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Naylor v. Wexford Health Care Services, Inc.

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

December 9, 2019

JOHN NAYLOR, Plaintiff,


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff John Naylor, an inmate at Pendleton Correctional Facility, alleges that defendant Dr. Paul Talbot was deliberately indifferent to several of his serious medical conditions. He further alleges that he was denied medical treatment and that his rights were violated pursuant to a policy or practice of defendant Wexford Health Care Services, Inc. (“Wexford”).

         The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on April 22, 2019. Dkt. 26. Mr. Naylor responded with a motion for summary judgment on May 16, 2019. Dkt. 37. The defendants replied on May 30, 2019. Dkt. 39.

         For the reasons explained below, the defendants' motion for summary judgment, dkt [26], is granted in part and denied in part, and Mr. Naylor's motion for summary judgment, dkt. [39], is denied.

         I. Standard of Review

         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 Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts 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 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.'” Daugherty v. Page, 906 F.3d 606, 609-10 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).

         On summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Gekas v. Vasilades, 814 F.3d 890, 896 (7th Cir. 2016). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). 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 fact-finder. 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 every inch of the record” for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870 F.3d 562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017). 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. Valenti 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. Material Facts

         Mr. Naylor is incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”) in Pendleton, Indiana. Defendant Dr. Paul Talbot is a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state of Indiana. Since April 1, 2017, Dr. Talbot has been employed as a physician at Pendleton by Wexford of Indiana, LLC (“Wexford”), a private company that contracts with the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) to provide medical services to Indiana prisoners. From July 2015 to March 31, 2017, Dr. Talbot was employed as a physician at Pendleton by Corizon, LLC (“Corizon”), the private company that held the healthcare contract with the IDOC before Wexford. Dkt. 28-1 at 1.

         Dr. Talbot has been one of Mr. Naylor's primary care providers since July 2015. Mr. Naylor's complaint raises several separate incidents of alleged deliberate indifference. Specifically, he alleges the following:

A. He has disconnected muscles in his leg that have been left untreated and he was denied physical therapy for the disconnected muscles;
B. He has been deprived of medical shoes and custom arch supports for plantar fasciitis, bone alignment, joint alignment, and heel spurs;
C. He was denied a referral to a plastic surgeon to repair his lip so that he will not bite it while eating;
D. His Imodium was switched from Keep on Person (“KOP”) to Directly Observed Therapy (“DOT”) and his dosage was reduced;
E. His Zantac was downgraded to Pepcid;
F. He was denied the MRI and CT monitoring that he requested due to prior head trauma; and
G. Wexford maintains a policy or practice of denying medical treatment in order to save money.

Dkt. 1.

         A. Disconnected Muscles

         On July 26, 2015, Mr. Naylor sustained injuries when he was assaulted by another inmate. Dkt. 28-1 at 2. He was transported to St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson, Indiana by ambulance. Dkt. 35 at 5. Injuries from the assault included a large laceration to his left upper lip and a broken right ankle. Id. at 8.

         While at St. Vincent, Mr. Naylor's right wrist and ankle were x-rayed. There was no fracture to the wrist, but his ankle was broken in multiple places. No. tissue, muscle, or ligament damage was noted. Hospital staff immobilized the ankle by applying a splint. The hospital physicians recommended follow-up with an orthopedic surgeon within 2-3 d a ys for further evaluation. Dkt. 35 at 8. The next morning, Dr. Talbot submitted an urgent request for Mr Naylor to be scheduled for an appointment with an orthopedist. Dkt. 35 at 27.

         The lip laceration was sutured at the hospital. Other than removing the sutures, there was no recommendation for further evaluation of the lip laceration made by the hospital physician. Dkt. 35 at 8.

         On August 25, 2015, Dr. Kaehr, an outside orthopedic surgeon, determined that Mr. Naylor required surgical repair of the ankle fracture. Dkt. 35 at 39. Dr. Kaehr performed surgery on Naylor's right ankle on September 3, 2015, and performed a post-operative follow-up exam on October 27, 2015. Dkt. 35 at 48, 60. During the exam, Dr. Kaehr noted that the incision was well healed and removed the surgical staples. Dkt. 35 at 60. Dr. Kaehr supplied Mr. Naylor with a removable walking cast. Dr. Kaehr instructed Mr. Naylor to wear the walking cast at all times while weight-bearing but noted that he could remove it while showering and sleeping. Dr. Kaehr recommended follow-up to have the surgical screws removed. Id.

         On December 10, 2015, Dr. Kaehr evaluated Mr. Naylor, removed the surgical screws from the right ankle, and requested that the sutures from the screw removal be removed in 10-14 days. Dr. Kaehr also obtained an x-ray of Naylor's right ankle, which indicated that the fracture was healed. Because the fracture had healed, Dr. Kaehr recommended that Mr. Naylor resume normal activities and bear his full weight on his right foot without the walking cast. Dr. Kaehr noted that no further follow-up was needed. Dkt. 35 at 77. None of Dr. Kaehr's records indicate that Mr. Naylor had disconnected muscles that would require future repair or rehabilitation. Dkt. 28-1 ...

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