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Fordham v. Fleischmann

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

December 9, 2014

Antrel Jermain Fordham, # 262332, aka Antrel Jermaine Fordham, Plaintiff,
v.
N. Fleischmann, RN; L. Mauney, RN, in their individual capacity, Defendants

REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Kevin F. McDonald, United States Magistrate Judge.

The plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, is an inmate at the Lieber Correctional Institution of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (" SCDC"). The two defendants are nurses at Lieber. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, which the defendants deny. The parties have each filed motions for summary judgment.

Pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases filed under Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983, and submit findings and recommendations to the district court.

HISTORY OF THIS CASE

By way of background, the plaintiff previously filed a case in this court alleging the deliberate indifference of Nurse Mauney and others regarding his foot pain (Civil Action No. 2:12-974-MGL-BHH), which resulted in summary judgment for the defendants. The judgment was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 30, 2013. Fordham v. Moore, No. 13-6172, 520 F.App'x 192 (4thCir. April 30, 2013).

The complaint here was filed on March 24, 2014 (doc. 1). The plaintiff alleges that he was shot in the foot in 1998 and that he remains in pain with a severe limp ( id. at 3). He asked to see a doctor on January 3, 2014, but was told to take Tylenol ( id.). The plaintiff alleges that he requested to see a doctor again on January 17th and was finally allowed to see a doctor on February 20th, at which time the plaintiff asked for a medical authorization for shoes with extra cushioning and support ( id.). The plaintiff states that he was later given ibuprofen, but has not received the shoes and has been refused to be seen again at sick call ( id.). The plaintiff indicates that he has written to SCDC's Medical Director, but someone else answered his request and stated that he had already written about this issue in 2013 ( id. at 4). The plaintiff alleges that nothing is being done, despite his repeated attempts to get different treatment for his foot ( id.). In his prayer for relief, the plaintiff seeks the requested shoes and compensatory damages ( id. at 5).

The defendants filed an answer (doc. 14) on May 20, 2014, denying the allegations and raising various affirmative defenses.

On June 5, 2014, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment (doc. 21). The defendants filed their response in opposition (doc. 24) on June 23rd. The defendants then filed their motion for summary judgment (doc. 31) on July 3rd. The undersigned issued a Roseboro order to apprise the plaintiff of summary judgment procedure. See Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4thCir. 1975). The plaintiff filed his response (doc. 40) to the motion for summary judgment on August 7th.

In his motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff argues that his ongoing foot pain, coupled with the defendants' purported inadequate treatment, entitles him to summary judgment. Attached to his motion are various exhibits, including the plaintiff's Requests to Staff forms (doc. 21-1); the plaintiff's affidavit (doc. 21-2); and a medical note dated March 20, 2014, indicating that the plaintiff may take Tylenol but noting that the plaintiff does not qualify for shoes per policy (doc. 21-3 at 1) or " medication" (doc. 21-3 at 2).

In their motion for summary judgment, the defendants contend that the plaintiff's case is barred by res judicata and his failure to exhaust administrative remedies. They also deny that they were indifferent to the plaintiff's medical needs and are protected from liability by qualified immunity. Appended to the motion are various exhibits, including the affidavit of Nurse Fleischmann (doc. 31-3); the affidavit of Nurse Mauney (doc. 31-4); medical summaries of the plaintiff's treatment in SCDC (doc. 31-5); handwritten prescription notes (doc. 31-6); copies of documents from the plaintiff's previous cases (doc. 31- 7 through 11); copies of the plaintiff's grievances (doc. 31-12); and a copy of SCDC Policy No. 4000.19 (Jan. 17, 2012), on shoes and shoe inserts (doc. 31-13).

The plaintiff responded to the defendants' motion for summary judgment, repeating that he continues to suffer pain and that he is not receiving appropriate treatment. Attached to the plaintiff's response are a letter dated June 20, 2014, from Doris Jacques, Regional Nurse Manager for SCDC Health Services, apprising the plaintiff that his foot injury was " well healed" and did not qualify the plaintiff for special shoes (doc. 40-2 at 1); a copy of a prescription dated February 14, 2011, approving the plaintiff for special shoes (doc. 40-3 at 1); and a letter from the plaintiff to this court indicating that the plaintiff had receive shoes in the past and should receive them now (doc. 40-4 at 1).

APPLICABLE LAW AND ANALYSIS

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 states, as to a party who has moved for summary judgment: " The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant 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). As to the first of these determinations, a fact is deemed " material" if proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the disposition of the case under the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material fact is " genuine" if the evidence offered is such that a reasonable jury might return a verdict for the non-movant. Id. at 257. In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).

The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the district court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Once the movant has made this thresholddemonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings; rather, he must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. at 324. Under this standard, the existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position is insufficient to withstand the summary judgment motion. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. Likewise, conclusory allegations or denials, without more, are insufficient to preclude the granting of the summary judgment motion. Id. at 248. " Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual ...


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