United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Deguilio, United States District Judge.
Lane, a prisoner without a lawyer, proceeds on an Eighth
Amendment claim against Dawn Buss for acting with deliberate
indifference to his chronic leg injury by preventing him from
moving to a cell on the first or second floor. Buss filed the
instant motion for summary judgment, arguing that she did not
act with deliberate indifference because, when she consulted
with the medical unit, she was informed that Lane did not
have a medical pass for a low floor cell.
also provided Lane with the summary judgment notice required
by N.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1 and a copy of both Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56-1. ECF 29. The notice
informed Lane of the importance of filing a response. It
advised that, unless he disputed the facts presented by Buss,
the court could accept those facts as true. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(e). It further advised that a lack of response
could result in the dismissal of his case. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). Nevertheless, Lane did not file a response.
to the complaint (ECF 1), Lane has a chronic leg injury that
prevents him from climbing stairs. As a result, the medical
staff has provided him with a medical pass for a low floor
cell assignment. In October 2017, while Lane was in
segregation, Assistant Warden Payne moved the segregation
unit to the fourth and fifth floors. On November 15, 2017,
Lane wrote to Warden Neal to request a low floor cell. Warden
Neal consulted with Dawn Buss, a unit team manager who
falsely informed Warden Neal that Lane did not have a medical
pass. Lane informed Buss of this error, but she refused to
move him to a different cell. On November 17, 2017, Lane
informed Warden Neal of this error, and Warden Neal asked
Lane to provide a copy of the medical pass.
support of the motion for summary judgment, Dawn Buss
submitted declarations and a transcript of Lane's
deposition. At deposition, Lane testified that he spoke with
Buss on a single occasion in October 2017:
Defense Counsel: Have you ever spoken
directly with Dawn Buss?
Lane: Uh-huh. Yes. I mean, excuse me. Yes.
Defense Counsel: And when was that?
Lane: I know she came on the range one day
and I asked her, I asked her, I said, “Ms. Buss, you
know I supposed to be on [the first or second floor].”
She said, “Well, I ain't got nothing to do with
that. I already know what you're going to say. [The
disciplinary unit is on the fourth and fifth floors] now so I
don't want to hear it.”
I really got upset about the way she brushed me off, but I
just went ahead and I said okay. So I just filed a grievance
then. I didn't say nothing else to her. So when I wrote
to Ron Neal about it, he told me to send him some paperwork
showing him that he has a [low floor pass], and he will
ECF 27-1 at 20, 30. On December 15, 2017, Lane was reassigned
to a cell on the first floor. Id. at 26.
sworn declaration (ECF 27-3), Buss attests that she is a unit
team manager at the Indiana State Prison. Medical staff may
issue medical passes to inmates for a cell assignment on the
first or second floors. Inmates are given a paper copy of
medical passes to show correctional staff. On October 20,
2017, Buss moved inmates in the disciplinary segregation unit
to the fourth and fifth floors of D Cell House. This included
moving Lane, who was in disciplinary segregation at that
time, from the fifth floor to the fourth floor. Lane told
Buss that he had a medical pass but did not show it to her
upon request. Buss asked medical staff about whether Lane had
a medical pass, and they responded that he did not.
another sworn declaration (ECF 27-2), Christine Rossi attests
that she is a nurse at the Indiana State Prison and has
reviewed Lane's medical records. Medical staff has issued
Lane medical passes for a cell assignment on the first or
second floor, and he currently has one that expires on July
29, 2019. Occasionally, these medical passes are allowed to
expire with some delay ...