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Gibson v. Gadberry

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

October 20, 2016

LIONEL GIBSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MARLA GADBERRY, LOLIT JOSEPH, JOHN B. CLARKSON, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING DEFENDANTS' AMENDED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge.

         Plaintiff Lionel Gibson filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a variety of defendants alleging that they are liable to him because they provided him with inadequate medical treatment. There are three defendants remaining in this action: Marla Gadberry, Lolit Joseph, M.D. and John Clarkson, M.D. Mr. Gibson alleges that these defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights through their deliberate indifference to his scalp condition. There is also a state law tort claim against Ms. Gadberry. All other claims and defendants have been dismissed.[1]The defendants seek resolution of the remaining claims through summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, Ms. Gadberry is entitled to judgment in her favor on all claims while the claims against Dr. Joseph and Dr. Clarkson cannot be resolved through summary judgment. Accordingly, the amended motion for summary judgment [dkt. 127] is granted in part and denied in part.

         I.

         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. 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).

         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, 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).

         II.

         Application of Local Rules

         As a preliminary matter, the defendants argue in their reply brief that the plaintiff's response violates the Local Rules of this Court. While it is “well established that pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with procedural rules, ” Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008), whether the Court holds pro se litigants to the consequences of violating the Court's Local Rules is a matter of discretion. Gray v. Hardy, 826 F.3d 1000, 1004-05 (7th Cir. 2016) (holding that district courts are not required to hold pro se litigants to the potential consequences of their failure to comply with the Local Rules and can instead take “a more flexible approach, ” including by ignoring the deficiencies in their filings and considering the evidence they submit). In this case, the Court chooses to take the more flexible approach, and overlooks the page limit violation and other errors in formatting.

         III.

         Eighth Amendment

         Mr. Gibson asserts Eighth Amendment medical care claims against the defendants. At all times relevant to Mr. Gibson's claims, he was a convicted offender. Accordingly, his treatment and the conditions of his confinement are evaluated under standards established by the Eighth Amendment's proscription against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993) (“It is undisputed that the treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment.”).

         To prevail on an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference medical claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate two elements: (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) the defendant knew about the plaintiff's condition and the substantial risk of harm it posed, but disregarded that risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994); Pittman ex rel. Hamilton v. County of Madison, Ill., 746 F.3d 766, 775 (7th Cir. 2014).

         “[C]onduct is ‘deliberately indifferent' when the official has acted in an intentional or criminally reckless manner.” Board v. Freeman, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005). The Seventh ...


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