected course of treatment. A CD referral is not required at this
time as only the actual MLP eval on 7/23/13 constitutes appt with
your assigned MLP. Triage by alternate does not count in that 3
visits. You must complete the course of evaluation with your
On August 16, 2013, Brown had another follow up appointment with PA
Rush and Brown complained of lower left back pain. (Doc. 118-1 at 28). He
also requested an evaluation by Dr. Mace-Leibson and a possible osteopathic
manipulative treatment (“OMT”). Id.
Upon examination, PA Rush noted a sprain/strain of the lumbar region and
swelling (effusion) of the left knee joint with bruising of the medial meniscus.
Id. PA Rush advised Brown to rest, stretch, avoid aggravating activities,
ordered an x-ray of his left knee and advised him to use over-the counter
medications as needed. Id. PA Rush also discussed treatment options,
including Tegretol, Gabapentin, Prednisone and Elavil, which Brown declined
until he had an opportunity to be evaluated by Dr. Mace-Leibson. Id. During
the exam, Brown told PA Rush that after he read a medical manual that an
inmate let him borrow that Brown thought his symptoms were consistent with
a herniated disc, and he had static nerve damage. (Doc. 118-1 at 67-120).
On September 17, 2013, Dr. Mace-Leibson evaluated Brown, at which
time he complained of the following:
Chief Complaint: Back Pain
Low back pain and “numbness” in left medial leg.
Says sat down in July and felt something in his back
and left medial leg started with numbness and slight
burning pain. Still is lifting weights and doing
activities. Has been lifting up to 500 lbs at a time.
Says that he has been doing so since incarcerated 19
yrs ago. Is requesting MRI “to find out what’s in
(Doc. 118-1 at 31). Dr. Mace-Leibson noted that Brown weighed 294 lbs.
and the x-ray of his lumbar spine, performed on August 6, 2013, was
negative. Id. She performed an OMT and assessed Brown as having a sprain
and strain of the lumbar region and explained to Brown that an MRI was not
clinically indicated because nothing indicated a surgical procedure was
warranted. Id. She provided Brown back care information on stretching and
educated him that he should not be lifting significantly heavy weights,
recommending non-impact aerobic activity and
light weights instead. Id. Plaintiff responded that “in my mind I”m still 20 years
On November 21, 2013, PA Rush again examined Brown for his
complaints of back pain. (Doc. 118-1 at 67-120).
On January 14, 2014, Dr. Mace-Leibson next saw Brown, when he
reported to Health Services for a chronic care visit concerning respiratory and
hypertension issues. (Doc. 118-1 at 34). At this time, Brown complained of the
Chief Complaint: Respiratory
Reports compliance with medications. Denies CP,
etc. Exercise = not since July 2013 – injured self “my
leg messed up”. C/o left knee discomfort and “fells
like it will give out on me sometimes”. Denies doing
any knee exercises, nonimpact exercise, etc. Says
that OMT was only helpful for the numbness in the leg
and the low back pain but still has issues with the
knee feeling like it is weak or going to give out. Is
demanding to have an MRI done on the knee “to see
what’s in there”. Not happy with x-ray dx b/c “that
don’t look at the muscles and tendons”.
Id. After examining Plaintiff, Defendant Mace-Liebson noted the following:
Yes: Normal Gait
Mr. Rush and I were both present for the entire visit.
His knee exam was completely normal in terms of
range of motion and ligament testing. He has no
atrophy of muscles, no weakness and no other
findings that would indicate an MRI is necessary. He
has normal reflexes and movement. He was able to
hop on and off the exam table and walk quite quickly
down the hallway as he was shouting that he was
“going to take this all the way” when he was not able
to get what he wanted. There is no loss of reflexes or
change in ADLs that indicate an MRI of the back is
Pt was completely unwilling to discuss exercise/rehab
program, weight loss (his current weight is 291 lbs –
target recommended weight for his height is ~175 lbs)
or appropriate other measures. He has in his mind
what he wants and will not listen to why MRI is not
medically indicated or what he should be doing
instead. Mr. Rush and I both tried to explain it to him
but he kept interrupting, became verbally aggressive,
derogatory and unpleasant. When we continued to try
to explain why we were not ordering an MRI, he
hopped off the table and walked out. Pt’s BP
measurement was unreliable today due to pt
gesturing and getting angry about his knee issue from
start of appt.
