United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge
Herbert Daniel Fitch, an inmate proceeding pro se, filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02,
D.S.C., this matter was referred to a magistrate judge for
pretrial handling. Before the court is the magistrate
judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”),
recommending that Defendants' motion for summary judgment
(ECF No. 28) be granted (ECF No. 31). Plaintiff was advised
of his right to file objections to the Report. (ECF No. 31 at
17). Plaintiff timely filed objections. (ECF No. 37), and
Defendants filed a response to those objections (ECF No. 41).
Report has no presumptive weight and the responsibility to
make a final determination in this matter remains with this
court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). The court need not conduct a de novo review when a
party makes only “general and conclusory objections
that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In that case, the court reviews the
Report only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
Report, the magistrate judge sets forth the facts and
background. Briefly, Plaintiff is currently a pretrial
detainee at the Spartanburg County Detention Facility
(“SCDF”). He alleges that, on several occasions,
he has not received any medical care, and he has been
improperly treated on other occasions.
Miltier v. Beorn, 896 F.2d 848 (4th Cir.1990), in
reviewing a medical indifference claim, the Fourth Circuit
Court of Appeals held that the medical treatment “must
be so grossly incompetent, inadequate or excessive as to
shock the conscience or to be intolerable to fundamental
fairness . . . . [M]ere negligence or malpractice does not
violate the Eighth Amendment.” Id. at 851
(citations omitted). Unless medical needs were serious or life
threatening, and the defendant was deliberately and
intentionally indifferent to those needs of which he was
aware at the time, the plaintiff may not prevail. Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102-103 (1976); Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994); Sosebee v.
Murphy, 797 F.2d 179 (4th Cir. 1986). Moreover, although
the Constitution requires a prison to provide inmates with
medical care, a prisoner is not entitled to receive the
treatment of his choice. Ajaj v. United States, 479
F.Supp.2d 501, 537 (D.S.C. 2007) (citing Jackson v.
Fair, 846 F.2d 811, 817 (1st Cir. 1988)).
evidence before the court, including not just Plaintiff's
medical records but Plaintiff's own statements in his
filings, shows that Plaintiff has received continuous and
ongoing treatment for his medical complaints. The medical
professionals involved in Plaintiff's case have evaluated
Plaintiff's condition and rendered a judgment as to the
type of care and treatment warranted based on their
professional experience and judgment, and Plaintiff's
mere disagreement with the opinions or diagnoses of these
medical professionals, without any contrary medical evidence
to show that any medical professional violated the requisite
standard of care for his complaints, is not sufficient to
maintain a § 1983 deliberate medical indifference
lawsuit. See Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 849
(4th Cir. 1985)(holding that disagreements between an inmate
and a physician over the inmate's proper medical care do
not state a § 1983 claim absent exceptional
circumstances); Scheckells v. Goord, 423 F.Supp.2d
342, 348 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (citing O'Connor v.
Pierson, 426 F.3d 187, 202 (2d Cir. 2005) (“Lay
people are not qualified to determine. . . . medical fitness,
whether physical or mental; that is what independent medical
experts are for.”)).
the court adopts the conclusions and recommendation set forth
in the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 31) and
incorporates it herein. It is therefore
ORDERED that Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 28) is GRANTED.
IS SO ORDERED.
The Magistrate Judge initially noted
that Plaintiff had not timely responded to Defendants'
summary judgment motion, and stated that this action should
be dismissed for failure to prosecute. (Report at 2).
Plaintiff has since filed his response opposing the
Defendants' summary judgment motion. (ECF No. 34).
Accordingly, the court declines to dismiss this action for
failure to prosecute. However, the Magistrate Judge also
addressed the merits of the motion, and recommended the
motion be granted. (Report 3-15).
Medical claims of a pretrial detainee
are governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, rather than the Eighth Amendment. See City of
Revere v. Massachusetts Gen. Hosp., 463 U.S. 239 (1983).
However, in § 1983 actions, the Fourth Circuit has held
that the deliberate indifference standard is the same for
both inmates and ...