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Britt v. Rahana

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

April 8, 2015

WENDELL D. BRITT, Plaintiff,
DR. RAHANA, and GARY TINGLE, Marion County Jail Commander, Lt. Col., Defendants.


WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

Presently pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendants Dr. Rohana and Jail Commander Gary Tingle on January 15, 2015. Despite an extension of time, no response was filed by the plaintiff Wendell D. Britt, and the deadline for doing so has passed.

In this lawsuit, Mr. Britt accuses Dr. Rohana and Mr. Tingle of being deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Mr. Britt alleges that he was transferred from Wishard Hospital to the Marion County Jail with a punctured lung, broken ribs and a fractured right arm and toes. Dr. Rohana was allegedly responsible for treating him but refused to examine him and ignored his medical requests. Jail Commander Tingle allegedly knew that Mr. Britt was not receiving necessary treatment but failed to take any action to resolve this problem. See Dkt. 68 at 2-3.

For the reasons explained below, the defendants' unopposed motion for summary judgment [dkt. 77] is granted.

Standard of Review

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). A "material fact" is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine only if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving 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, 380-81 (2007). "[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by showing'-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325.

In this case, the defendants have met that 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, Mr. Britt has conceded to the defendants' version of the facts. Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This is the result of Local Rule 56-1(f), of which Mr. Britt 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).

Statement of Material Facts

The following facts, unopposed by Mr. Britt and supported by admissible evidence are accepted as true:

On October 30, 2012, Mr. Britt was injured in a collision in Indianapolis in which he was a passenger in a truck he had stolen two days earlier. Mr. Britt, who was heavily intoxicated, was arrested and transported to Wishard Hospital. Once there, Mr. Britt received surgery for a hemothorax, and a tube was placed in his left chest. Mr. Britt was also given a CAT scan, which did not reveal any signs of a broken arm or broken toes.

A week later, on November 5, 2012, Mr. Britt was discharged from Wishard. A copy of Mr. Britt's discharge orders were faxed to the Marion County Jail 1 on November 5, and reviewed by Dr. Rohana that same date. Dr. Rohana is employed by Correct Care Solutions, LLC, and is the medical director at Marion County Jail 1. Mr. Britt's discharge orders provided the following summary for the hospital's course of treatment:

45 [year old] male s/p [motor vehicle crash] with left hemothorax. Patient was also intoxicated. Alcohol intervention was provided. He was maintained on alcohol withdrawal protocol and administered thiamine and folate. A chest tube was placed on the left with near complete resolution of hemothorax. Upon removal, chest xray post pull did not reveal any PTX. Patient discharged to prison being arrested in stable condition, pain controlled on oral meds, breathing comfortably on RA. Tolerating regular diet, having regular bowel movements.

"PTX" is medical shorthand for pneumothorax, and "RA" is a medical abbreviation for "room air, " meaning that Britt was not on supplemental oxygen. The discharge orders further noted that Britt was on a regular diet, that he could exercise as tolerated, and that his discharge medications included bacitracin ointment, a stool softener, and Percocet (Oxycodone 5/Acetaminophen 325).

Based on his review of the discharge orders, as well as his own medical judgment, Dr. Rohana prescribed Mr. Britt with Vicodin and a stool softener-effectively providing the exact same types of medications as those prescribed at Wishard Hospital. Dr. Rohana ordered that Mr. Britt was to receive Vicodin three times a day ("tid") for three days; ...

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