United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
JAMES E. GILMAN, Plaintiff,
CORIZON MEDICAL SERVICES, et al. Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE.
James Gilman, an inmate at the Wabash Valley Correctional
Facility (“Wabash”), brings this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his Eighth Amendment
rights have been violated because he received inadequate
medical care for his knee pain while incarcerated. The
defendants have moved for summary judgment and Mr. Gilman has
responded. For the following reasons, the motion for summary
judgment is granted.
Summary Judgment Standard
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). 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).
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. Barbera v. Pearson Education, Inc., 906 F.3d
621, 628 (7th Cir. 2018). The Court cannot weigh evidence or
make credibility determinations on summary judgment because
those tasks are left to the fact-finder. Johnson v.
Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp., 892 F.3d 887, 893
(7th Cir. 2018).
following statement of facts has been evaluated pursuant to
the standard set forth above. Some of the facts that follow
are disputed. The Court notes these disputes, but whether
noted or not, the facts stated are not necessarily
objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard
requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are
presented in the light most favorable to Mr. Gilman,
“the party against whom the motion under consideration
is made.” Premcor USA, Inc. v. American Home
Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523, 526-27 (7th Cir. 2005).
his incarceration, Mr. Gilman has experienced chronic
osteoarthritis of his knees, hands, and feet. Dkt. 160-1,
the times relevant to Mr. Gilman's complaint, Defendant
Corizon, LLC was the company that contracted with the Indiana
Department of Correction (“IDOC”) to provide
medical care to Indiana prisoners. Dkt. 2.
Dr. Samuel Byrd was a physician providing medical services at
Wabash during all times relevant to the complaint. Dkt.
160-1, ¶ 3. As a physician, Dr. Byrd saw inmates as they
were scheduled by nursing staff. Id. Dr. Byrd
asserts that he did not set the patient schedule.
Id. Dr. Byrd treated Mr. Gilman for his arthritis at
all relevant times. Id., ¶ 4.
Dr. Michael Mitcheff was the Regional Medical Director for
Corizon, LLC from 2006 to July 4, 2014. Dkt. 160-2, ¶ 4.
Defendant Dr. Brian Buller was the Associate Regional Medical
Director for Corizon from May 4, 2015, to April 2016. Dkt.
160-3, ¶ 4. As Corizon Regional Medical Directors, Dr.
Mitcheff and Dr. Buller's duties and responsibilities
included reviewing consultation requests from providers at
prisons to refer inmates for outside specialty appointments,
including surgeries, diagnostic imaging, or consultations
with specialists. Dkt. 160-2 ¶ 5; dkt. 160-3, ¶ 5.
Dr. Mitcheff and Dr. Buller would review these requests and
either communicate their agreement or suggest an alternative
treatment plan. Id. If either Dr. Mitcheff or Dr.
Buller suggested an alternative treatment plan, the provider
at the prison had the final authority to proceed with the
requested course of treatment or agree with the alternative
treatment plans offered. Id. Almost every time that
Dr. Mitcheff, Dr. Buller, or other Corizon executives
submitted an alternative treatment plan, the provider at the
prison followed their recommendation. See Dkt.
181-2, pp. 331-334, 335-37.
Chelsey Pearison was a qualified medical assistant
(“QMA”) at Wabash at all relevant times. Dkt.
160-4, ¶ 4. QMA Pearison cannot diagnose medical
conditions or prescribe medications. Id., ¶ 5.
Part of QMA Pearison's duties and responsibilities as a
medical assistant included coordinating with the onsite
medical provider, in this case Dr. Byrd, to schedule provider
Nurse Barbara Riggs, Nurse Amy Wright, and Nurse Kimberly
Hobson were licensed and qualified nurses at Wabash during
all relevant times. Dkt. 160-5, ¶ 4; dkt. 160-6, ¶
4; dkt.160-7, ¶ 4. Nursing staff cannot diagnose medical
conditions or order medical treatment for offenders or any
other patients. Dkt. 160-5, ¶ 5; dkt. 160-6, ¶ 5;
dkt. 160-7, ¶ 5. Nursing and assistant staff also cannot
prescribe medications. Id. Nursing staff does not
schedule provider appointments. Dkt. 160-5, ¶ 7; dkt.
160-6, ¶ 7; dkt. 160-7, ¶ 5.
Wabash, inmates fill out a Healthcare Request Form
(“HCR”), which describes who the inmate needs to
see and the medical need the inmate is having. Dkt. 181-1,
¶ 6. The inmate places the HCR in a box in their housing
unit. Id. A nurse is supposed to pick up HCRs daily,
but the nurse sometimes skips pickups on the weekends.
Id. The nurse reviews the HCR and either conducts a
visit with the inmate or issues a written response.
Id. During a visit, the nurse will determine if the
inmate should see a provider/doctor. Id. In response
to an HCR, nurses would tell Mr. Gilman that he was already
scheduled to see a provider during a regularly scheduled
chronic care visit - visits that are scheduled every six
months. Id., ¶ 7.
