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Shannon v. Trivett

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

September 6, 2016

MARK A. SHANNON, Plaintiff,
REBECCA TRIVETT, et al., Defendants.


          Hon. William T. Lawrence, United States District Court Judge.

         For the reasons explained in this Entry, the defendants' motion for summary judgment [dkt. 31] is granted and the plaintiff's motions in opposition to defendants' summary judgment [dkt. 39] and [dkt. 42] are denied.

         I. Background

         The plaintiff in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action is Mark Shannon (“Mr. Shannon”), an inmate who at all relevant times was confined at the Plainfield Correctional Facility (“Plainfield”). The defendants are Rebecca Trivett, LPN (“Nurse Trivett”), Toni Jordan, LPN (“Nurse Jordan”), and Dr. Murat Polar (“Dr. Polar”). In his amended complaint, Mr. Shannon alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         The defendants seek resolution of the plaintiff's claims through summary judgment. The plaintiff has responded to the defendants' motion for summary judgment and the defendants have replied.

         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. Shannon, the non-movant, the following facts are undisputed for purposes of the motion for summary judgment:

         On July 11, 2014, Mr. Shannon was working in the prison laundry. While loading laundry, the outer door of a washing machine slammed down on his hand. Custody staff sent a radio transmission indicating that there was a medical emergency in Pen Laundry. Nurse Trivett was in the area so she met him at the entrance of Pen Laundry. Mr. Shannon was experiencing a great amount of pain. Nurse Trivett and Mr. Shannon went to the infirmary. Nurse Trivett's examination revealed that his right hand was red and swollen. He had some range of motion; his pulses were normal; there was no bleeding or broken skin; and no sign of fracture. Nurse Trivett stated in her notes that Mr. Shannon's right thumb was popping in and out of place. She did not rule out a possible fracture, dislocation, or other injury to the hand. Nurse Trivett entered an order that Mr. Shannon be referred to a medical provider as soon as possible instead of through routine scheduling because he needed an x-ray of his right hand. Nurse Trivett assessed the injury, then prescribed ice compresses and pain medication. She also entered an order restricting his activities for five days. She immobilized his right hand by wrapping it with an ace bandage. Immobilizing the hand with the bandage inhibited motion of the hand, thus minimizing pain and discomfort along with preventing aggravation of the injury, while compensating for swelling.

         As a licensed practical nurse, Nurse Trivett had training and experience in evaluating sprains, strains and fractures. Her duties at Plainfield included evaluating and recommending treatment or further assessment of sprains, strains and fractures. In situations where Nurse Trivett evaluates a patient and determines that a physician or outside care is indicated, she recommends that a physician be called or that the inmate be transported to a hospital. There is no x-ray technician on site at Plainfield. A patient must be scheduled for an off-site radiology visit when an x-ray is recommended.

         Mr. Shannon was seen again in the facility clinic on July 16, 2014, by medical provider Nurse Practitioner Loice Mukona (“Nurse Mukona”). Dkt. 32-2, pp. 5-10. An x-ray was ordered at that time and Nurse Mukona ordered that Mr. Shannon's hand continue to be kept in an ace- wrap bandage. Id. at p. 7. Nurse Mukona noted that Mr. Shannon's right hand was swollen and bruised. She noted that there was no open wound from his injury, but that he reported being unable to bend his right thumb.

         Mr. Shannon alleges that he also saw “Nurse Practitioner Dana Wilson” in the infirmary on or before July 16, 2014, and she made and applied a splint to his hand and re-wrapped it with an elastic ace bandage. The only July 2014 medical record referencing a medical provider named NP Dayna L. Wilson is dated July 31, 2014. Dkt. 32-2, p. 16. That Chart Update states that Mr. Shannon refused CC labs, and has no mention of a splint. Id.

         Daniel Altman, M.D., outside radiologist, reported that an anteroposterior (front to back) and a lateral view x-ray were taken of Mr. Shannon's right hand on July 18, 2014. The findings in the radiology report were as follows: “There is no acute fracture or dislocation. Joint spaces appear normal. Soft tissues are unremarkable. No erosions. There is a chronic healed fracture of the 5th digit metacarpal.” Dr. Altman's impression was: “No acute osseous abnormality or significant degenerative change.” Dkt. 32-2, p. 11.

         On July 31, 2014, Mr. Shannon was seen by Nurse Mukona for a follow-up on the x-ray results. Although the July 18 x-ray results did not reflect a fracture or dislocation of the thumb, Mr. Shannon's thumb was still swollen and he was unable to bend the thumb. Nurse Mukona consulted with Dr. Polar who suggested that Mr. Shannon might have a tendon injury and that further follow up was clinically indicated. Nurse Mukona continued treatment of Mr. Shannon's injury by immobilizing his right hand with an ace bandage and splint. She also requested an outside orthopedic consultation per Dr. Polar's recommendation. Dkt. 32-2, pp. 12-14. On August 6, 2014, Nurse Mukona saw Mr. Shannon for a chronic care visit related to other conditions. At that appointment, Mr. Shannon reported continued pain in his right hand. A right wrist brace was given to him to use while he was waiting for his orthopedic visit. Dkt. 32-2, p. 17, 20.

         On August 13, 2014, another set of x-rays of Mr. Shannon's right hand was taken in conjunction with his scheduled outside orthopedist appointment. The findings in the August 13, 2014, radiology report entered by radiologist, Daniel Altman, M.D., were as follows: “There is a mildly displaced fracture at the ulnar base of the first digit metacarpal with extension into the carpometacarpal [CMC] joint. The smaller triangular fragment is displaced proximally by approximately 1mm. There is an old healed fracture of the ...

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