United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is the Report and Recommendation filed July 20,
2016, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States
Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. ECF
No. 70. Judge Bryant recommends that Defendant’s Motion
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 52) be granted. Plaintiff has
responded with objections. ECF No. 71. The Court finds the
matter ripe for consideration.
an inmate of the Arkansas Department of Correction, filed
this action requesting relief for an alleged deprivation of
his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff claims that he received improper care and treatment
for glaucoma. Plaintiff makes specific allegations as to each
Shawnta Raya, a licensed practical nurse, Plaintiff alleges
that she was medically indifferent to his serious medical
needs in failing to order his prescription eye drops
(Dorzalamide). The magistrate judge determined that Dr.
Nannette Vowell placed the initial order for the prescription
eye drops, and the eye drops were not reordered one week
later as they should have been. Based on an affidavit
provided by Dr. Robert Floss,  the magistrate judge further
determined that Nurse Ray was not involved in the process of
ordering Plaintiff’s medications and did not have the
authority to do so. Accordingly, the magistrate judge
concluded that Defendant Ray was not the proper defendant for
objections, Plaintiff argues that it is a common practice for
nurses to order the medication once a doctor signs off on the
order. Plaintiff’s general allegation regarding the
ordering of medication is not supported by evidence.
Moreover, Plaintiff fails to offer proof that, in this
particular case, Dr. Vowell signed off on the medication and
Nurse Ray neglected to place the order. Plaintiff’s
allegation that Nurse Ray failed to order the Dorzalamide eye
drops is clearly contradicted by the affidavit of Dr. Floss
stating that Nurse Ray did not have the authority to place
the order. Thus, the Court agrees with the magistrate judge
that Nurse Ray is not the proper defendant for this claim and
is entitled to summary judgment. See Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) (“When opposing
parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly
contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could
believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the
facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary
judgment.”); Kulow v. Nix, 28 F.3d 855, 859
(8th Cir. 1994) (stating that a claim of medical indifference
must be brought against the individual directly responsible
for a plaintiff’s medical care).
now to the first claim against Dr. Vowell, Plaintiff alleges
that Dr. Vowell was medically indifferent to his serious
medical needs in failing to implement another doctor’s
recommendation that Plaintiff be housed in a room with low
lighting. Plaintiff was under the care of physicians at the
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Jones Eye
Institute for the treatment of glaucoma. One of these
physicians had recommended that Plaintiff be placed in
housing where he can dim the lighting. Dr. Vowell noted in
Plaintiff’s medical records that stated security
concerns prevented low light barracks or rooms for inmates.
Further, Dr. Vowell noted that low light rooming is not a
necessary medical intervention but instead may provide
Plaintiff with “some symptomatic relief.” ECF No.
54-6. Plaintiff was provided with a pair of dark glasses to
provide a mobile dark environment for his comfort. Plaintiff,
however, argues that it is not practical to wear the
sunglasses while sleeping or showering. The magistrate judge
determined that Plaintiff received the appropriate medical
care for his light-sensitive eyes.
objections, Plaintiff argues that in addition to dark
glasses, he should have been placed in a low-light room. The
Court, however, agrees with the magistrate judge that
Plaintiff received the appropriate medical care. Plaintiff
merely disagrees with the treatment provided to him, and this
disagreement is not actionable. See Nelson v.
Shuffman, 603 F.3d 439, 449 (8th Cir. 2010) (stating
that a prisoner’s mere difference of opinion over
matters of expert medical judgement or a course of medical
treatment does not rise to the level of a constitutional
violation). Accordingly, Dr. Vowell is entitled to summary
judgment on Plaintiff’s claim that he should be housed
in a low-light room.
second claim against Dr. Vowell is based on her alleged
failure to timely order Latanoprost eye drops. Based on
evidence in the record, the magistrate judge determined that
Dr. Vowell had timely ordered the eye drops. It appears that
there was a delay in the administration of the eye drops to
Plaintiff, but the magistrate judge determined that Dr.
Vowell was not responsible for administering medicine at the
facility. The magistrate judge noted that Dr. Vowell was
responsible for prescribing medications, and the infirmary
staff was responsible for administering medications. Thus,
the magistrate judge concluded that because Dr. Vowell timely
ordered the Latanoprost eye drops, she was entitled to
summary judgment on this claim.
objections, Plaintiff simply argues that Dr. Vowell was
responsible for the delay in receiving his eye drops. This
argument, however, is contradicted by the evidence in the
record. Thus, the Court agrees with the magistrate judge that
Dr. Vowell is entitled to summary judgment on
Plaintiff’s claim regarding the Latanoprost eye drops.
reasons stated above, based on its own de novo review, the
Court overrules Defendant’s objections and adopts the
Report and Recommendation in toto. ECF No. 70.
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 52) is
GRANTED, and all claims against Defendants are DISMISSED WITH
 Dr. Robert Floss was formerly employed
as Regional Medical Director for Corizon, Inc., the medical
care provider for inmates housed within the various units of
the Arkansas Department of Correction. Dr. Floss is currently
employed by Correct Care Solutions, LLC, as Associate
Regional Medical Director. He oversees the administration of