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Tiller v. Wise

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

March 6, 2017

JOSHUA TILLER PLAINTIFF
v.
ROGER WISE, Health Service Administrator, Correct Care Solutions CCS; DR. MICHAEL McALISTER, CCS; JANET MYERS, CCS; DR. MARK VIEGAS, CCS; and CONNIE MASON, CCS DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          SUSAN O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation filed January 25, 2017, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. ECF No. 61. Judge Bryant recommends that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 44) be granted in part and denied in part. Separate Defendant Dr. Michael McAlister has filed objections to Judge Bryant's Report and Recommendation. ECF No. 62. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 23, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred from the Hot Spring County Detention Center to the Southwest Arkansas Community Correction Center (“SWACCC”). ECF No. 45-3, p. 21. At that time, Plaintiff was taking various prescription medications. ECF No. 45-3, p. 22. Upon his arrival at the SWACCC, intake staff refused to accept Plaintiff's medications from the officer who transported him from the Hot Spring County Detention Center. ECF No. 1, pp. 5-6. Plaintiff claims that he was told that he would receive his medications from the SWACCC Medical Department. ECF No. 1, p. 6. However, Plaintiff alleges that he was not seen by a doctor for some weeks and was, likewise, not provided the medications he was prescribed. ECF No. 1.

         Judge Bryant recommends that the Court find that Defendants Connie Mason, Dr. Mark Viegas, and Janet Meyers are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff did not submit grievances against them and therefore failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Judge Bryant also recommends that the Court find that Roger Wise is entitled to summary judgment due to the fact that Plaintiff sued Defendant Wise under a theory of respondeat superior. Finally, Judge Bryant recommends that the Court should find that Defendant McAlister is not entitled to summary judgment. Judge Bryant states his belief that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the abrupt discontinuation of Plaintiff's medication without the exercise of medical judgment constitutes deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs.

         Defendant McAlister is the only party who has filed an objection to Judge Bryant's Report and Recommendation. The core of Defendant McAlister's objections focus on the contention that he is not responsible for the facts that Plaintiff's medications were not accepted upon arrival at the SWACCC and that Plaintiff was not seen by a staff physician until some weeks after his arrival. ECF No. 62. Furthermore, Defendant McAlister argues that the exercise and stretching regimen he prescribed in lieu of prescription medicines was sufficient under the circumstances. ECF No. 62. Defendants have attached the sworn affidavit of Dr. Robert Floss to their Motion for Summary Judgment. Dr. Floss states that, in his medical opinion, the treatment provided by Defendant McAlister was appropriate. ECF No. 45-5.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when a party moves for summary judgment:

The 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). The Supreme Court has issued the following guidelines for trial courts to determine whether this standard has been satisfied:

The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is a need for trial-whether, in other words, there are genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.

Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987); Niagara of Wis. Paper Corp. v. Paper Indus. Union-Mgmt.Pension Fund, 800 F.2d 742, 746 (8th Cir. 1986). A fact is material only when its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party. Id. at 252.

         The Court must view the evidence and the inferences that may be reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Enterprise Bank v. Magna Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. The nonmoving party must then demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the record that create a genuine issue for trial. Krenik v. Cnty. of LeSueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995). A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.

         Anderson, ...


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