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Gray v. Green

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division

January 20, 2017




         This is a civil rights action filed pro se by the Plaintiff, Olando Deshun Gray, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation. Currently before the Court is Defendant Dr. Deanna Hopson's (incorrectly identified in the caption as “Dr. Hopkins”) Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 15. After careful consideration, I make the following Report and Recommendation.


         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on July 20, 2016, alleging Dr. Hopson was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in retaliation for a previous lawsuit he had filed against her.[1] ECF No. 1. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Union County Detention Center (“UCDC”) in El Dorado, Arkansas. All of Plaintiff's allegations relate to incidents which occurred while he has been at the UCDC. He is suing Dr. Hopson in both her official and individual capacities. Plaintiff specifically claims Dr. Hopson “starting crushing up my IBprofiens so that It would be horrible for me too take and she hope that It would've stoped me from taking them, and when she got the lawsuit, she stoped giving me the IBprofiens”. ECF No. 1. Dr. Hopson filed her Motion for Summary Judgment asserting she was never deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs and never retaliated against Plaintiff for filing a lawsuit. In addition, Dr. Hopson claims her decision to discontinue ibuprofen was medically indicated and she was not responsible for his ibuprofen being “crushed up”. ECF Nos. 13, 15.

         To assist Plaintiff in responding to the summary judgment motion, I sent a questionnaire asking him to agree or disagree with various statements set forth by Dr. Hopson as undisputed facts. Plaintiff filed the questionnaire as his Response to the summary judgment motion on January 3, 2017. ECF No. 19. Plaintiff states he fell and “dislocated” his knee because the floor was slippery in the cell area in the UCDC. ECF No. 19. Plaintiff agrees on the day he was injured, November 7, 2015, he was examined, scheduled to see the doctor, given an ice pack and told to return if his condition worsened. Plaintiff also acknowledges on November 8, 2015, he returned to the nursing station where he had been examined and his vital signs were taken, he was given another ice pack, and told to elevate his leg and he would see the doctor the next day. ECF No. 19. Plaintiff admits his knee was x-rayed at SAMA Healthcare Services, P.A. around the same time although he is not sure of the exact date the x-ray was taken. ECF No. 19.

         Plaintiff admits he was seen by Dr. Hopson weekly throughout the months of November and December of 2015 and Dr. Hopson continued to treat him for his knee injury through February of 2016. ECF No. 19. Plaintiff admits Dr. Hopson continued the ibuprofen and told him to do range of motion exercises but he asserts this did not help him. ECF No. 19. He claims “I told her I was still in pain she did nothing to help me professional she just kept giving me Ibuprofen 400, she said the help that Im asking for will cost them money (physical therapy, M.R.I. real pain meds real medical assistance) and she said sorry she can't do these thing for me and If she do she would have to stop givine me the Ibuprofien, I said so stop giving them too me then!”. ECF No. 19.

         Plaintiff also states “I was forced to shut complaing about my knee pains, and was put In the hold In the nurse station 4 times, by Captain Mitcham, Nurse Rice, Dr. Hopson and was told that If I keep complaining about my knee pains's that Im gonna stay in the hole for the remaining of my time that I have here in this jail away from visitor kiosk, phone calls and E.T.C. and that's retailiation, pain, suffering!”[2] ECF No. 19. Plaintiff asserts Dr. Hopson “continued the Ibuprofien hoping that I'll eventually shut up about my knee pains, but I can't and didnt and thats why I filled out this lawsuit form from the wrong doing of the jail nurse and guards, Dr.” ECF No. 19.

         In his Response Plaintiff identifies “Nurse Rice and nurse Jill as the individuals who gave him the crushed up ibuprofen. He also claims “a new nurse that worked here and quit I didn't get her name” failed to dilute his ibuprofen. ECF No. 19. When asked to describe in detail how he believes Dr. Hopson violated his federal constitutional rights Plaintiff states “lack of medical assistance, denied of real pain meds, pain and suffering, drawing and having my blood drawn from S.A.M.A. Health center when I was the wrong Person, they was suppose to draw blood from Orlando Turner and I'm Olando Gray. I was denied of an knee brace physical therapy denied of, why did I suffer like this when this jail has real Dr and real nurse's that's able too help me. She Denied me of an M.R.I. and all that I've stated for 8 -9 months while I was pain and suffering.” ECF No. 19. Plaintiff claims “my knee slips out of place if I move the wrong way, my knee aches real bad when the weather changes now as if I've developed authurites, my knee slips and pops out of place if I lay down at night on It the wrong way now, and due to her denying me of physical therapy, real pain meds, M.R.I. my knee has heald wrong way”. ECF No. 19.


         The Court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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). “[A] genuine issue of material fact exists if: (1) there is a dispute of fact; (2) the disputed fact is material to the outcome of the case; and (3) the dispute is genuine, that is, a reasonable jury could return a verdict for either party.” RSBI Aerospace, Inc. v. Affiliated FM Ins. Co., 49 F.3d 399, 401 (8th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, but the nonmoving party may not rest upon mere denials or allegations in the pleadings and must set forth specific facts to raise a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The Court must view all evidence and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See McCleary v. ReliaStar Life Ins. Co., 682 F.3d 1116, 1119 (8th Cir. 2012). However, “[w]hen 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.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).


         1. Official Capacity Claim

         Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation, under color of state law, of a citizen's "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States. In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must allege that a defendant acted under color of state law and they violated a right secured by the Constitution. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988); Dunham v. Wadley, 195 F.3d 1007, 1009 (8th Cir.1999).

         Under section 1983, a defendant may be sued in either his individual capacity, or in his official capacity, or claims may be stated against a defendant in both his individual and his official capacities. Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907, 914 (8th Cir. 1998). With respect to the official capacity claims, they are “functionally equivalent to a suit against the employing governmental entity.” Veatch v. Bartels Lutheran Home,627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010). In other words, Plaintiff's ...

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