United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
Thompson, an inmate currently incarcerated at Wabash Valley
Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”), filed
this suit against several staff members-correctional officers
and medical professionals-at Wabash Valley regarding his
medical treatment and housing placement after he ruptured his
Achilles tendon. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he
alleges that the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment
rights when they were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs as well as to a serious risk of further injury,
and that one of the defendants violated his First Amendment
rights by retaliating against him for filing a grievance
regarding his treatment.
brings state law claims. The defendants who are medical
professionals-Lolit Joseph, Marilyn Rodriguez, Michael
Mitcheff, Michael Rogan, and Maria Gadberry (the
“Medical Defendants”)-move for summary judgment
on all of Mr. Thompson’s claims against them. The
claims against the remaining defendants are not at issue in
this Entry. For the reasons explained below, the Court grants
inpart and denies in part the Medical Defendants’
motion for summary judgment. [Filing No. 51.]
Judgment Legal Standard
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.
See 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).
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,
477 U.S. at 248. 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).
Thompson is, and was at all times relevant to this case, an
inmate at Wabash Valley. Prior to April 5, 2013, Mr. Thompson
was housed on the 400 range of the F Housing Unit at Wabash
Valley, which is an upper range housing unit that can only be
accessed by climbing metal grated stairs.
Friday, April 5, 2013, Mr. Thompson severely injured his
ankle playing basketball and was unable to walk. Mr. Thompson
was taken to the Wabash Valley medical staff. Dr. Gregory
Haynes decided Mr. Thompson needed to be sent to the
emergency room, as he most likely needed an MRI, and
prescribed Vicodin for the pain.
Thompson was taken to the emergency room at Terre Haute
Regional Hospital. The emergency room physician administered
tests and determined that, although no bones were fractured,
Mr. Thompson had probably ruptured his Achilles tendon. The
discharge notes from the emergency room physician reflect,
among other things, that Mr. Thompson should not put any
weight on his ankle and should call on Monday, April 8, 2013,
to schedule an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist
and undergo an MRI. Upon his return to Wabash Valley, Mr.
Thompson was seen by Dr. Haynes, who prescribed him three
days of Vicodin and provided him crutches. Three days later,
on April 8, 2013, Mr. Thompson complained of ankle pain, and
his Vicodin prescription was renewed.
Thompson attests that, between April 5 and 8, 2013, he told
several Wabash Valley correctional staff and Nurse Marilyn
Rodriguez about his ankle injury and that it caused him
difficulty getting up and down the stairs to his upper-level
housing unit. He asked each of them to move him to a lower
range and issue him a lay-in pass so that he did not have to
use the stairs, but they each responded that they could not
April 9, 2013, Dr. Lolit Joseph submitted a request to Dr.
Mitcheff that Mr. Thompson undergo an MRI. Dr. Rogan agreed
with Dr. Joseph that an MRI was appropriate.
on April 9, 2013, Mr. Thompson was walking on the metal
grated stairs with his crutches, when they got stuck on the
metal grating, causing Mr. Thompson to lose his balance and
fall down half a flight of stairs. The fall caused Mr.
Thompson excruciating pain in his neck, lower back, and right
his fall, Mr. Thompson was taken to Dr. Joseph, who noted
severe tenderness in the back, although no swelling. Dr.
Joseph prescribed Mr. Thompson the anti-inflammatory Mobic
and the pain reliever Nalbuphine (in addition to the Vicodin
he was still taking), placed him in a neck collar, and
ordered that he undergo x-rays. Lastly, Dr. Joseph ordered
that Mr. Thompson be given a bottom bunk, bottom range pass.
Thompson’s back was x-rayed on April 12, 2013. It
revealed no further injuries, and it was suggested that Mr.
Thompson may have suffered a muscle spasm when he fell.
April 15, 2013, Mr. Thompson had a scheduled medical visit.
Among other things, Mr. Thompson requested information
regarding the MRI he was supposed to receive. At that time,
Mr. Thompson was still taking Mobic, but was no longer taking
Vicodin. That same day, Mr. Thompson filed a formal grievance
alleging, among other things, that Dr. Joseph was
intentionally delaying the treatment of his ankle, as he had
yet to have the ordered MRI or surgery.
Thompson had a scheduled visit with Dr. Joseph on April 17,
2013. Dr. Joseph’s treatment notes reflect that Mr.
Thompson’s ankle was swollen and causing him pain, and
Mr. Thompson requested Vicodin. Mr. Thompson, however, states
that the first thing Dr. Joseph said was, “why did you
file a grievance against me?” [Filing No. 2 at 4.] Mr.
Thompson says he explained to Dr. Joseph the reasons he did
so, to which she responded, “you will not be receiving
any pain medication,” and that he could order pain
medication from commissary, which Mr. Thompson told her would
take two weeks. [Filing No. 2 at 4.] Mr. Thompson
attests that, at an unspecified later date, Dr. Rogan
apologized for Dr. Joseph’s denial of Vicodin.
Thompson was seen again the next day, April 18, 2013,
complaining of swelling and pain. Dr. Joseph’s
affidavit states that he was seen by an unnamed
“medical provider” about these complaints, and
that this medical provider did not make any changes to Mr.
Thompson course of treatment at that time. [Filing No. 52-1
at 4.] The medical records reflect that Dr. Joseph was Mr.
Thompson’s “Provider” for this visit.
[Filing No. 52-2 at 38.]
April 24, 2013, Dr. Mitcheff prescribed Mr. Thompson Vicodin
for two weeks, to be taken twice daily.
to the response to Mr. Thompson’s grievance regarding
the delay in his MRI, the MRI request was approved on April
26, 2013. Mr. Thompson returned to the hospital that day for
an MRI. Two days later, on April 28, 2013, Mr. Thompson was
seen by a nurse regarding complaints that his leg was swollen
and that he wanted more pain medication. Although the
defendants assert that this led Mr. Thompson to be
“again” prescribed Vicodin, the medical records
reflect, as stated above, that Mr. Thompson was prescribed
Vicodin by Dr. Mitcheff two days earlier, and remained on
that two-week prescription.
Thompson’s MRI results were available on April 29,
2013. They showed that he had suffered a complete tear of his
left Achilles tendon, that his ankle was still swollen, and
there was bruising present. Based on the MRI results, Mr.
Thompson was scheduled for surgery; he went to the hospital
for a pre-surgical consultation on May 1, 2013, and his
surgery occurred on May 3, 2013. After surgery, Mr. Thompson
was given hydrocodone for the pain and ...