United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
RICHARD L. MULLINS, Plaintiff,
WEXFORD HEALTHCARE SOURCES, et al. Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
Richard L. Mullins, an inmate at Putnamville Correctional
Facility in Greencastle, Indiana, brought this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the
defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by showing
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs while he
was incarcerated at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in
Carlisle, Indiana (“WVCF”). The defendants are
(1) Dr. Samuel Dr. Byrd, (2) Kim Hobson, (3) R. Robinson, (4)
Laura Petty, (5) Robert Lundy, and (6) Wexford Healthcare
defendants have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons
explained in this Order, the defendants are entitled to
summary judgment on all of Mr. Mullins's claims.
Summary Judgment Standard
motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a
trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). Whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or
genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact
by citing to specific portions 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 by an adverse party 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.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the 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). “A
genuine dispute as to any material fact exists ‘if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Daugherty v.
Page, 906 F.3d 606, 609-10 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(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. 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
factfinder. 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. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana
University, 870 F.3d 562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017)
(quoting Harney v. Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, 526
F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th Cir. 2008)). Any doubt as to the
existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against
the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
Mullins was transferred to WVCF in July 2017. All the events
discussed below occurred in 2017 unless otherwise noted. At
the relevant times, defendants Laura Petty and Robert Lundy
were state employees and lieutenants at WVCF. Defendants Kim
Hobson (a healthcare administrator), R. Robinson (a
registered nurse), and Dr. Samuel Byrd were all employees of
defendant Wexford Healthcare Sources.
August 4 and August 11, Mr. Mullins told Lundy and Petty that
he had poison ivy and asked to be referred for an injection.
Dkt. 78-1 at 14-15. According to Mr. Mullins, Lundy and Petty
told him he could not receive the injection because Mr.
Mullins was not on a labor line. Id. at 15, 19.
Petty instructed Mr. Mullins to file healthcare request
forms. Id. at 20. Mr. Mullins asked Lundy and Petty
to advocate on his behalf with medical staff, but they
declined to do so. Id. at 26.
August 7, Mr. Mullins submitted a healthcare request form
stating that he had either poison ivy or poison oak all over
his body. Dkt. 78-2 at 26. He wanted an injection that he
believed would help relieve either of those conditions. Dkt.
78-1 at 23. Also on August 7, Mr. Mullins submitted an
informal grievance complaining about poison ivy or poison
oak. Dkt. 73-11. Defendant Robinson responded to the informal
grievance on August 8. Id. She noted that Mr.
Mullins had seen a medical provider on August 7 and
instructed him to submit healthcare request forms if his
problems persisted. Id.
August 8, Mr. Mullins submitted another healthcare request
form, this time stating that he had shingles and that a nurse
had informed him he would be given antibiotics to treat his
shingles. Dkt. 78-2 at 25. Also on August 8, Dr. Byrd
instructed a non-defendant member of the nursing staff to
give Mr. Mullins a Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate
(“Dexamethasone”) injection. Dkt. 73-1 at 2;
see also dkt. 78-2 at 25. Mr. Mullins maintains that
he never received an injection. Dkt. 78-1 at 31.
August 10, prison custody staff contacted Dr. Byrd about Mr.
Mullins's ongoing pain. Dkt. 73-4 at 1. Dr. Byrd noted
the prior treatments of Prednisone and Dexamethasone.
Id. He then prescribed a low dose of Pamelor for Mr.
Mullins's pain and Acyclovir to treat the shingles virus.
Id.; see dkt. 78-2 at 17; dkt. 73-1 at 3.
August 11, Mr. Mullins filed a healthcare request form
complaining that his shingles were painful and asking to see
a doctor. Dkt. 78-2 at 22. A non-defendant member of the
health care staff responded to the grievance on August 12,
noting that Mr. Mullins had been prescribed pain medication
and that the doctor was following his progress. Id.
Also on August 11, Mr. Mullins filed an informal grievance
complaining that he had not been seen by medical staff for
his shingles. Dkt. 78-1 at 55. Defendant Hobson learned of
the grievance by email on October 26, and she was otherwise
unfamiliar with Mr. Mullins's skin conditions. Dkt. 73-13
at 1; see also Dkt. 73-14. Hobson responded to the
grievance on October 26, summarizing the treatment Mr.
Mullins had received for shingles and eczema between August 8
and October 26. Dkt. 73-16.
August 21, Mr. Mullins filed a healthcare request form
seeking an Acyclovir refill. Dkt. 78-2 at 17. A non-defendant
member of the healthcare staff responded on August 23
informing Mr. Mullins that the Acyclovir treatment was
August 22, Mr. Mullins had his first in-person visit with Dr.
Byrd. Dkt. 73-6 at 1. Dr. Byrd formally diagnosed Mr. Mullins
with shingles (herpes zoster) and noted that the shingles
rashes were itchy and painful. Id. at 1, 3. Dr. Byrd
replaced the Pamelor prescription with Cymbalta to treat Mr.