DeGefferd v. Curry et al
OPINION on Dismissal. DeGefferd has not shown deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. He fails to state a claim recognized at law. This is dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Email sent to Manager of Three Strikes List. (Signed by Judge Lynn N Hughes) Parties notified. (ghassan, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
July 31, 2017
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CORNELiUS E. DEGEFFERD,
JOSEPH M. CURRY, ET AL.,
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION H-14-2107
Opinion on Dismissal
Cornelius DeGefferd sues Joseph M. Curry, Natarajan Venkatayan, Ernestine Julye,
Dr. Naik, Lisa Vatani, Laraine Mayfield, Fausto Avila, David Callender, Rick Thaler, Carey
S. Staples, and David Rice for civil rights violations. DeGefferd raises claims on medical
care. He filed his original complaint in another district. Some of the claims he raises concern
medical treatment provided in the Houston division of the Southern District of Texas. Those
claims were transferred to this Court.
DeGefferd states he had needed a wheelchair before he went to prison and while he
was in prison. When he arrived at the Gurney Unit in 2011, Physician'S Assistant Curry saw
DeGefferd and told him he needed a wheelchair because his legs were numb and paralyzed.
Curry, however, told DeGefferd that medical personnel first will see how well he does with
crutches and then go from there.
DeGefferd filed a prison grievance against Curry raising improper medical treatment.
He filed another grievance at a higher level and talked to other medical providers. Prison
officials responded to his grievances. They told DeGefferd there was nothing to substantiate
his complaint and the unit in which he was housed was not a wheelchair unit. In 2012,
DeGefferd was diagnosed with diabetes and arthritis. DeGefferd maintains these conditions
were the result of Curry's improper medical treatment, including the failure to provide him
a wheelchair. DeGefferd says he did not have a wheelchair from 2011 to 2013.
DeGefferd states he suffers from back pains and he says doctors told him he has
arthritis in both hands. He says these things affect his daily functions. DeGefferd maintains
he suffers from these conditions because of Curry' s improper medical treatment. DeGefferd
claims deliberate indifference in Curry not allowing him to see a specialist at the John Sealy
Hospital. He states he needed a wheelchair and the medical staff denied him a wheelchair
for over a year. DeGefferd claims medical personnel provided him improper remedies,
which affected his mobility. He argues the medical staff knew the medical treatment they
were giving him was improper. DeGefferd also maintains medical personnel knew that
giving him a walker and crutches was not medically appropriate.
2. Medical Care
The standard in medical care claims is "deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). Negligence and gross negligence are
insufficient for constitutional liability. Hare v. City of Corinth, Ms., 74 F.3d 633, 645 (5th
Cir. 1996). The Eighth Amendment prohibits "obduracy and wantonness, not inadvertence
or errorin good faith." Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d 1022, 1025 (5th Cir. 1998). The Fifth
Circuit has stated that the deliberate indifference standard is an "extremely high" one to meet.
Domino v. Texas Dep 't of Criminal Justice, 239 F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir. 2001).
DeGefferd's papers show that prison medical personnel and others saw him and
treated him for his medical conditions. He essentially complains he should have received
more and different treatment in the days following his original medical visit. That prison
medical personnel provided some medical care shows the absence of deliberate indifference.
Banuelos v. McFarland, 41 F.3d 232,235 (5th Cir. 1995).
DeGefferd's disagreement with the specific medical treatment he received and the
amount of his treatment does not show deliberate indifference. Id. Even if standard medical
care in DeGefferd's situation calls for different or more treatment, that alone does not show
deliberate indifference. Medical malpractice does not raise a constitutional violation. Hare
v. City of Corinth, MS, 74 F.3d 633 (5th Cir. 1996). Furthermore, evidence of sick calls,
examinations, diagnoses, and medication negates deliberate indifference. Bass v. Sullivan,
550 F.2d 229 (5th Cir. 1977). DeGefferd was examined and provided treatment. His
pleadings do not show that the Defendants or any medical personnel were aware of and
ignored an excessive risk to his health by failing to treat him further or provide other medical
care in the days following his medical visit.
DeGefferd's claims and allegations do not show that prison medical personnel were
deliberately indifferent to his medical conditions. A plaintiff must show that prison officials
"refused to treat him, ignored his complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or
engaged in any similar conduct that would clearly show a wanton disregard for any serious
medical needs." Domino, 239 F.3d at 756. DeGefferd has not alleged this kind of behavior
by prison health care workers. Under his claims, he was seen by medical personnel and
received some treatment. DeGefferd's allegations show that the defendants and other
medical personnel saw him and provided medical treatment. His claims and allegations do
not raise deliberate indifference
DeGefferd has not shown deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. He fails
to state a claim recognized at law. This case is dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 for failure
to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
,2017, at Houston, Texas.
Lynn N. Hughes
United States District Judge
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