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Maul-Bey v. Brubaker

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

March 21, 2017

ENGAI MAUL-BEY, Plaintiff,
JANE BRUBAKER, et al., Defendants.



         Having considered the pleadings, the defendants' motion for summary judgment and the materials associated with such motion, the Court finds that the motion for summary judgment must be granted.

         I. Parties and Claim

         The plaintiff is Engai Maul-Bey, an Indiana prisoner. The defendants are Corizon Health Services, Barbara (mistakenly designated as “Jane”) Brubaker, N.P., Dr. Ross, R. Moore, Vickie Poore, William Wolfe, M.D., Dr. Krembs, Dr. Dannewitz, Dr. Jones, Jane Elliott, and Dr. M. Person. Corizon Health Services contracts with the Indiana Department of Correction to provide medical services to Indiana inmates. The unopposed motion to dismiss defendant Rose Vaisvilas, who passed away while this action was pending, was granted.

         This suit was removed to federal court from an Indiana state court. The operative pleading setting forth Maul-Bey's claim is the amended complaint filed on June 12, 2014. Maul-Bey alleges that over a period of years, and while he was incarcerated in various Indiana prisons, he was denied constitutionally adequate medical care. The claim derived from these allegations is that he was subject to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment for which he originally sought both injunctive relief and damages. The claim for injunctive relief was dismissed as moot when Maul-Bey was no longer under the medical care or management of any of the defendants. This leaves for resolution Maul-Bey's claim for monetary damages, regarding which defendants seek summary judgment. Although defendants Dr. Dannewitz, Dr. Jones, Jane Elliott, and Dr. M. Person have not appeared in this action, each is identified as a medical provider who had contact with Maul-Bey during his incarceration. Maul-Bey has had ample opportunity to outline the medical care he received. The motion for summary judgment is therefore deemed to extend to these defendants as well. See Malak v. Associated Physicians, Inc., 784 F.2d 277, 280 (7th Cir. 1986) ("Where one defendant files a motion for summary judgment which the court grants, the district court may sua sponte enter summary judgment in favor of additional non-moving defendants if the motion raised by the first defendant is equally effective in barring the claim against the other defendants and the plaintiff had an adequate opportunity to argue in opposition to the motion.").

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and 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). A dispute over a “material fact” is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. The primary purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 932 (7th Cir. 2001). “As stated by the Supreme Court, summary judgment is not a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather is an integral part of the federal rules as a whole, which are designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.” Harney v. Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, 526 F.3d 1099, 1103 (7th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted).

         “[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., 477 U.S. at 323. A factual issue is material only if resolving it might change the outcome of the case under the governing law. Clifton v. Schafer, 969 F.2d 278, 281 (7th Cir. 1992). A factual issue is genuine only if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party on the evidence presented. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court “may not ‘assess the credibility of witnesses, choose between competing reasonable inferences, or balance the relative weight of conflicting evidence.'” Bassett v. I.C. Sys., Inc., 715 F.Supp.2d 803, 808 (N.D.Ill. 2010) (quoting Stokes v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chicago, 599 F.3d 617, 619 (7th Cir. 2010)). Instead, it must view all the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and resolve all factual disputes in favor of that party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         “A plaintiff may not defeat the defendant's properly supported motion for summary judgment without offering any significant probative evidence tending to support the complaint.” Tri-Gen Inc. v. Int'l Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO, 433 F.3d 1024, 1038 (7th Cir. 2006). The key inquiry is whether admissible evidence exists to support a plaintiff's claims, not the weight or credibility of that evidence, both of which are assessments reserved to the trier of fact. See Schacht v. Wis. Dep't of Corrections, 175 F.3d 497, 504 (7th Cir. 1999). "The nonmovant will successfully oppose summary judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion." Vukadinovich v. Bd. of Sch. Trs., 278 F.3d 693, 699 (7th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation and citation omitted); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B) (both the party "asserting that a fact cannot be," and a party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed, must support their assertions by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record," or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact."). In this case, Maul-Bey has opposed the motion for summary judgment, but has proffered no additional evidentiary materials. See Alexander v. Caraustar Indus., Inc., 930 F.Supp.2d 947, 957 (N.D.Ill. 2013) (stating that at summary judgment, “[f]ailure to respond to an opposing party's argument is not necessarily a waiver, but it is a risky tactic, and sometimes fatal”).