Gilman's History of Knee Arthritis
Gilman has a history of arthritis in his knees, hands, and
feet. Dkt. 160-1, ¶ 5. Mr. Gilman previously filed a
lawsuit regarding arthritis in his knees. Gilman v.
Correctional Medical Services,  et al., No.
2:07-cv-00161. The parties agree that the medical treatment
that was at issue in that case is not at issue in this case.
The parties further agree that Mr. Gilman's claims in
this case are his claims that the defendants exhibited
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs between
June 2014 and June 2016. Dkt. 180, p. 4.
back to at least 2012, Mr. Gilman's medical records note
that conservative measures, including prescription
medications, had failed. Dkt. 181-2, pp. 215-217 (discussing
pain in both knees). Mr. Gilman was prescribed Mobic, a
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (“NSAID”) for
his pain. Dkt. 160-9, p. 175. By July 5, 2013, Mr. Gilman had
taken so many NSAIDs that Dr. Naveen Rajoli advised he should
avoid using NSAIDs altogether “because of the long-term
side effects.” Dkt. 181-2, pp. 242-245. In 2013, when
Mr. Gilman had an orthopedic consult, Dr. Madsen, an
orthopedic specialist, diagnosed him with “degenerative
joint disease severe erosive bilateral, left worse than
right.” Id., p. 167. During this consultation,
Mr. Gilman states that Dr. Madsen told him that while both
knees needed to be replaced, he had to choose one. Dkt.
181-1, ¶ 31. Mr. Gilman had a total replacement of his
left knee on February 18, 2013. Dkt. 160-9, p. 173.
Treatment of Mr. Gilman's Right Knee Arthritis from
June 2013 through July 2014, Mr. Gilman submitted various
HCRs requesting Mobic refills for his arthritis. Dkt. 160-9,
pp. 177, 194-195; Dkt. 160-10, pp. 11-12, 25. On June 11,
2014, Mr. Gilman saw Dr. Rajoli and reported right knee pain
that had been ongoing since he arrived at the IDOC. Dkt.
160-10, pp. 13-16. A physical exam was normal and revealed no
tenderness or swelling. Id. Mr. Gilman was wearing a
knee brace. Id. Dr. Rajoli reviewed Mr. Gilman's
history and saw that he had previously received a short
course of Prednisone (an oral steroid for arthritis) with
success. Id. Dr. Rajoli ordered Prednisone,
cortisone injections, and x-rays. Id.
9, 2014, Mr. Gilman's x-ray revealed moderate to severe
arthritis with some swelling and no acute injury.
Id., p. 17. That same day, Mr. Gilman requested his
Prednisone prescription be refilled and medical staff told
him he had a prescription through September 2014. See
id., pp. 18-24.
August 1, 2014, Mr. Gilman saw Dr. Neil Martin and was
concerned because “he was promised a knee
injection.” Dkt. 160-10, pp. 26-28. A physical exam
revealed a stable right knee, although Mr. Gilman reported
pain on movement. Id. Dr. Martin ordered a cortisone
injection for Mr. Gilman's arthritis pain. Id.
On August 8, 2014, Mr. Gilman received the cortisone
injection. Id., pp. 29-31. On August 27, 2014, Dr.
Martin charted that Mr. Gilman had some arthritic flare-ups
in his right knee, but was otherwise asymptomatic.
Id., pp. 32-33. Mr. Gilman's physical exams were
normal and he was able to ambulate. Id. He was also
active at recreation and performed physical activities
without limitations. Id.
September 14, 2014, Mr. Gilman submitted an HCR asking to see
a doctor for his arthritis pain. Dkt. 181-2, p. 278. Nurse
Riggs referred him to the doctor. Id.
September 18, 2014, Nurse Riggs noted that Mr. Gilman's
“condition was not responding to protocols.” Dkt.
181-1, ¶ 39; dkt. 181-2, p. 280.
September 24, 2014, Mr. Gilman saw Dr. Rajoli for his
arthritis. Dkt. 160-10, pp. 34-36. Dr. Rajoli inquired into
Mr. Gilman's daily living activities and functions.
Id. The parties dispute whether Mr. Gilman told the
provider that he could complete certain daily living
activities. The evidence in the light most favorable to Mr.
Gilman is that he did not tell Dr. Rajoli that he could climb
stairs, cook, get into or out of the bathtub, or get in and
out of a car. Dkt. 181-1 ¶ 38. Dr. Rajoli diagnosed him
with mild right knee arthritis that occurred intermittently.
Id. Mr. Gilman told Dr. Rajoli that his arthritis
was relieved with medications, heat, and Prednisone.
Id. Dr. Rajoli ordered Prednisone through January
2015. Id., pp. 37-44.
December 9, 2014, Mr. Gilman saw medical staff for his annual
health assessment. Dkt. 160-10, pp. 44-45. Mr. Gilman did not
report any concerns with his arthritis or any limitations in
his daily living activities or ambulation. Id. He
was classified as free of disability or limitations.
