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Hughes v. Infante

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

July 9, 2019




         Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 29, 30, 31.).

         I. BACKGROUND

         In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges his federal constitutional rights have been violated by the denial of medical care while incarcerated at the Benton County Detention Center (BCDC) as a pretrial detainee. (ECF No. 11 at 4-5). He alleges he was shot four times in the back on January 20, 2018. (Id. at 3-4). Plaintiff alleges bullets remain lodged in both his neck and rotator cuff, but the areas were x-rayed and he was told nothing could be done.[1] (Id. at 5). Plaintiff identifies Dr. Saez as the physician at the BCDC. Starting January 23, 2018, Plaintiff alleges Dr. Saez could have given him pain medication for his injuries, but instead did not permit him to have any pain medication “at all.” (Id. at 4).

         Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendants in their official and personal capacity. (Id. at 4). He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 7).

         Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on December 12, 2018. (ECF Nos. 29, 30, 31). On December 13, 2018, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file a Response to the Summary Judgment Motion. (ECF No. 32). Plaintiff filed his Response on January 25, 2019. (ECF No. 35).


         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 "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).

         The 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants argue summary judgment in their favor is appropriate because: (1) Defendants were not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs; (2) no policy or custom of Southern Health Partners, Inc. caused Plaintiff to suffer any unconstitutional harm; (3) Plaintiff cannot “meet proof with proof” to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. (ECF No. 31).

         Plaintiff provided a one-paragraph Response, stating as follows: “They say my injurys [sic] are chronic but I'm not being treated as so. My pain is terriable [sic] everyday and they could make this at least more bearable. My pain and suffering make my life not as worth living. The quality of my life is pain every day.” (ECF No. 35 at 1) (errors in original).

         The 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 Defendants 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 deliberately disregarded those needs.'” Jolly v. Knudsen,205 F.3d ...

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