United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT WHEELER AND MURPHY'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE United States District Court
Lawrence Abner, Jr., is a former inmate of the Jackson County
Jail. He alleges that defendants Dr. Ronald Everson, Nurse
Leann Wheeler and Jail Commander Charles Murphy are liable to
him for violating his constitutional rights and state tort
law. Specifically, Mr. Abner alleges that the defendants
denied him medication prescribed by Dr. Cook while
incarcerated at the Jackson County Jail. Defendants Nurse
Wheeler and Jail Commander Murphy (hereinafter
"defendants") seek resolution of the remaining
claims through summary judgment. For the reasons explained
below, the motion for summary judgment, dkt. , is
Standard of Review
judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to a 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). The Court views the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable
inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor. Ault
v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011).
"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).
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. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[T]he burden on
the moving party may be discharged by 'showing'-that
is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an
absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case." Id. at 325.
case, the defendants have met that burden through their
unopposed motion for summary judgment. Smith v.
Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[F]ailure
to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules
results in an admission."). By not responding to the
motion for summary judgment, Mr. Abner has conceded to the
defendants' version of the facts. Brasic v. Heinemann
's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This is
the result of Local Rule 56-1, of which Mr. Abner was
notified. See dkt. 29. This does not alter the standard for
assessing a Rule 56 motion, but does "reduc[e] the
pool" from which the facts and inferences relative to
such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129
F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).
Abner was booked into the Jackson County Jail on April 2,
2016 on several counts of theft and possession of a syringe.
While at the Jail, Mr. Abner was treated by Dr. Ronald
Everson, who is employed by Advanced Correctional Health,
with which the Jackson County Jail contracts to provide
medical services to the inmates. Mr. Abner also occasionally
sees a medical doctor in Austin, Indiana. He was transferred
to and from his appointments by employees of the Jackson
County Jail. In his complaint, Mr. Abner states that he was
prescribed medication "by Dr. Cook[e] from Austin,
Indiana, " which was then denied by employees of the
Jail. Pursuant to Dr. Everson's orders, Defendants Murphy
and Wheeler withheld this medication from Mr. Abner because
it was a narcotic, which are generally not given to inmates.
Murphy, as the jail commander, is not qualified to make
medical decisions and must follow the orders of the treating
Wheeler is not qualified to prescribe medication. Consistent
with the division of labor inside the Jackson County Jail,
Nurse Wheeler must follow the orders of Dr. Everson.
Abner contends that Jackson County Jail employees'
refusal to distribute certain medication is "deliberate
indifference" and accuses them of "medical
neglect." The defendants argue that they are entitled to
judgment as a matter of law because they acted appropriately
by following the orders of Dr. Everson in regards to what
medication Mr. Abner should receive.
constitution imposes a duty on prison officials to provide
medical care to inmates. See Vance v. Peters, 97
F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996), cert, denied, 520
U.S. 1230 (1997). Because Mr. Abner was a pretrial detainee,
it is the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
rather than the Eighth Amendment's proscription against
cruel and unusual punishment which is the source of this
right. Estate of Miller, ex rel. Bertram v. Tobiasz,
680 F.3d 984, 989 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing Bell v.
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535-37 (1979)). However, courts
still look to Eighth Amendment case law in addressing the
claims of pretrial detainees, given that the protections of
the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause are at
least as broad as those that the Eighth Amendment affords to
convicted prisoners. Rice ex rel. Rice v. Correctional
Medical Services, 675 F.3d 650, 664 (7th Cir.
based on deficient medical care must demonstrate two
requirements: 1) an objectively serious medical condition,
and 2) an official's deliberate indifference to that
condition. Farmer v. Brennan,511 U.S. 825, 114