United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Parish, a prisoner without a lawyer, proceeds on an Eighth
Amendment claim against Nurse Lee Ann Ivers for acting with
deliberate indifference to a pectoral muscle tear by denying
a request for an ultrasound. Nurse Ivers filed this motion
for summary judgment, arguing that she wasn't personally
involved with Mr. Parish's medical care and didn't
deny him an ultrasound.
Ivers also provided Mr. Parish 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 Mr. Parish of the importance of
filing a response. It advised that, unless he disputed the
facts presented by Nurse Ivers, the court could accept those
facts as true. It further advised that a lack of response
could result in the dismissal of his case. Mr. Parish
didn't file a response.
amended complaint (ECF 7), Mr. Parish alleges that, on
October 14, 2016, he tore a chest muscle by falling from his
bunk at the New Castle Correctional Facility. To assess the
injury, Nurse Practitioner Brubaker submitted a request for
an ultrasound, but Nurse Ivers denied it. Mr. Parish learned
that the request was denied after he transferred to the Miami
sworn declaration (ECF 22-2), Nurse Ivers attests that she is
a registered nurse who worked for Corizon, LLC, as the
Regional Director of Nursing in Indiana until March 31, 2017.
Her position with Corizon didn't require her to review
requests for diagnostic tests, outside medical treatment, or
other medical treatment. Further, as a registered nurse, she
wasn't qualified to make these types of treatment
decision but instead deferred to physicians, physician
assistants, and nurse practitioners. She never personally
provided medical treatment to Mr. Parish.
Ivers also submitted medical records that reveal that, on
November 3, 2016, Mr. Parish told Nurse Practitioner Brubaker
that he suffered chest pain after falling from his bunk. ECF
22-1 at 41-43. She suspected a severely torn chest muscle and
submitted a request for an X-ray and an ultrasound.
Id. On November 9, Mr. Parish received chest X-rays,
but Mr. Parish didn't receive the requested ultrasound
for reasons that are not explained in the medical records.
Id. at 47; ECF 22-2 at 3-4. On or around December
30, Mr. Parish transferred to the Miami Correctional
Facility. ECF 22-1 at 55-61. On January 15, 2017, Dr.
Marandet submitted a request for a chest MRI after examining
Mr. Parish. Id. at 67-69. On January 18, Dr.
Ashihadeh consulted with Dr. Marandet, and, in an email, Dr.
Ashihadeh denied the request and recommended physical therapy
and medication. Id. Though Nurse Ivers was copied on
the email, she attests that she wasn't involved with the
decision and had no authority to override it. Id.;
ECF 22-2 at 6.
judgment must be granted when “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 dispute of material fact exists when “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Not every
dispute between the parties makes summary judgment
inappropriate; “[o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Id. In determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate, the deciding court must construe all facts in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Ogden v.
Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).
“However, our favor toward the nonmoving party does not
extend to drawing inferences that are supported by only
speculation or conjecture.” Fitzgerald v.
Santoro, 707 F.3d 725, 730 (7th Cir. 2013).
Parish alleges that Nurse Ivers acted with deliberate
indifference to his chest muscle tear by denying the request
for an ultrasound. Under the Eighth Amendment, inmates are
entitled to adequate medical care. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). To establish liability
under the Eighth Amendment, a prisoner must show: (1) his
medical need was objectively serious; and (2) the defendant
acted with deliberate indifference to his medical need.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994.) A
medical need is “serious” if it is one that a
physician has diagnosed as mandating treatment, or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize
the necessity for a doctor's attention, and if untreated
could result in further significant injury or unnecessary
pain, and that significantly affects the person's daily
activities or features chronic and substantial pain.
Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005).
indifference is a high standard, and is “something
approaching a total unconcern for a prisoner's welfare in
the face of serious risks, ” or a “conscious,
culpable refusal” to prevent harm. Duane v.
Lane, 959 F.2d 673, 677 (7th Cir. 1992).
“[C]onduct is deliberately indifferent when the
official has acted in an intentional or criminally reckless
manner, i.e., the defendant must have known that the
plaintiff was at serious risk of being harmed and decided not
to do anything to prevent that harm from occurring even
though he could have easily done so.” Board v.
Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005).
to the undisputed evidence, Nurse Ivers's only connection
with Mr. Parish's medical treatment was that she received
the email between Dr. Marandet and Dr. Ashihadeh denying the
request for an MRI scan. She didn't participate in the
decision-making process for the MRI scan, nor was she
authorized to override the physicians' decision. The
undisputed evidence further indicates that her professional
qualifications and position didn't allow her to approve
or deny requests for ultrasounds, MRI scans, or any other
diagnostic testing. Even if Nurse Ivers's was aware of
Mr. Parish's injury, the record doesn't demonstrate
that she acted with deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs. The court grants the motion for summary
judgment with respect to the Eighth Amendment claim against
Nurse Ivers, and there are no remaining claims in this case.
these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS the motion for summary judgment (ECF 21); and
(2) DIRECTS the clerk to enter judgment and to close ...