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Rowe v. Vaisvilas

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 22, 2014




Plaintiff Jeffrey Allen Rowe (“Rowe”) was incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility at all times relevant to this action. In his second amended complaint filed March 22, 2012, Rowe alleges that defendants Wayne Scaife and Rose Vaisvilas were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs based on the fact that they allowed medication for Rowe’s heartburn symptoms to be provided every twelve hours as proscribed at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on nursing rounds instead of providing it at 4:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Second, Rowe alleges that Scaife and Vaisvilas retaliated against him for filing this civil action in violation of his First Amendment rights. Specifically, Rowe argues that in refusing to refill his prescription when it ran out and by denying his grievances and allowing him to go without his medication; the defendants retaliated against him. Defendants Wayne Scaife and Rose Vaisvilas (the “defendants”) deny Rowe’s allegations and seek resolution of the claims alleged against them through summary judgment.

For the reasons explained below, the defendants’ unopposed motion for summary judgment [dkt. 138] is granted.

I. Summary Judgment Standard

The motion for summary judgment in this civil rights action, as with any such motion, must be granted 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). The substantive law identifies which facts are material. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is genuine only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, then there is no “genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372 (2007).

In this case, the defendants have met their burden through their unopposed motion for summary judgment. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”). By not responding to the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff has conceded the defendants’ version of the facts. Brasic v. Heinemann'sInc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This is the result of Local Rule 56-1(f), of which the plaintiff was notified. This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

II. Material Facts

At all relevant times to the Complaint, Rowe was incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”), Defendant Wayne Scaife was a Grievance Executive Assistant at Pendleton and Rose Vaisvilas was the Director of Health Services for the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”).

Vaisvilas is not a medical doctor. She does not have authority to provide medical treatment or to write or fill any prescription for any offender at Pendleton. Her job responsibilities include: (1) monitoring the CMS contract; (2) writing policies, procedures, and health care directives; (3) processing offender grievances; (4) handling offender correspondence; and (5) processing medical emergency requests.

On October 28, 2009, Elton Amos, M.D. (“Dr. Amos”) examined Rowe for complaints of epigastric discomfort or heartburn. Dr. Amos prescribed Zantac 150 mg for 90 days to address Rowe’s heartburn symptoms.

On or about April 12, 2010, Rowe’s Zantac prescription was confiscated from his cell by correctional facility staff because Rowe had been failing to take it as prescribed. After Rowe’s Zantac was confiscated, Rowe continued receiving his Zantac from nursing staff during medication rounds at approximately 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily.

On January 22, 2011, Correctional Officer Hysell confiscated additional Zantac from Rowe because Rowe was in segregation and on psychotropic medication. Pursuant to IDOC policy, offenders in segregation on psychotropic medication must be provided their medication at scheduled medication line times.

On January 31, 2011, Rowe submitted a formal grievance to Defendant Scaife alleging that (1) the January 22, 2011 confiscation of his Zantac, in accordance with IDOC policy was irrational because if wanted to he could purchase Zantac from the prison commissary; and (2) despite being provided his medication at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. he was still experiencing heartburn.

On February 10, 2011, Scaife denied the formal grievance filed by Rowe. On February 14, 2011, Rowe submitted a grievance appeal to Scaife. Scaife forwarded that appeal to Vaisvilas on February 18, 2011. On March 4, 2011, Vaisvilas denied the grievance appeal stating that the confiscation of Rowe’s medication was consistent with IDOC policy requiring that medicine be administered at the designated ...

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