United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
ROBERT P. HUDSON, Plaintiff,
KEVIN KREMBS and AMDREW LIAW, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DEGUILIO JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Robert Hudson, a former inmate at the Westville Correctional
Facility in Westville, Indiana, filed his complaint pro
se alleging that prison staff denied him proper medical
treatment after part of the facility's shower ceiling
fell on him. Hudson originally brought claims against the
prison warden, a prison nurse, and two doctors who treated
him in the aftermath of his accident: Dr. Kevin Krembs and
Dr. Andrew Liaw.
Court screened the complaint, dismissed the warden and the
nurse, and granted Hudson leave to proceed with four distinct
claims against Dr. Krembs and Dr. Liaw, related to treatment
he received on four separate dates. [DE 6] Pursuant to the
parties' stipulation, the Court dismissed the claim
against Dr. Liaw pertaining to the events alleged on January
8, 2013, with prejudice. [DE 64] That left Hudson with his
two claims against Dr. Krembs, corresponding to the events on
September 25, 2012, and September 27, 2012, and his one claim
against Dr. Liaw, corresponding to the events on September
13, 2013. The doctors have moved for summary judgment [DE 62]
and Hudson, now represented by counsel, responded in
opposition. [DE 67] For the reasons stated herein, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion.
was an inmate at the Westville Correctional Facility from May
2012 until October 2013. Prior to arriving at Westville, he
served time at the Reception Diagnostic Center. There,
physical and psychological evaluations reported chronic back
pain related to a car accident and an unspecified form of
schizophrenia. Staff at the RDC performed x-rays on his
cervical and dorsal spine regions, each with normal results.
23, 2012, Hudson transferred to Westville, where Dr. Krembs
served as the Medical Director and as a treating physician,
and where Dr. Liaw also served as a treating physician. On
September 20, 2012, ceiling tiles in the prison shower fell
on Hudson, injuring him and requiring that he be sent to St.
Anthony Hospital. Emergency room staff and doctors evaluated
and treated Hudson, ordered CT scans, and diagnosed him with
a lower back strain and a neck muscle strain. Hudson returned
to Westville that same day, where Dr. Liaw evaluated him,
prescribed Naproxen for his pain, and ordered a 3-day lay-in
pass and a 7-day bottom bunk pass.
midday on September 25, 2012, Hudson visited Dr. Krembs at
the prison, complaining of left shoulder and lower back pain.
Dr. Krembs reviewed the hospital records and CT scan results,
reviewed Hudson's current Naproxen prescription,
performed an independent evaluation, and concluded that
Hudson did not require any new medication for his pain. Later
that night, Dr. Krembs received a phone call from one of the
prison's nurses, who informed him that Hudson's pain
was not controlled. In response, Dr. Krembs ordered two
injections of pain medication and extended Hudson's
lay-in and bottom bunk passes.
the course of the next year, Hudson complained about and was
treated for problems with his back in December 2012 and
January 2013, and made several requests for more Naproxen in
February 2013. The record does not indicate that Hudson had
any medical problems over a six-month period from February
2013 until August 2013, when he started having pain in his
back and hip.
Hutchinson evaluated and treated Hudson on September 13,
2013, in response to his complaint of back pain and swollen
knees made about one week prior. The nurse contacted Dr. Liaw
for treatment and orders, and Dr. Liaw prescribed one
injection of pain medication and a 5-day lay-in pass. Less
than one month later, Hudson transferred to Miami
Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, Indiana.
judgment is proper when 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 identified by the
substantive law as affecting the outcome of the suit.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A “genuine issue” exists with respect to
any material fact when “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Id. Where a factual record taken as a
whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial, and
summary judgment should be granted. Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986) (citing Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Servs. Co.,
391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)). In determining whether a genuine
issue of material fact exists, this Court must construe all
facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and
draw all reasonable and justifiable inferences in that
party's favor. Jackson v. Kotter, 541 F.3d 688,
697 (7th Cir. 2008); King v. Preferred Tech. Grp.,
166 F.3d 887, 890 (7th Cir. 1999).
asserts that Dr. Krembs and Dr. Liaw violated the Eight
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment through their deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. To survive summary judgment on this
claim, there must be evidence from which a reasonable juror
could conclude that the doctors “knew about but
consciously disregarded a serious medical condition.”
Fitzgerald v. Greer, 324 F. App'x 510, 514 (7th
Cir. 2009). A constitutional claim based on inadequate
medical care contains two elements: “(1) the prisoner
suffered an objectively serious harm that presented a
substantial risk to his safety, and (2) the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to that risk.” Minix v.
Canarecci, 957 F.3d 824, 831 (7th Cir. 2010);
Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 728 (7th Cir. 2016)
indifference requires a dual showing that the defendants (1)
had subjective knowledge of a risk to the inmate's
health, and (2) intentionally disregarded that risk.
Thomas v. Cook Cty. Sheriff's Dep't, 604
F.3d 293 (7th Cir. 2010); Minix, 597 F.3d at 831
“For a medical professional to be liable for deliberate
indifference to an inmate's medical needs, he must make a
decision that represents such a substantial departure from
accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards, as to
demonstrate that the person responsible ...