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Hendricks v. Wexford of Indiana, LLC

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

December 12, 2019

WEXFORD OF INDIANA, LLC, et al. Defendants.


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Michael Hendricks, who at all relevant times was incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility (“PCF”), brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Nurse Rebecca Davis, Dr. Paul Talbot, and Wexford of Indiana (“Wexford”), alleging that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

         The defendants now move for summary judgment on the merits of Mr. Hendricks's claims. Nurse Rebecca Davis seeks judgment as to allegations regarding her treatment of Mr. Hendricks on March 25, 2017, when Corizon, LLC, was the medical service provider for PCF. Dkt. 55. Dr. Paul Talbot and Wexford seek judgment as to allegations regarding Mr. Hendricks's treatment after April 1, 2017, when Wexford had assumed the role as PCF's medical service provider. Dkt. 58.

         Mr. Hendricks has not responded to the defendants' motions, and the time to do so has passed, leaving the defendants' motions unopposed. For the reasons explained, the defendants' unopposed motions for summary judgment, dkt. [54] and dkt. [57], are granted.

         I. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” 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). The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011).

         II. Factual Background

         As noted above, Mr. Hendricks failed to respond to the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The consequence is that Mr. Hendricks has conceded the defendants' version of the events. See Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”). The local rule provides:

A party opposing a summary judgment motion must . . . file and serve a response brief and any evidence . . . that the party relies on to oppose the motion. The response must . . . identif[y] the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment.

S.D. Ind. Local Rule 56-1 This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but it does “[r]educ[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         Accordingly, the following facts, unopposed by Mr. Hendricks and supported by admissible evidence, are accepted as true. Although the defendants present substantial evidence, the Court sets forth only the facts necessary to resolve Mr. Hendricks's claims given the unopposed nature of the defendants' motion.

         On March 25, 2017, Mr. Hendricks was playing basketball at PCF when he jumped for a rebound, landed on another player's foot, and felt a pop when his foot twisted. Dkt. 16 at 3. Mr. Hendricks was in extreme pain and was sent to the medical unit in a wheelchair because he could not walk. Id. at 3-4. Nurse Rebecca Davis treated him that day. She took his vital signs; wrapped his ankle in an elastic bandage; requested a two-day medical lay-in (for meals and medications to be delivered to his cell); and gave him Tylenol, ice compresses, crutches, and the use of a wheelchair. Id. at 4-5; dkt. 56-1 at ¶¶ 6-7. Mr. Hendricks requested that she recommend he be moved to a bottom bunk, and she advised him that she did not have the authority to issue a bottom bunk pass. Dkt. 16 at 5. She recommended he return for further evaluation, including for a possible referral for a bottom bunk, in two days. Dkt. 56-1 at ¶ 7. Nurse Davis attested that she provided Mr. Hendricks's name to the nursing and doctor sick call list so that they would put his name on the list for a follow-up visit. Id. at ¶ 9.

         Mr. Hendricks's name apparently never made it to the sick call list. Dkt. 16 at 5. Mr. Hendricks was not called for a medical appointment on March 26, 2017, so on March 27, 2017, he asked a correctional officer to contact medical about his injury because he had not yet received a medical pass. Id. at 5-6. That officer called medical, and they advised him he was not on the call list and would not be seen on March 27, but he would be on the list for March 28. On March 28, he again did not receive a pass, so the officer again contacted medical, who told him to send Mr. Hendricks to medical. Id. at 6.

         On March 28, 2017, Mr. Hendricks saw a nurse who x-rayed his right foot and provided him with pain medication. Id. On March 29, 2017, Dr. Paul Talbot examined Mr. Hendricks for the first time as it related to this injury. Dr. Talbot reviewed the x-ray which revealed swelling but no fracture. Dkt. 59-1 at ¶ 6. He noted tenderness in Mr. Hendricks's ankle, but nothing indicated a torn ligament or serious injury. Id. He ordered pain medication for one week, a follow-up in a week, permits for a bottom bunk pass and bottom range pass, a medical lay-in for thirty days, crutches, and a wheelchair for longer distances, and he placed Mr. Hendricks's ankle in a splint. Id.

         On April 11, 2017, Mr. Hendricks fell down in the shower and further injured his right ankle. Id. at ¶ 7. He went to medical where a nurse noted swelling and tenderness. Dkt. 16 at 7. She contacted Dr. Talbot, who ordered that she provide Mr. Hendricks with an injection of Toradol. Dkt. 59-1 at ¶ 7. The next day, Dr. Talbot examined Mr. Hendricks. He concluded that Mr. Hendricks had a recurrent right ankle sprain, and he counseled Mr. Hendricks to not bear any weight on his foot to provide time for it to heal. Id. at ¶ 8. Dr. Talbot ordered that Mr. Hendricks be moved to the medical block for handicap showers for thirty days and crutches for thirty days, for all medication and meals to be delivered for thirty days, and for Mr. Hendricks to return for a follow-up in two to four weeks. Id. At his next visit, on April 27, 2017, Dr. Talbot found the swelling had resolved but that Mr. Hendricks was unable to move his ankle due to ...

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