Roberts v. Vermont Department of Corrections et al
OPINION AND ORDER Adopting 61 Report and Recommendation Granting 54 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, leave to amend is not granted as it appears unlikely that Plaintiff can cure the deficiencies in his Complaint. Signed by Chief Judge Christina Reiss on 5/17/2017. (pac)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT
BRIAN LEON ROBERTS,
CORRECTIONS, CENTURION OF
VERMONT, LLC, LINDA ROBERTS,
JEREMY CORNWALL, MINDY CONNOR,
MARK POTANAS, MICHELLE BEATTIE,
and DR. MITCHELL MILLER,
Case No. 2:16-cv-135
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
(Docs. 54 & 61)
This matter came before the court for a review of the Magistrate Judge's April4,
2017 Report and Recommendation ("R & R") (Doc. 61 ). In his Complaint filed pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1982, Plaintiff Brian Leon Roberts, an inmate in the custody of the
Vermont Department of Corrections ("DOC"), alleges that Defendants DOC, Centurion
of Vermont, LLC, Linda Roberts, Jeremy Cornwall, Mindy Connor, Mark Potanas,
Michelle Beattie, and Dr. Mitchell Miller (collectively, "Defendants") violated the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIP AA"), engaged in deliberately
indifferent behavior by failing to provide adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth
Amendment, and committed medical malpractice. Plaintiff seeks $25 million in
damages, immediate release from custody, dismissal of the criminal charges against him,
and placement in a hospital so that he can recover from his alleged injuries.
Plaintiff is self-represented. Defendants are represented by Pamela L.P. Eaton,
Esq. and Stephen J. Soule, Esq.
The Magistrate Judge recommended that the court grant Defendants' unopposed
motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 54.) 1 With respect to Plaintiff's HIPAA claims,
the Magistrate Judge opined that there is no private right of action under HIPAA, and an
alleged HIP AA violation cannot form the basis of a § 1983 claim. The Magistrate Judge
properly concluded that sovereign immunity precluded Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment
claims for proper medical care to the extent he asserted such claims against Defendants in
their official capacities. He carefully analyzed Plaintiff's claims against Defendants in
their individual capacities, as well as his claims against non-DOC employees and
determined that Plaintiff is unable to establish the essential elements of either prong of
the deliberate indifference test. Finally, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff's
medical malpractice claims fail as a matter of law because Plaintiff failed to comply with
12 V.S.A. § 1042. 2 Plaintiff's request for release from custody under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act likewise fails because such relief is not available in a§ 1983
action. Neither party has filed an objection to the R & R, and the time period to do so has
A district judge must make a de novo determination of those portions of a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which an objection is made. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l); Cullen v. United States, 194 F.3d 401,405 (2d Cir.
On December 1, 2016, Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment and informed
Plaintiff of the consequences of failing to respond to their motion as required by Local Rule 56
and the Magistrate Judge's December 2, 2016 Order. Plaintiff did not respond to Defendants'
A plaintiff asserting a medical malpractice claim must file a certificate of merit simultaneously
with the complaint showing that he or she consulted with a qualified health care provider and
that the health care provider has:
(1) described the applicable standard of care;
(2) indicated that based on reasonably available evidence, there is a reasonable
likelihood that the plaintiff will be able to show that the defendant failed to meet
that standard of care; and
(3) indicated that there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will be able to
show that the defendant's failure to meet the standard of care caused the
12 V.S.A. § 1042(a).
1999). The district judge may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l); accord
Cullen, 194 F.3d at 405. A district judge, however, is not required to review the factual
or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of a report and
recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
In his twenty pageR & R, the Magistrate Judge carefully reviewed the factual and
legal claims in Plaintiffs Complaint and Defendants' motion, and properly recommended
that the court grant summary judgment in Defendants' favor and dismiss all claims
against them. The court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's well-reasoned decision.
For the foregoing reasons, the court hereby ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's
R & R as the court's Opinion and Order (Doc. 61), and GRANTS Defendants' motion for
summary judgment. (Doc. 54.) Having dismissed Plaintiffs federal claims, the court
refrains from exercising supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs medical malpractice
claim. Plaintiffs Complaint is therefore DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. (Doc.
5.) The court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that leave to amend should not be granted
sua sponte as it appears unlikely that Plaintiff can cure the deficiencies in his Complaint.
Dated at Burlington, in the District of Vermont, this
day of May, 2017.
eiss, Chief Judge
United States District Court
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?