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Jennings v. Correctional Medical Services

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 25, 2014




Robert Jennings ("Jennings") is a state prisoner who at all times relevant to the complaint was confined at the Putnamville Correctional Facility ("Putnamville"). Jennings alleges that defendants failed to provide him constitutionally adequate medical care. The defendants seek resolution of these claims through the entry of summary judgment and for the reasons explained in this Entry the defendants' motion for summary judgment must be granted.

I. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The initial burden is borne by the party seeking summary judgment, which must demonstrate the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A "material fact" is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). See also Serednyj v. Beverly Healthcare, LLC, 656 F.3d 540, 547 (7th Cir. 2011) ("When a summary judgment motion is submitted and supported by evidence... the nonmoving party may not rest on mere allegations or denials in its pleadings"). Summary judgment is only appropriate if, on the evidence provided, no reasonable juror could return a verdict in favor of the non-movant. Carlisle v. Deere & Co., 576 F.3d 649, 653 (7th Cir. 2009). "The nonmovant will successfully oppose summary judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion." Vukadinovich v. Bd. of Sch. Trs., 278 F.3d 693, 699 (7th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation and citation omitted). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A), B)(both the party "asserting that a fact cannot be, " and a party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed, must support their assertions by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, " or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.").

The court's role on summary judgment is not to evaluate the weight of the evidence, to judge witness credibility, or to determine the truth of the matter, but rather to determine from the admissible evidence whether a genuine issue of triable fact exists. Nat'l Athletic Sportswear, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co., 528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir. 2008). The court considers facts in a light most favorable to the nonmovant. Srail v. Vill. of Lisle, 588 F.3d 940, 948 (7th Cir. 2009).

II. Background

The following statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light reasonably most favorable to Jennings as the non-moving party. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

At the times pertinent to Jennings' claims in this action he was a convicted offender in the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction and unless indicated otherwise was confined at the Putnamville Correctional Facility ("Putnamville"). The defendant individuals are medical providers employed by Corizon, Inc., formerly known as Correctional Medical Services, Inc. At the times pertinent to Jennings' claims in this action the Indiana Department of Corrections had contracted with Corizon for Corizon to provide on-side medical care at all state prison facilities. Corizon is a defendant. The defendant individuals are Dr. Paul J. O'Brien, D.O., Nurse Gregory J. Gast, Dr. Diane Elrod, D.O., Dr. Kathleen Beach, DDS, and Dr. Joseph Poland, DDS.

While an inmate at Putnamville, Jennings was attacked and injured by other inmates on the evening of August 23, 2009. On that evening, after the assault, Jennings was examined by Peggy S. Wells, LPN, for complaints of injuries from the assault. Nurse Wells noted active bleeding, signs of trauma, broken teeth and dental pain. Nurse Wells examined Jennings' face and checked his mouth. She found loose teeth and an abrasion on Jennings' lip. His right eye was tender and slightly swollen. Nurse Wells consulted with Corizon's Regional Medical Director, Dr. Michael Mitcheff, who advised her to provide Jennings with an ice pack and to place him in medical observation for further observation by Dr. Paul O'Brien.

Dr. O'Brien examined Jennings on August 24, 2009, noting swollen eyes, nose bleeding, facial pain, nasal congestion, tooth pain, and a loose tooth on the right side. Jennings had no shortness of breath, chest pain or neurological symptoms. Dr. O'Brien ordered Jennings to be transferred for x-rays of his mandible. X-rays were taken at the Putnam County Hospital and showed a non-displaced fracture of right nasal bone, an intact lower jaw, and bilateral maxillary sinusitis. Dr. O'Brien examined Jennings again on August 25, 2009, noting that Jennings had tenderness around his face and a trickle of nose bleeding. He was given acetaminophen for pain and discharged from medical observation.

On September 27, 2009, Jennings was again assaulted at Putnamville, following which he was taken directly to the Putnam County Hospital emergency room and treated for a laceration to his right ear and multiple hematomas around his right eye, forehead and back of the head. He also complained of right rib discomfort. A CT scan of Jennings' brain and face showed complex facial fractures and a comminuted nasal fracture.

Jennings was returned to Putnamville on the evening of September 27, 2009. He was assessed by Brent Sykes, RN, at 11:19 p.m. Nurse Sykes consulted with Gregory Gast, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who ordered Vicodin and Colace for Jennings. Dr. O'Brien examined Jennings on September 28, 2009. Dr. O'Brien noted the right mandible fracture and referred Jennings for an assessment and further treatment by Dr. Joseph Poland, D.D.S.

Nurse Gast examined Jennings on October 1, 2009, after an initial visit with Dr. Poland at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. Nurse Gast noted that Jennings remained on a "broken jaw" diet, and that he would be returning to Plainfield Correctional ...

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