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Tudor v. Derrick

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

April 2, 2019

Milo Earl Tudor, Jr., Plaintiff,
Nurse Pamela C. Derrick, Defendant.


          Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge.

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 40) recommending the Court grant Defendant Pamela C. Derrick's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 31). For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R & R as the order of the Court, and the Court grants Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Miles Earl Tudor, Jr. brings claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At all relevant times, Plaintiff was in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC") and housed at the Allendale Correctional Institution ("Allendale"). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Pamela C. Derrick, a registered nurse, denied him basic medical care and acted with deliberate indifference towards his medical needs. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on May 22, 2015, officers at Allendale called for emergency medical care while Plaintiff was lying on the floor in a housing unit. (Dkt. No. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant arrived, but failed to examine Plaintiff or provide any medical care, and failed to notify the doctor. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that because of these actions, he ultimately required lifesaving surgery and must take blood thinners for the rest of his life. (Id.) Defendant, in her motion, submitted an affidavit along with Plaintiffs medical records that showed that on May 12, 2015, Defendant responded to an emergency call from officers, and examined Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 31-2 at 8.) Defendant left the medical encounter open for Plaintiffs planned assessment with Dr. Thomas Byrne the following day. (Id.) Over the next week, Plaintiff repeatedly saw Dr. Byrne on May 13th, 15th, 18th, 20th. Dr. Byrne performed examinations, including ordering labs, and ultimately prescribed a number of medications, including an antibiotic. (Dkt. No. 31-3 at 8 - 10.) On May 21, 2015, Plaintiff was again seen for an emergency, and was seen later the same day by Dr. Byrne. (Id. at 11.) Dr. Byrne then transferred Plaintiff to Allendale County Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an ischemic bowel and thrombosis, and later transferred to Palmetto Health Richland. (Id. at 4 - 5; 11 - 12.)

         Defendant Derrick filed a motion for summary judgment on September 6, 2018. (Dkt. No. 31.) Plaintiff opposed the motion. (Dkt. No. 37.) The Magistrate Judge issued an R & R recommended granting the motion. (Dkt. No. 40.) Plaintiff has not filed objections.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Pro Se Pleadings

         This Court liberally construes complaints filed by pro se litigants to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a viable federal claim, nor can the Court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none exists. See Weller v. Dep't of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Report and Recommendation

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court that has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R Plaintiff specifically objects to. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Where Plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted). "Moreover, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the recommendation." Wilson v. S C Dept of Corr., No. 9:14-CV-4365-RMG, 2015 WL 1124701, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 12, 2015). See also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). Plaintiff has not filed objections, and therefore the R & R is reviewed for clear error.

         C. Summary Judgment

         To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the movant must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of identifying the portions of the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, any admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The Court will construe all inferences and ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving party. US. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). However, an issue of material fact is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-movant. Id. at 257.

         "When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "In the language of the Rule, the nonmoving party must come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 587. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Id. quoting First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).

         III. ...

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