Id. Plaintiff’s x-ray results noted “mild OA (osteoarthritis) on knee, LS x-ray
On February 6, 2014, Brown had a follow up appointment with PA Rush
when he complained of “numbness tingling of his left leg, states medial aspect
of ankle numb, feels like spasms in quads all the time, states left quad is
smaller, still with lower back, on left side, sharp pain, left knee still feels
funny.” (Doc. 118-1 at 41). Upon examination, PA Rush found that Brown had
slight atrophy, as the right quad measured 63 cm and the left at 61.5. Id. PA
Rush observed no loss of strength or weakness, noting Brown was able to
move fast and jump up/down off of a table. Id. Plaintiff stated he could not ride
bike as instructed. Id. PA Rush PA Rush recommended weight loss, educated
Brown on lower back pain with sciatica and recommended follow-up with
either Sick Call or Chronic Care Clinic, as needed. Id.
On July 15, 2014, Brown was seen by PA Rush for a Chronic Care
encounter at Health Services. (Doc. 118-1 at 45). He complained that he was
“still having symptoms in left leg”. Id.
PA Rush recommended that Brown ride a stationary bike and continue range
of motion and stretching exercises for his back. Id.
On August 25, 2014, the Bureau of Prisons transferred Brown from FCISchuylkill to FCI-Edgefield. (Doc. 118-1 at 16).
On September 17, 2014, Brown was scheduled for a Chronic Care
encounter at Health Services but was a “no show”. (Doc. 118-1 at 50).
On October 6, 2014, Brown is seen at a Chronic Care encounter
performed at SCI-Edgefield Health Services, where the following is recorded:
Chief Complaint: Hypertension
Pt is a 42 yo AAM in concerning his HTN, Asthma
and chronic Hep C. He did not show for his 0900hr
appointment and had to be called out to the medical
clinic. He is irritable and immediately confrontational.
While taking his vital signs, starting with his weight,
he is informed that his BMI is 41, placing him in the
“Extremely Obese” range. He becomes agitated and
angry stating that he has been called “extremely fat”.
He is corrected and informed that “Fat” would mean
that his BMI would be 30 and his wt would be 215
according to the BMI chart. He then states that he is
unwilling to undergo any further examination or
evaluation and refuses to sign a Medical Treatment
refusal form. He becomes verbally threatening
indicating that “I can’t speak very well but I can write”.
He states that he has been treated in a
condescending manner that it totally unprofessional.
He is unwilling to reconsider his visit. He is assured
that is not the case and that he is being treated as
every other patient. He further indicates that he has
been seen by CD last week. Chart will be reviewed by
(Doc. 118-1 at 51).
On January 11, 2016, Brown received a Lumbar Epidural Steroid
Injection as well as a Nerve Root Block, and was scheduled for a referral to
Edgefield Hospital for an MRI. (Doc. 132-2 at 3). On February 9, 2016, Brown
was transported to Edgefield Hospital for an MRI. (Doc. 132-2 at 4). The
report revealed that the “overall appearance of the lumbar spine is stable with
left L4-5 protrusion and right L5-S1 protrusion” and “no new protrusion or
extrusion identified” as well as “no endplate inflammatory changes nor facet
joint inflammatory changes identified”. Id.
On May 10, 2016, the SCI-Edgefield Clinical Director entered the
following Administrative Note into Plaintiff’s medical records:
Spoke via telephone with MD at Pain Management Center. He
has reviewed the pt’s previous and most recent MRIs. He reports
the findings appear to be stable with some improvement in L5-S1
area. Pt’s muscle atrophy appeared to have stabilized at the most
recent visit to his office. Recommendations: Pt has had serial
epidural injections. If pt’s symptoms are unchanged then another
injection would not be expected to bring further improvement.