         “The applicable substantive law will dictate which facts are material.” National Soffit & Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). A moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the non-moving party “has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         III. Undisputed Facts

         The following facts are either undisputed or presented in the light most favorable to Maul-Bey as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         This saga dates back to March 8, 2009, when custodial staff persons at Wabash Valley reported to nursing staff persons that Maul-Bey had been observed placing a cell phone into his rectum. However, nursing staff notes indicate that Maul-Bey's bowel sounds were normal, that Maul-Bey had no complaints of abdominal pain and had not incurred any rectal lacerations. A week later, Maul-Bey complained of anal itching. Nursing notes related to this follow-up examination reflect that there were no lesions, bleeding or skin tears to the area. Dr. Rogan examined Maul-Bey the next day and prescribed hydrocortisone ointment to treat the anal itching. Maul-Bey was monitored during this time because he was on a hunger strike. During the ensuing months, Maul-Bey was treated for a rash on his right foot, was evaluated for glasses, for shoulder pain and for an itchy anus. On July 14, 2009, Dr. Rogan again examined Maul-Bey, noting that he had an external nonthrombosed hemorrhoid. Anusol was prescribed to relieve the hemorrhoid. Dr. Rogan prescribed Anusol and other medications following an examination a month later, on August 18, 2009, and authorized a refill of these medications on September 1, 2009. In documents filed with the complaint, Maul-Bey attributes the cause of his rectal and other ailments as the March 2009 violent search of his rectum to locate the contraband as well as the splashing of toilet water into his rectum. The persons performing that search have not been named as defendants in this case.

         Maul-Bey was transferred to the Westville Correctional Facility on September 17, 2009, where he was placed in the prison's Chronic Care Clinic due to a major depressive disorder and chronic joint pain at multiple sites on his body. Upon his arrival at Westville, he promptly submitted a request for healthcare. On September 23, 2009, nursing staff examined him and recommended that he take stool softeners and increase fluid intake to treat his hemorrhoids and take Ibuprofen as directed to reduce his shoulder and knee pain. He was examined by Dr. Ross on September 30, 2009, and by nursing staff relative to other ailments on October 25, 2009.

         Maul-Bey submitted another request for healthcare on November 3, 2009. On November 18, 2009, Dr. Ross examined him for complaints of urinary hesitancy. His vital signs were determined to be normal and his prostate, though not tender, was enlarged and boggy, but without any masses. Dr. Ross diagnosed Maul-Bey with Benign Localized Hyperplasia of the Prostate and prescribed Cardura to assist him in urinating. She also ordered a comprehensive metabolic panel.

         Medical staff examined Maul-Bey again on November 25, 2009, and determined that his vital signs were stable. Further healthcare was provided frequently during the ensuing months. The Cardura prescription was replaced with Hytrin. Dr. Ross examined Maul-Bey on April 26, 2010, found his vital signs again to be normal, continued the current prescription for Ibuprofin and prescribed Triamcinolone and an antifungal ointment. Testing of a urine sample revealed trace amounts of blood, protein, nitrates, and white blood cells. Dr. Ross prescribed Bactrim DS, a broad spectrum antibiotic, on August 11, 2010. Also in August 2010, and again the following month, Maul-Bey was seen for lower back pain. X-rays of his spine were taken and found to be normal.

         On November 29, 2010, nursing staff evaluated Maul-Bey for complaints of rectal bleeding, pain, and discomfort. The nurse noted small open areas from his rectum to scrotum, cleaned the area and applied ointment, and obtained an order from Barbara Brubaker, N.P. for Septra D, an antibiotic.

         Dr. Krembs submitted the proper paperwork to obtain the non-formulary Triamcinolone cream. N.P. Brubaker prescribed the Triamcinolone Acetonide cream on December 28, 2010.

         Dr. Ross examined Maul-Bey in the Chronic Care Clinic on January 21, 2011 and again on February 11, 2011. On March 13, 2011, Dr. Ross examined Maul-Bey for complaints of shortness of breath, cough, and an upset stomach. Antibiotics were prescribed.

         On April 26, 2011, N.P. Brubaker examined Maul-Bey in the Chronic Care Clinic. He informed her that he believed he had prostatitis and reported spasms in his penis, low back pain, and dysuria, or painful urination. He requested a biopsy of the head of his penis. His vital signs were normal. N.P. Brubaker prescribed Cipro, an antibiotic, for possible prostatitis and ordered (i) a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, (ii) stool occult blood to check for hidden blood in his stool, (iii) a thyroid panel, and (iv) a urinalysis. Prostatitis is a swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland and can result from a variety of causes. It is not harmful in and of itself but can cause other difficulties like impeded or painful urination. Based on the recommendation of the Regional Medical Director, the PSA test was delayed until the prostatitis resolved, to avoid a skewing of the PSA results.

         Dr. Ross left his medical post at Westville in mid-year 2011 and had no further involvement with Maul-Bey's medical care. Dr. Dannewitz and Nurse Elliott had also provided medical care to Maul-Bey at Westville. In May 2011, Maul-Bey submitted healthcare requests relating to his medications. On June 1, 2011, Dr. Krembs examined Maul-Bey in the Chronic Care Clinic, noting that his prostate was enlarged and tender. Dr. Krembs suspected chronic prostatitis based on Maul-Bey's medical history and prescribed a 12-week course of Amoxil, an antibiotic. Two weeks, thereafter, on June 16, 2011, Nurse Moore examined Maul-Bey for abdominal pain and a burning sensation during urination. Maul-Bey reported no relief from the antibiotics he had been given ...

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