United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Procedure for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (Recommendation) has been sent to
Judge James M. Moody Jr. Any party may file written
objections with the Clerk of Court. To be considered,
objections must be filed within 14 days. Objections should be
specific and should include the factual or legal basis for
parties do not file objections, they risk waiving the right
to appeal questions of fact. And, if no objections are filed,
Judge Moody can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing the record.
Richardson, an Arkansas Department of Correction
(“ADC”) inmate, filed this lawsuit without the
help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket entry
#2) Mr. Richardson claims that Defendants Kelley and Griffin
violated his eighth amendment rights by their deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. The Court
previously dismissed Mr. Richardson's claims arising
prior to July 2016. (#28) Defendants have now moved for
summary judgment on Mr. Richardson's remaining claims
against them. (#33) Mr. Richardson has not responded to the
motion, and the time for responding to the motion has passed.
summary judgment, the Court rules in favor of a party before
trial. A party is entitled to summary judgment if the
evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the party on
the other side of the lawsuit, shows that there is no genuine
dispute about any fact important to the outcome of the case.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 and Odom v. Kaizer, 864
F.3d 920, 921 (8th Cir. 2017).
public official's “deliberate indifference to a
prisoner's serious illness or injury” violates the
Eighth Amendment ban against cruel punishment. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976). “Deliberate
indifference” is evidenced, however, only when
“the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk
to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware
of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
even gross negligence, is insufficient to establish
liability. Fourte v. Faulkner County, Arkansas, 746
F.3d 384, 387 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Jolly v.
Knudsen, 205 F.3d 1094, 1096 (8th Cir. 2000)).
Defendants can be held liable only if their actions were
“so inappropriate as to evidence intentional
maltreatment or a refusal to provide essential care.”
Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1240-1241 (8th
Cir. 1997) (citing Smith v. Jenkins, 919 F.2d 90, 93
(8th Cir. 1990)). See also Allard v. Baldwin, 779
F.3d 768, 771-72 (8th Cir. 2015) (to prevail on Eighth
Amendment claim, inmate must show defendant's mental
state was akin to criminal recklessness).
mere disagreement with treatment decisions does not rise to
the level of a constitutional violation. Langford v.
Norris, 614 F.3d 445, 460 (8th Cir. 2010). Stated
another way, “[i]n the face of medical records
indicating that treatment was provided and physician
affidavits indicating that the care provided was adequate, an
inmate cannot create a question of fact by merely stating
that ‘he did not feel' he received adequate
treatment.” Dulany, 132 F.3d at 1240.
Mr. Richardson's medical records prove that from June
2016 through December 2017, he was consistently treated for
wounds to his lower extremities. During that time, Mr.
Richardson's wounds were evaluated, and his dressings
were changed almost always on a weekly basis, and sometimes
more frequently. (#35-5 at pp.184-86, 178-81, 175-76, 173,
170, 168, 166, 163-65, 159-60, 155, 152, 147, 142-43, 140,
137-38, 131-36, 126-27, 123-24, 121, 118, 109-12, 106-9,
101-4, 95-96, 93, 91, 86-88, 79-81, 73-77, 71, 69, 65-68,
61-63, 59, 54-57, 49-52, 46, 42, 41, 39, 37, 34, 29-30, 12,
6, 3-4, 2) Mr. Richardson was also consistently provided an
unna boot between June 2016 and September 2016, and again
from April 2017 through September 2017. (Id. at
pp.184-85, 181, 179, 177, 176, 175, 173, 170, 168, 166,
163-65, 160, 159, 86-88, 81, 79-80, 77, 76, 73-74, 71, 69,
67-68, 66, 63, 61-62, 59, 57, 55, 51-52, 49-50, 46, 42, 39,
37, 34, 30)
Jeffrey Stieve's declaration attached to the
Defendants' motion for summary judgment, he explains that
“[a]n unna boot is a special dressing that is infused
with medication that is used on open wounds on a person's
lower extremities.” (#35-4 at p.3) During the time
period at issue, if medical personnel determined that Mr.
Richardson's wounds did not require an unna boot or a
more complex dressing, ...