Next course of action would be to refer back to Surgeon to
determine if surgery would be an option although his opinion, as
the pt’s condition appears stable then he would not recommend
a rush to surgery at this point. Recovery from atrophy is
considered strongly possible. Medical hold will be removed.
(Doc. 132-2 at 7).
The Bureau of Prisons transferred Brown to FCI-Hazelton on June 6,
2016, (Doc. 118-1 at 14) where he continued to receive conservative
treatment. Specifically, on June 8, 2016, a Chronic Care Encounter was
performed at FCI-Hazelton Health Services, with the following findings:
Patient here for chronic care clinic history is significant for lumbar
bulging dis on MRI, lower back pain with radicular pain in his RLE,
HTN and HCV infection. Currently has no acute complaints but is
requesting to see an orthopedic surgeon secondary to his back.
It was explained to him that the latest MRI showed stable finding
and most likely the treatment will be conservative as surgery
might do more harm than good. Patient continued to insist on
seeing a surgeon.
Such conservative treatment has continued. Plaintiff’s most recent medical
record of file, a January 4, 2017 consult with West Virginia University
Department of Neurosurgery, recommended “continue medical management”
with a referral to “Pain clinic for Facet rhizotomy L5-S1", a prescription for
Naproxen and a follow up on six months. (Doc. 132-2 at 14).
In order to establish an Eighth Amendment medical claim, a plaintiff
must show “(i) a serious medical need, and (ii) acts or omissions by prison
officials that indicate deliberate indifference to that need.” Natale v. Camden
Cty. Correctional Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003). See also Rouse
v. Plantier, 182 F.3d 192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999). A serious medical need is one
that has been diagnosed by a physician as requiring treatment, or one that is
so obvious that a layperson would recognize the need for a doctor’s attention.
Monmouth County Correctional Institutional Inmates v. Lanzaro, 834 F.2d
326, 347 (3d Cir. 1987). In addition, “if unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain results as a consequence of denial or delay in the provision of adequate
medical care, the medical need is of the serious nature contemplated by the
eighth amendment.” Id.
A prison official acts with deliberate indifference to an inmate’s serious
medical needs when he “knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and
he must also draw the inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837
(1994). Thus, a complaint that a physician or a medical department “has been
negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not state a valid
claim of medical mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment...” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). For instance, a “medical decision not to
order an X-ray, or like measures, does not represent cruel and unusual
punishment. At most it is medical malpractice.” Id., 429 U.S. at 107. “[A]s long
as a physician exercises professional judgment his behavior will not violate
a prisoner’s constitutional rights.” Brown v. Borough of Chambersburg, 903
F.2d 274, 278 (3d Cir. 1990). Further, a doctor’s disagreement with the
professional judgment of another doctor is not actionable under the Eighth
Amendment. See White v. Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 110 (3d Cir. 1990). In
sum, negligence, unsuccessful medical treatment, or medical malpractice
does not give rise to a §1983 cause of action, and an inmate’s disagreement
with medical treatment is insufficient to establish deliberate indifference. See
Durmer v. O’Carroll, 991 F.2d 64, 69 (3d Cir. 1993).
Further, a prison administrator cannot be found deliberately indifferent
under the Eighth Amendment because he or she fails to respond to the
medical complaints of an inmate being treated by a prison physician, or
because, as non-physicians, they defer to the medical judgment of the
inmate’s treating physicians. Id., 991 F.2d at 69. If, however, non-medical
prison personnel had “a reason to believe (or actual knowledge) that prison
doctors or their assistants are mistreating (or not treating) a prisoner,” liability
may be imposed. Spruill, 372 F.3d 236.
A mere difference of opinion between the prison’s medical staff and the
inmate regarding the diagnosis or treatment which the inmate receives does
not support a claim of cruel and unusual punishment. Farmer v. Carlson, 685
F. Supp. 1335, 1339 (M.D. Pa. 1988). See McCracken v. Jones, 562 F.2d 22,
24 (10th Cir. 1977); Smart v. Villar, 547 F.2d 112, 113 (10th Cir. 1976).
