United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT HOWE'S MOTION FOR
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE.
Robert Spears has been confined within the Indiana Department
of Correction (IDOC) since 2016. This action concerns the
level of medical care Mr. Spears received while he was
incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility (Pendleton).
Mr. Spears alleges that doctors he met with prior to his
transfer to Pendleton, but while still incarcerated within
IDOC, recommended that Mr. Spears receive an injection in his
fifth lumbar nerve to relieve pain he had in his back.
Dr. Charles Howe is a licensed physician who specializes in
anesthesiology and pain management. Dr. Howe treated Mr.
Spears at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital while Mr.
Spears was held at Pendleton. Mr. Spears's complaint
asserts a claim against Dr. Howe under the Eighth
civil rights action is before the Court for resolution of Dr.
Howe's motion for summary judgment, dkt. 78. For the
reasons discussed below, the motion is
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate where “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 genuine issue of material fact exists
if there is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror
could return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party.
Brown v. Advocate S. Suburban Hosp., 700 F.3d 1101,
1104 (7th Cir. 2012).
a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely
disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing
to particular parts of the record, including depositions,
documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party
can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute
or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in
opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in
the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and
potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
court need only consider disputed facts that are material to
the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Williams
v. Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). In
other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute,
summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not
outcome-determinative. Montgomery v. American Airlines
Inc., 626 F.3d 382, 389 (7th Cir. 2010). Fact disputes
that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be
considered. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
court views the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. Skiba v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co.,
884 F.3d 708, 717 (7th Cir. 2018). It cannot weigh evidence
or make credibility determinations on summary judgment
because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. Miller
v. Gonzalez, 761 F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The
court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has
repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not
required to “scour the record” for evidence that
is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before
them. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870
F.3d 562, 569, 572 (7th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation
omitted). “Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine
issue for trial is resolved against the moving party.”
Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th
Spears is currently incarcerated at Pendleton. Dkt. 1 at 1.
Prior to arriving at Pendleton, Mr. Spears was incarcerated
at Putnamville Correctional Facility (Putnamville). Dkt. 1 at
2. In April 2017, while at Putnamville, Dr. William
Spanenberg recommended that Mr. Spears undergo a selective
nerve root injection (SNRI) on his second and fifth lumbar
nerve to address Mr. Spears's chronic back pain. Dkt.
86-1 at 9-11.
months later, in June 2017, while still at Putnamville, Mr.
Spears received medical care from Dr. Madsen regarding his
back pain. Id.; dkt. 86-1 at 3. Dr. Madsen referred
Mr. Spears to Dr. Ballestaros for an SNRI. Dkt. 86-1 at 3;
see also dkt. 1 at 2. Dr. Madsen opined that the
pain may be coming from Mr. Spears's fourth or fifth
lumbar nerve or his first sacral nerve. Dkt. 86-1 at 3;
see also dkt. 1 at 2.
Mr. Spears was waiting for this procedure to occur, he was
transferred to Pendleton. Dkt. 1 at 2. On November 1, 2017,
Mr. Spears had a medical appointment with Dr. Charles Howe at
St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital. Dkt. 1 at 2; dkt.
80-1 at ¶3. Dr. Howe was to perform an SNRI to treat Mr.
Spears's back pain. Dkt. 80-1 at ¶3. Although Mr.
Spears thought the procedure should target the fifth lumbar
nerve, dkt. 1 at 2, Dr. Howe concluded that Mr. Spears's
pain likely originated from the fourth lumbar nerve. Dkt.
80-1 at ¶¶4-5. Dr. Howe performed the SNRI on the
fourth lumbar nerve in Mr. Spears's back. Dkt. 1 at 2;
dkt. 80-1 at ¶6.
parties disagree as to the result of the SNRI. Mr. Spears
claims that he told Dr. Howe that he was still in pain after
the procedure and that Dr. Howe stated it would take three to
seven days for the injection to take effect. Dkt. 1 at 2. Dr.
Howe claims that Mr. Spears “reported complete pain
relief immediately following the procedure.” Dkt. 80-1
at ¶6; see also ...