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Jones v. Faust

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

August 13, 2018

WARDEN N. FAUST, Ouachita River Correctional Unit “ORCU”; RORY GRIFFIN, Deputy Director of Health Services Administration, Correct Care Solutions CCS; DR. NANNETTE VOWELL, CCS; R. MORGAN, CCS; GWENDOLYN HART, CCS; NURSE C. ROBINSON; and JOHN or JANE DOE EYE DOCTOR DEFENDANTS



         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is incarcerated in the Ouachita River Correctional Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”).

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Separate Defendants Warden Faust and Rory Griffin. (ECF No. 29). The Motion is limited to the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies. Plaintiff has responded to the Motion. (ECF No. 49). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this action on March 29, 2018. With the exception of Warden Faust, Plaintiff alleges Defendants are either current or former employees of Correct Care Solutions (CCS), the contract medical care provider for the ADC.

         Plaintiff has Marfan disease.[1] Prior to his incarceration at the ADC, Plaintiff had been medically treated with contact lenses. When Plaintiff was processed into the ADC, his contact lenses were taken and he was told he would be accommodated with eye glasses. With few exceptions, inmates in the ADC are not allowed to wear contact lenses.

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs when they failed to provide him with his medically prescribed eye wear. On August 27, 2015, Plaintiff alleges he was seen by Dr. Perin and Dr. Uwaydat of the Jones Eye Institute. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Uwaydat recommended that Plaintiff be provided with contact lenses to treat his Marfan disease. Further, Plaintiff maintains that Dr. Uwaydat indicated that glasses would do nothing for Plaintiff's eyesight and if he did not get the contact lenses he was at risk of going blind. Dr. Uwaydat's recommendation had to be approved by the ADC.

         As a result of not receiving the contacts for over two years, Plaintiff alleges he suffered physical injury when he developed glaucoma and spontaneous subluxation of both lenses. Plaintiff underwent the surgical removal of his left and right lenses on January 12, 2017, and March 30, 2017, respectively.


         Summary 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 “show[s] that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “Once a party moving for summary judgment has made a sufficient showing, the burden rests with the nonmoving party to set forth specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists.” Nat'l Bank of Commerce v. Dow Chem. Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607 (8th Cir. 1999).

         The nonmoving 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.” Nat'l 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)).


         Separate Defendants Faust and Griffin maintain that Plaintiff has not exhausted his administrative remedies in regard to his claims against them. Specifically, they state Plaintiff did not name either of them in any grievance regarding his claim of deliberate indifference to his vision care and that Plaintiff failed to follow the ADC's grievance procedures. As such, they maintain all claims against them must be dismissed.

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides: “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). “Because exhaustion requirements are designed to deal with parties who do not want to exhaust, administrative law creates an incentive for these parties to do what they would otherwise prefer not to do, namely, to give the agency a fair and ...

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