United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING FINAL
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Melvin Pfeifer, who at all relevant times was incarcerated at
Correctional Industrial Facility (“CIF”), brought
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
defendants Dr. Michael Person, Health Staff Administrator
Chris Hufford, and Corizon Medical (“Corizon”),
alleging that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth
Amendment rights. Mr. Pfeifer further alleges that Dr. Person
is liable for medical malpractice under Indiana Law.
defendants now move for summary judgment on the merits of Mr.
Pfeifer's claims. Mr. Pfeifer has not responded to the
defendants' motion, and the time to do so has passed,
leaving the defendants' motion unopposed. For the reasons
explained, the defendants' unopposed motion for summary
judgment, Dkt. No. 26, is granted.
noted above, Mr. Pfeifer failed to respond to the
defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the deadline
for doing so has passed. The consequence is that Mr. Pfeifer
has conceded the defendants' version of the events.
See 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.”);
see S.D. Ind. Local Rule 56-1 (“A party
opposing a summary judgment motion must . . . file and serve
a response brief and any evidence . . . that the party relies
on to oppose the motion. The response must . . . identif[y]
the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that
the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding
summary judgment.”). This does not alter the standard
for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but it 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).
the following facts, unopposed by Mr. Pfeifer and supported
by admissible evidence, are accepted as true. Although the
defendants present substantial evidence, the Court sets forth
only the facts necessary to resolve Mr. Pfeifer's claims
given the unopposed nature of the defendants' motion.
December of 2012, Mr. Pfeifer complained of having irregular
heartbeats and shortness of breath. An EKG was performed and
the results were normal with rare premature ventricular
contractions (“PVCs”). Dkt. No. 28-1. PVCs are
common and their cause can be difficult to identify.
Id. Patients who experience PVCs often require no
treatment. Id. PVCs can lead to dangerous heart
rhythms rarely when accompanied by heart disease, but Mr.
Pfeifer suffered from no underlying heart disease.
2013, Mr. Pfeifer had another EKG which was again normal with
occasional PVCs. Id. In 2014, complaining of chest
pain, he was prescribed a beta blocker. Id. In 2015,
an EKG again showed PVCs. The treating physician discussed
lifestyle changes with Mr. Pfeifer and offered a referral to
Behavioral Health, but Mr. Pfeifer declined. Id.
Dr. Person treated Mr. Pfeifer for the first time on August
21, 2015. Mr. Pfeifer reported no chest pain or palpitations
and reported that he was not taking any medications. His
cardiac exam was normal. Dr. Person recommended lifestyle
changes to treat his borderline hypertension. In November
2015, Mr. Pfeifer refused lab work ordered by Dr. Person. In
January 2016, he again refused lab work and medication for
hypertension. In March 2016, he again refused lab work
ordered by Dr. Person. Id.
Pfeifer alleges that he went into “cardiac
arrest” on April 7, 2016, but he was not seen by any
medical provider on that date. He saw a nurse the following
day and complained of chest pain, but refused lab work and
medication. A week later, an EKG showed a normal heart rhythm
with occasional PVCs. He was again prescribed a beta blocker.
Two days later, Mr. Pfeifer complained that the medication
was not helping. A nurse found that his heart rate was
Person consulted with a cardiologist and ultimately ordered a
holter monitor to record Mr. Pfeifer's heartbeat for
seven days. The monitor revealed that Mr. Pfeifer had normal
heart rhythms with occasional PVCs. No. other concerns were
identified. On July 7, 2016, Mr. Pfeifer had a telehealth
appointment with Dr. Ross, the cardiologist with whom Dr.
Person had consulted. Dr. Ross recommended a treadmill stress
test which Dr. Person ordered. Before the stress test, Dr.
Person saw Mr. Pfeifer and noted that he had missed 13 of his
last 15 doses of medication. He addressed this issue with Mr.
Pfeifer but Mr. Pfeifer refused to follow Dr. Person's
Pfeifer completed a stress test at St. Vincent Regional
Stress Lab on July 29, 2016. The results showed PVCs and were
otherwise normal. Over the next few months, Mr. Pfeifer had
telehealth appointments with Dr. Ross and his medication and
dosage were adjusted. Id.
Person continued to treat Mr. Pfeifer for high blood
pressure. In the fall of 2016, Mr. Pfeifer complained of
bumps on his head and hair loss which he attributed to his
heart medication. Dr. Person prescribed antibiotics for the
bumps and injections for the hair loss. A few months later,
Dr. Person prescribed him medicated shampoo and ordered lab
work. In early 2017, Dr. Person performed a cardiac exam on
Mr. Pfeifer, finding only ...