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Johnson v. Kelley

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

September 5, 2019

ROBERT LEE JOHNSON, JR, ADC #100626 PLAINTIFF
v.
WENDY KELLEY, et al. DEFENDANTS

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedures for Filing Objections

         This Recommended Disposition (Recommendation) has been sent to Judge James M. Moody, Jr. Any party to this suit may file written objections with the Clerk of Court. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection.

         To be considered, objections must be filed within 14 days. If 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.

         II. Background

         Plaintiff Robert Lee Johnson, an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), filed this lawsuit without the help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket entry #1) Mr. Johnson claims that Defendants Griffin, Kelley, Lay, Conley, and Stukey were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. (#2)

         Defendants Conley and Stukey (Medical Defendants) have moved for summary judgment on the merits (#76), as have Defendants Griffin, Kelley, and Lay (ADC Defendants) (#81). Mr. Johnson has responded to the motions. (#89)

         III. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is granted only when the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, presents no genuine dispute as to any fact important to the outcome of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246 (1986). If important facts remain in dispute, the court cannot grant summary judgment, and the case is set for a trial.

         IV. Undisputed Facts

         Here, the relevant facts are not in dispute. Mr. Johnson arrived at the Randall Williams Unit of the ADC on November 16, 2017. (#77-2; pp.47-48) His medical history included heart murmurs, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and bradycardia (slow heart beat).[1] (#77-1, pp.1, 4; #77-2, p. 19)

         Mr. Johnson complained of chest pain on several occasions while he was at the Randall Williams Unit; and each time, he was taken to the Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) emergency department for treatment, including examinations by cardiologists. (#77-1, pp. 6, 8-21, 46-53, 120-146, 152-175, 198-212).

         The issues in this lawsuit concern whether Mr. Johnson had a serious medical need for a pacemaker and, if so, whether Defendants knew of this need, but deliberately failed to authorize the procedure. Mr. Johnson filed this lawsuit to force Defendants to authorize insertion of a pacemaker in his chest, which he believes is medically necessary. (#77-2, pp.45-47, 51)

         Mr. Johnson asserts that on March 14, 2018, he signed a consent form at JRMC for insertion of a pacemaker and was prepped for the procedure, but the Defendants refused to authorize it. (#2, p.5; #46; #51; #77-2, p. 45-47, 68) It is undisputed that cardiologists at JRMC performed a left heart catherization on Mr. Johnson.[2] (#2; #77-1, p.75)

         Mr. Johnson acknowledges that Dr. Alshami, [3] the cardiologist who examined him at JRMC in March of 2018, never told him that he needed a pacemaker. (#77-2, p.51) He believes he needs a pacemaker because Dr. Rollefson (not a Defendant) said as much in 2011, as did a doctor at the ...


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