Id. On December 15, 2014, Dr. Michael Aluker ordered
nursing staff to lower his Prednisone prescription and dosage
to wean him off the steroid. Id., pp. 47-48.
January 14, 2015, Mr. Gilman requested a refill of his
Prednisone. Dkt. 160-10, p. 49. This was the first time
defendant Dr. Byrd treated Mr. Gilman. Dkt. 160-1, ¶ 10.
Prednisone is a corticosteroid aimed at reducing inflammation
in the joints. Id. Since Mr. Gilman reported relief
with Prednisone, Dr. Byrd refilled his prescription through
July 15, 2015. Dkt. 160-10, pp. 50-59.
February 4, 2015, Dr. Byrd examined Mr. Gilman for his right
knee arthritis. Id., pp. 60-63. Mr. Gilman reported
that he had been getting cortisone injections for some time
until the staff physicians changed. Id. Mr. Gilman
stated that no one else would give him injections.
Id. He reported that anti-inflammatory medications
did not provide him with relief. Id. He also wore a
knee brace and reported modest relief from the brace.
Id. Mr. Gilman reported swelling if “I do
much.” Id. He requested a right knee cortisone
injection. Id. Dr. Byrd's physical exam was
normal and there was no swelling or weakness in Mr.
Gilman's right knee, although Mr. Gilman did report pain.
Id. Dr. Byrd gave Mr. Gilman a cortisone injection
and ordered him to return for a follow up in three months.
Id. Dr. Byrd also ordered replacement bilateral knee
braces. Id. On February 26, 2015, Mr. Gilman
received his knee braces. Id., pp. 64-66.
April 8, 2015, Mr. Gilman submitted an HCR requesting a
cortisone injection for his right knee and reporting that he
believed he was on a ninety-day cycle for his injections.
Dkt. 160- 10, p. 67. QMA Pearison responded that Mr. Gilman
was scheduled to see a provider in the Chronic Care Clinic.
Id. On April 15, 2015, Dr. Byrd examined Mr. Gilman
in the Chronic Care Clinic for his right knee arthritis.
Id., pp. 68-72. Mr. Gilman told Dr. Byrd that the
last injection provided him with relief for two months and
requested another injection. Id. Mr. Gilman also
complained of left knee pain and was concerned about damaged
hardware from his prior surgery. Id. Dr. Byrd
ordered a cortisone injection in Mr. Gilman's right knee
and a left knee x-ray. Id. On April 24, 2015, Mr.
Gilman received a cortisone injection. Id., pp.
April 27, 2015, Dr. Byrd examined Mr. Gilman in Chronic Care
Clinic and Mr. Gilman reported that the cortisone injection
“took.” Id., pp. 76-79. Dr. Byrd ordered
labs to monitor Mr. Gilman's medical condition since he
had a long-standing Prednisone prescription for arthritis.
29, 2015, Mr. Gilman filed an HCR requesting another right
knee injection. Id., p. 80. Nurse Riggs responded
that Mr. Gilman was scheduled for a Chronic Care Clinic
visit. Id. On July 8, 2015, Dr. Byrd saw Mr. Gilman
in Chronic Care for his right knee arthritis pain.
Id., pp. 81-95. Mr. Gilman's left-knee x-rays
revealed arthritis and intact hardware. Id. Dr. Byrd
ordered a cortisone injection, prescribed the pain medication
Imipramine through January 12, 2016, and prescribed
Prednisone through January 4, 2016. Id. On July 17,
2015, Dr. Byrd administered a right knee cortisone injection.
Id., pp. 96-97.
September 8, 2015, Mr. Gilman submitted an HCR reporting that
his cortisone injection had worn off. Id., p. 98;
Dkt. 160-4, ¶ 7. QMA Pearison reviewed Mr. Gilman's
records and confirmed that his last cortisone injection was
in July 2015. Id. She scheduled an appointment for
Mr. Gilman to see a provider and responded to the HCR by
notifying him that he was scheduled for a visit with a
provider. Dkt. 160-10, p. 98.
October 2, 2015, Dr. Byrd saw Mr. Gilman in a Chronic Care
Clinic visit and Mr. Gilman requested another cortisone
injection. Dkt. 160-1, ¶ 17; dkt. 160-10, pp. 99-103.
Mr. Gilman also reported that the orthopedic physician who
completed his left knee total replacement surgery (Dr.
Madsen) told him he would require a right knee total
replacement as well. Id. Dr. Byrd noted that Mr.
Gilman did not experience relief with NSAIDs. Dkt. 160-10, p.
99. Mr. Gilman did not have any acute injury or ligament
damage, although he did report pain on movement which is not
uncommon in patients with arthritis. Id. Dr. Byrd
ordered a cortisone injection “when possible” and
a follow-up x-ray ...