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McGraw v. Corizon Health, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 4, 2019

RAYMOND MCGRAW, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH, INC., PENDLETON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, DUSHAN ZATECKY, MR. ALSIP, OFFR. EDWARDS, SGT. VANDINE, SGT. McKINNIE, CPT. MASON, MRS. FRANCUM, MRS. McCULLOUGH, DR. TALBOT, MRS. WELDERS, NURSE SIMPSON, and NURSE ROSE, Defendants.

          ORDER ON CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff Raymond McGraw ("Mr. McGraw"), an inmate at Miami Correctional Facility, initiated this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his First and Eighth Amendment rights while he was incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility ("Pendleton"). On March 4, 2019, Mr. McGraw moved for summary judgment. (Dkt. 151.) Thereafter, Defendant Officer Edwards opposed the Motion arguing that there is a dispute of material fact regarding the degree of force she used to secure Mr. McGraw when he refused to take medication on January 14, 2016. (Dkt. 200.) Defendants Corizon Health, Inc. ("Corizon"), Aleycia McCullough ("Ms. McCullough")Dr. Paul Talbot, Carrie Welders ("Ms. Welders"), Nurse Kim Simpson ("Nurse Simpson"), and Nurse Leah Rose ("Nurse Rose"), (collectively, "the Medical Defendants") responded and cross-motioned for summary judgment on May 3, 2019. (Dkt. 202.) Mr. McGraw replied on June 6, 2019. (Dkt. 237.) For the reasons stated below, Mr. McGraw's Motion is denied and the Medical Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         A 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 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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. 56(e).

         In 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.'" Dougherty 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). Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         When reviewing cross-motions for summary judgment, all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the party against whom the motion at issue was made. Volenti v. Lawson, 889 F.3d 427, 429 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing Tripp v. Scholz, 872 F.3d 857, 862 (7th Cir. 2017)). The existence of cross-motions for summary judgment does not imply that there are no genuine issues of material fact. R.J. Corman Derailment Servs., LLC v. Int'l Union of Operating Engineers, Local Union 150, AFL-CIO, 335 F.3d 643, 647 (7th Cir. 2003).

         II. UNDISPUTED FACTS[1]

         A. Initial Matters

         Before reciting the facts underlying Mr. McGraw's claims, the Court must address several issues that have made it difficult for the Court to determine the undisputed facts. First, Mr. McGraw (who is proceeding pro se) produced more than two thousand pages of exhibits with his Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkts. 154-159.) While he attempts to identify documents to support his statement of material facts not in dispute, he does so by referencing medical entries from particular dates, rather than particular page numbers, making it difficult for the Court to locate his references.

         The Medical Defendants' submissions do not fare much better. Some citations in the Medical Defendants' brief are incorrect, making it difficult for the Court to locate their referenced documents. For example, the Medical Defendants assert that Mr. McGraw submitted a healthcare request form on October 1, 2015. They cite docket "159, pp. 99" as the location of the healthcare request form, but p. 99 of docket 159 is a medical record dated November 20, 2015. The adjacent pages are part of that medical record.

         In addition, the accuracy of the records submitted by the Medical Defendants', and therefore their statement of facts and expert's opinions that rely upon those records, are called into question by records from an outside neurosurgeon, Gautam Phookan, M.D. ("Dr. Phookan"), who also treated Mr. McGraw. For example, the Medical Defendants' records do not indicate on what date Mr. McGraw's staples were removed, but they do indicate that the staples were intact on September 23, 2015 and were not present on October 1, 2015. Dr. Talbot examined Mr. McGraw on October 12, 2015, and did not note the presence of staples. (Dkt. 158, p. 367.) The Medical Defendants note that Dr. Phookan charted on October 16, 2015, that Mr. McGraw's remaining staples were removed in his office that day. (Dkt. 158, p. 142.) But they fail to acknowledge that this creates a dispute of material fact regarding whether the Medical Defendants removed all of the staples on September 25, 2015, as instructed to do by Dr. Phookan, or at any other time before Mr. McGraw's follow-up with Dr. Phookan. Moreover, The Medical Defendants' expert witness, Dr. Craig Wilson, fails to acknowledge at all that the remainder of Mr. McGraw's staples were removed at Dr. Phookan's office on October 16, 2015. (Dkt. 196-7.) If Dr. Phookan removed staples from Mr. McGraw's back on October 16, 2015, then the prison medical records before that date which indicate that there were no staples in Mr. McGraw's back are called into question.

         These issues leave the Court with little in the way of undisputed facts to draw from. Therefore, the following recitation of undisputed facts is rather truncated.

         B. Undisputed Facts

         At all times relevant to his Complaint, Mr. McGraw was incarcerated at Pendleton. Corizon was the company that contracted with the Indiana Department of Correction to provide medical care to Indiana prisoners at all times relevant to this action. Dr. Talbot was a physician providing medical services at Pendleton. Nurse Simpson and Nurse Rose were licensed and qualified nurses at Pendleton. Ms. McCullough was the Health Service Administrator at Pendleton. Ms. Welders was a medical assistant at Pendleton. Ms. McCullough and Ms. Welders are not medically trained and do not perform any patient care duties.

         Mr. McGraw suffered from chronic lower back pain. On September 14, 2015, he underwent an L3 to L5 decompressive laminectomy[2] at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital performed by Dr. Phookan, a neurosurgeon with Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine. Mr. McGraw was discharged from the hospital on September 16, 2015, with instructions to remove the drain from the surgical site when it drained less than 40 ml in a 12-hour period, to remove staples on September 28, 2015, and to schedule a follow up appointment with the surgeon in four weeks.

         When Mr. McGraw returned to Pendleton, Dr. Talbot ordered that he be housed in the medical unit to facilitate his post-operative recovery. The next day, September 17, 2015, Mr. McGraw had a fever of 101 degrees. Dr. Talbot ordered an injectable antibiotic.

         Nurse Rose removed Mr. McGraw's drain on September 21, 2015, and he was discharged from the medical unit. Myra Wilson from Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine called the prison and left a message for Ms. Welders stating that Mr. McGraw's staples could be removed on September 25, 2015.

         Many aspects of Mr. McGraw's care are disputed from September 21, 2015 through October 30, 2015, when Dr. Talbot determined that Mr. McGraw's wound was not healing, and he needed to be transferred to a facility with 24 hour nursing care.[3] Mr. McGraw returned to Pendleton on December 30, 2015. On January 14, 2016, Nurse Simpson attempted to administer two antibiotics to Mr. McGraw. He resisted because a previous dose of the same medications caused him to have physical reactions that indicated he might be allergic to them. Eventually, Officer Edwards restrained Mr. McGraw. Officer Edwards and Mr. McGraw dispute the nature an appropriateness of Officer Edwards' actions.

         On January 15, 2016, Dr. Talbot examined Mr. McGraw, noted purulent drainage from his back wound, and ordered him to an outside hospital for further treatment. Doctors at St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson, Indiana, determined that Mr. McGraw was suffering from a spinal epidural abscess and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcal Aureus ("MRSA"). He required additional surgery and was ...


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