United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma
pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently
before the Court is Defendant Barbara Vestal's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 25). Plaintiff has filed a
Response to the Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 28).
Jerry Parham filed the instant Complaint in accordance with
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that, while he was
incarcerated at the Ouachita River Unit, Defendant Barbara
Vestal violated his constitutional rights when she failed and
refused to give him one dose of gabapentin during the morning
pill call on June 23, 2015. (ECF No. 2, 28).
had a cervical fusion in March 2015. (ECF No. 27, Ex. A, pp.
6, 14). On May 4, 2015, Dr. Vowell began to taper Plaintiff
off of tramadol, a narcotic medication which he had been
taking for pain. (ECF No. 27, Ex. A, p. 1, 9; Ex. B). On May
5, 2015, Dr. Vowell prescribed gabapentin for Plaintiff to
take twice daily. (ECF No. 27, Ex. A, p. 2; Ex. B).
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure medication which is also used
to relieve nerve pain. (ECF No. 27, Ex. B).
had a checkup with neurology on May 8, 2015. He was recorded
to have improved left side strength, but still some weakness.
(ECF No. 27, Ex. A, pp. 3-4; Ex. B). On May 14, 2015, Dr.
Vowell noted, “x-ray of cervical spine stable position
of interbody plate as well as screws.” (ECF No. 27, Ex.
A, p. 5; Ex. B). On May 20, 2015, a prescription for
ibuprofen, 600 mg to be taken three times a day, was renewed
and set to expire in September. (ECF No. 27, Ex. A, p. 5, Ex.
B). Plaintiff received ninety (90) 600 mg tablets of
ibuprofen, to keep on-person, on June 5, 2015. (ECF No. 27,
Ex. A, pp. 16-17, Ex. B).
23, 2015, Plaintiff only received one dose of gabapentin,
administered in the evening. (ECF No. 27, Ex. A, p. 18; Ex.
was seen in the clinic the following day, on June 24, 2015,
and made no reference to any issue as a result of receiving
only one dose of gabapentin on June 23, 2015. (ECF No. 27,
Ex. A, p. 10; Ex. B).
Vowell, M.D., reviewed Plaintiff's medical records and is
familiar with his medical care as a treating physician of
Plaintiff. (ECF No. 27, Ex. B). According to Dr. Vowell,
missing a single dose of gabapentin would not have had a
detrimental effect on Plaintiff's cervical spine health.
(ECF No. 27, Ex. B). Dr. Vowell further opined that missing a
single dose of gabapentin did not cause any lasting damage
(ECF No. 27, Ex. B) because gabapentin is a symptomatic
medication-not a medication that reverses neuropathic pain.
It provides only temporary relief from pain; thus, worsening
a disease process is not possible by missing a dose of this
medication. (ECF No. 27, Ex. B).
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), the record
“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). “Once a party
moving for summary judgment has made a sufficient showing,
the burden rests with the non-moving party to set forth
specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that
a genuine issue of material fact exists.” National
Bank of Commerce v. Dow Chemical Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607
(8th Cir. 1999).
non-moving party “must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586.
“They must show there is sufficient evidence to support
a jury verdict in their favor.” National Bank,
165 F.3d at 607 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986)). “A case founded
on speculation or suspicion is insufficient to survive a
motion for summary judgment.” Id. (citing
Metge v. Baehler, 762 F.2d 621, 625 (8th Cir.
1985)). “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.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment
prohibits deliberate indifference to prisoners' serious
medical needs. Luckert v. Dodge County, 684 F.3d
808, 817 (8th Cir. 2012). To prevail on his Eighth Amendment
claim, Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant acted with
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
Estelle v. Gamble,429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The
deliberate indifference standard includes “both an
objective and a subjective component: ‘The [Plaintiff]
must demonstrate (1) that [he] suffered [from] objectively
serious medical needs and (2) that the prison officials
actually knew of but ...