Additionally, if there is a dispute over the adequacy of the received
treatment, courts have consistently been reluctant to second guess the
medical judgment of the attending physician. Little v. Lycoming County, 912
F. Supp. 809, 815 (M.D. Pa.), aff’d, 101 F.3d 691 (3d Cir. 1996). The key
question is whether the defendant has provided the plaintiff with some type
of treatment, regardless of whether it is what the plaintiff desires. Farmer v.
Carlson, 685 F. Supp. at 1339.
The record before this Court demonstrates that Plaintiff received
substantial medical attention, and that the attention Plaintiff received lacks the
requisite deliberate indifference to support a Section 1983 claim. Specifically,
between July 2, 2013 and August 25, 2014, the date on which the Bureau of
Prisons transferred Brown to FCI-Edgefield, Plaintiff had been seen, or his
medical concerns were addressed, on at least a dozen different occasions.
Defendant, Dr. Mace-Liebson personally examined Plaintiff on two of these
occasions, September 17, 2013 and January 14, 2014. There is no indication
that at either visit, medical treatment was denied or intentionally withheld. At
both visits, Plaintiff was thoroughly examined, offered the results of his x-ray,
which revealed mild osteoarthritis in the left knee, and was counseled as to
the objective findings indicating that an MRI was not necessary.
At best, the record demonstrates Plaintiff’s disagreement with the type
of treatment rendered. However, his mere disagreement with the course of
action that the medical department took based on the symptoms he
presented, is not enough to state a §1983 claim. Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d
1099, 1109 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105–06 (in the medical
context, an inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care cannot be
said to constitute an unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain or to be
repugnant to the conscience of mankind)). This is particularly so in light of the
fact that there are no facts of record that demonstrate that Defendant, Dr.
Mace-Liebson intentionally withheld medical treatment from Plaintiff in order
to inflict pain or harm upon Plaintiff. Farmer; Rouse.
Even holding Plaintiff’s complaint to the less stringent pleading
standards of pro se plaintiffs, the allegations do not sufficiently allege
deliberate indifference. Brown does not suggest, nor does the record support,
that Defendant, Dr. Mace-Liebson was aware that there was an excessive risk
to his health or safety but wantonly refused to provide him medical care.
Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 236 n. 12 (3d Cir. 2004) (stating that while a pro
se complaint should be read liberally, an inmate plaintiff must still allege that
defendant was aware of the risk and intentionally disregarded it). Thus,
Plaintiff’s complaint amounts to nothing more than Plaintiff’s subjective
disagreement with Defendant, Dr. Mace-Liebson’s treatment decisions, in
particular, not to order an MRI. However, there is no indication in the record
that an MRI in this case would have lessened Brown’s back pain, or would
have supported a surgery. In fact, the record demonstrates that in the three
years since leaving FCI-Schuylkill, Plaintiff has received an MRI, and is still
being treated conservatively for his back problems. Once again, “mere
disagreements over medical judgment” do not rise to the level of an Eighth
Amendment violation. White, 897 F.2d at 110.
Thus, the Plaintiff has failed to present evidence from which a
reasonable jury could conclude that the Defendant, Dr. Mace-Liebson
possessed the culpable mental state necessary for Eighth Amendment liability
to attach. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Monmouth County
Correctional Institution Inmates v. Lanzaro, 834 F.2d at 346; West v. Keve,
571 F.2d at 161. Indeed, the extent and quality of medical attention that was
provided to Plaintiff precludes a finding of deliberate indifference.
Based upon the record before this Court, Defendant, Dr. Mace-Liebson
is entitled to summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment
medical claim. An appropriate order shall issue.
S/Malachy E. Mannion
MALACHY E. MANNION
United States District Judge
Dated: September 29, 2017
O:\Mannion\shared\MEMORANDA - DJ\CIVIL MEMORANDA\2014 MEMORANDA\14-0623-01.wpd
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