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Gosha v. Robinson

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

October 15, 2018

TODD GOSHA, Plaintiff,


          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Plaintiff Todd Gosha brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Dr. Mary Chavez and Nurse Regina Robinson based on the allegation that he received inadequate treatment for his hernia and the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Dkt. No. 2. Presently pending before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. Mr. Gosha has not opposed the motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, the motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 26, is granted.

         I. Summary Judgment Legal 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).

         Mr. Gosha failed to respond to the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the deadline for doing so has long passed. The consequence is that Mr. Gosha 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.”). Because Mr. Gosha failed to respond to the defendants' motion, and thus failed to comply with the Court's Local Rules regarding summary judgment, the Court will not consider allegations in Mr. Gosha's complaint as evidence opposing the motion for summary judgment. Although pro se filings are construed liberally, pro se litigants such as Mr. Gosha are not exempt from procedural rules. See Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008) (noting that “pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with procedural rules”); Members v. Paige, 140 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 1998) (stating that procedural rules “apply to uncounseled litigants and must be enforced”). 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).

         II. Factual Background

         The following statement of facts was evaluated pursuant to the standard set forth above. That is, this statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light reasonably most favorable to Mr. Gosha 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).

         A. Mr. Gosha's Deposition Testimony

         Mr. Gosha has been an inmate incarcerated at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (“WVCF”) since November 2015. Dkt. No. 28-3 at 9. Mr. Gosha testified that he sued Dr. Chavez because she refused to order surgery for him even though he repeatedly complained about his hernia, the blood in his urine, and his swollen testicles. Id. at 19-20. He admits that he has not seen Dr. Chavez since April 2017. Id. at 20. Mr. Gosha further testified that he is suing Nurse Robinson because he was told by John Littlejohn, the assistant superintendent, that Nurse Robinson was in a position of authority and because Mr. Gosha had written her about his problems. Id. at 24-26. Mr. Gosha admits that he never saw Nurse Robinson. Id. at 24.

         Mr. Gosha testified that he has been having problems with constipation and blood in his stool since 2016. Id. at 29-30. He further testified that when he first saw Dr. Chavez, she prescribed him a fiber pill that made the constipation better and helped him “flow.” Id. at 32. He testified that at a second visit with Dr. Chavez, she ordered more medication for him, but that he did not take it consistently because he was concerned about the instructions on the medication regarding not to take the pills with other medications. Id. at 34. At a later visit with Dr. Chavez, Dr. Chavez diagnosed him with hernia and suggested that he get surgery. Id. at 34-36. Mr. Gosha testified that he was later provided a hernia belt by Dr. Byrd, but that the hernia belt was uncomfortable. Id. at 38. Mr. Gosha further admits that he has not complained to medical staff of any pain or problem with his hernia since at least September 2017 because he had decided that he would have the hernia addressed after he was released from prison. Id. at 41-42.

         B. The Defendants

         Dr. Chavez is a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Indiana. Dkt. No. 28-1 at 1. During the majority of 2016 and in 2017 until May 10, 2017, Dr. Chavez was employed as a physician at WVCF. Id. On May 10, 2017, she voluntarily left her position at the facility to obtain employment elsewhere. Dr. Chavez is no longer practicing medicine at the WVCF, or in the State of Indiana. Id.

         Nurse Robinson is a nurse licensed to practice in the State of Indiana. Dkt. No. 28-2 at 1. During all times relevant to Mr. Gosha's Complaint, Nurse Robinson was employed as the Director of Nursing at WVCF. Prior to April 1, 2017 she held this position as an employee of Corizon, LLC. From April 1, 2017, up until September 2018, Nurse Robinson held this position as an employee of Wexford of Indiana, LLC. Id. Nurse Robinson recently voluntarily resigned her position as the Director of Nursing at WVCF and currently holds other employment as a nurse in the State of Indiana. Id. As part of Nurse Robinson's role as the Director of Nursing at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, she would often oversee the nursing staff at the facility and respond to letters and grievances that were forwarded to the health care unit by inmates at the facility. Id.

         C. ...

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