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Johnson v. Cockrell

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

June 16, 2015

CARL JOHNSON, Plaintiff,


Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge

The plaintiff’s motion to admit prior court’s order [Docket No. 14] is denied because the facts of the other case, 2:12-cv-00337-WTL-MJD, are different than the facts of this case. The plaintiff’s motion to supplement [Docket No. 15] is granted only to the extent that the Court considered the supplement filed on November 18, 2014. For the reasons explained in this Entry, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment [Docket No. 14] is denied and the defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment [Docket No. 17] is granted.

I. Background

The plaintiff in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action is Carl Johnson (“Mr. Johnson”), an inmate who at all relevant times was confined at the Correctional Industrial Facility (“CIF”). The defendant is Dr. Dale Cockrell (“Dr. Cockrell”). Mr. Johnson alleges that Dr. Cockrell was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need consisting of a shoulder condition.

The defendant has responded to the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and also seeks summary judgment. The cross-motions are fully briefed.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to 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). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must set forth specific, admissible evidence showing that there is a material issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O’Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011).

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.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). 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 (2007).

III. Discussion

A. Undisputed Facts

On the basis of the pleadings and the portions of the expanded record that comply with the requirements of Rule 56(c)(1), construed in a manner most favorable to Mr. Johnson, the following facts are undisputed for purposes of the cross-motions for summary judgment:

On or about December 12, 2013, Mr. Johnson was transferred from Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”) to CIF. On December 12, 2013, he submitted a Request for Health Care stating that he was experiencing pain in his right shoulder. He stated that it hurt to climb into his upper bunk bed. He requested pain killers and a lower bunk pass. He was seen by a nurse and referred to a medical provider for further evaluation. Dr. Cockrell saw Mr. Johnson on December 17, 2013. Mr. Johnson reported to Dr. Cockrell that he suffered an AC (acromioclavicular) joint separation resulting from a car accident in 1997. Mr. Johnson complained of periodic popping, cracking and pain in his right shoulder which he stated was aggravated by movement. He stated he had received cortisone injections in the past to address shoulder pain. Mr. Johnson’s physical examination was normal with the exception of his right shoulder issues. In order to further assess Mr. Johnson’s complaints of shoulder discomfort, Dr. Cockrell ordered bilateral x-rays of Mr. Johnson’s AC joints.

Both of Mr. Johnson’s acromioclavicular joints were x-rayed with and without weights. The purpose of taking a shoulder or AC joint x-ray with weights is to stress the affected joint to see if there is any instability. On December 19, 2013, Dr. Cockrell reviewed Mr. Johnson’s x-ray report. The conclusions of the report were that although there were changes in the right clavicle and the right AC joint was widened by 7 millimeters as a result of the old injury, the right AC joint was stable and had scarred down as evidenced by the fact that there was no widening of the AC joint with the weights. The x-ray of the left AC joint was normal.

On January 30, 2014, Tina Collins, L.P.N. reviewed the December 17, 2013, x-ray report with Mr. Johnson. The nurse report reflects that Ms. Collins informed Mr. Johnson that his x-ray report revealed that the widening of his AC joint was stabilized by bone scarring down to fill in the widened space in his AC joint. Mr. Johnson stated to Ms. Collins that he disagreed with the x-ray report and believed that the bone in his shoulder was free-floating and ...

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