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Womble v. Corizon, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

March 18, 2015

JOHNSON DUSTIN WOMBLE, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON, INC. formerly doing business as Correctional Medical Services, Inc., Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

TERRY F. MOORER, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On August 12, 2013, Plaintiff Justin Dustin Womble ("Womble") filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action challenging the adequacy of medical treatment provided to him during his incarceration at Staton Correctional Facility ("Staton"). Womble names Corizon, Inc., formerly doing business as Correctional Medical Services ("Corizon"), as a defendant. Specifically, Womble claims that Corizon acted negligently and with deliberate indifference to his health by delaying and/or refusing to provide medical treatment. He contends that the failure to provide appropriate treatment, including the failure to order a cystoscopy test to determine the cause of his chronic hematuria, resulted in a subsequent diagnosis of papillary transitional cell carcinoma upon his release from Staton. On December 5, 2014, Corizon filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. 46. On March 6, 2015, Womble filed a response. Doc. 55.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c)(1) and M.D. Ala. LR 73.1, the parties have consented to a United States Magistrate Judge conducting all proceedings in this case and ordering the entry of final judgment. Now pending is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Corizon. Upon consideration of the Motion, the Response, and the evidentiary materials, the court concludes that the Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to the federal claims against Corizon is due to be GRANTED in favor of Corizon and the state law claims are due to be REMANDED to the state court.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"Summary judgment is appropriate ìf the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine [dispute][1] as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Greenberg v. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam) (citation omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) (Summary judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine [dispute] as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."). The party moving for summary judgment "always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the [record, including pleadings, discovery materials and affidavits], which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine [dispute] of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by presenting evidence which would be admissible at trial indicating there is no dispute of material fact or by showing that the nonmoving party has failed to present evidence in support of some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-324.

Once the defendant meets his evidentiary burden and demonstrates the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish, with appropriate evidence beyond the pleadings, that a genuine dispute material to her case exists. Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) ("When a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must... set out specific facts showing a genuine [dispute] for trial."). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when the nonmoving party produces evidence that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in its favor. Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 126.

For summary judgment purposes, only disputes involving material facts are relevant. United States v. One Piece of Real Prop. Located at 5800 SW 74th Ave., Miami, Fla., 363 F.3d 1099, 1101 (11th Cir. 2004). What is material is determined by the substantive law applicable to the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Lofton v. Sec'y of Dep't of Children & Family Servs., 358 F.3d 804, 809 (11th Cir. 2004) ("Only factual disputes that are material under the substantive law governing the case will preclude entry of summary judgment."). "The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case." McCormick v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 333 F.3d 1234, 1243 (11th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). To demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact, the party opposing summary judgment "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.... Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine [dispute] for trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co, Ltd., v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In cases where the evidence before the court which is admissible on its face or which can be reduced to admissible form indicates that there is no genuine dispute of material fact and that the party moving for summary judgment is entitled to it as a matter of law, summary judgment is proper. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323-324 (summary judgment appropriate where pleadings, evidentiary materials and affidavits before the court show there is no genuine dispute as to a requisite material fact).

III. FACTS

At some point prior to his most recent incarceration, Womble began suffering from blood his urine and pain during urination. Def's Ex. A, Womble's Dep., p. 31. On March 18, 2010, a radiologist at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital completed a diagnostic imaging report indicating that "[t]he urinary bladder is unremarkable." Pl's Ex. A. The working diagnosis was kidney or bladder stone.[2] Pl's Exhs. A & D. While awaiting additional medical testing, he violated his probation and was incarcerated in the Jefferson County Jail for six to eight months. Id., p. 33. In May 2010, Womble transferred to Kilby Correctional Facility. In October 2010, he transferred to Staton Correctional Facility. Id., pp. 43-44.

This court previously summarized the medical records from Staton Correctional Facility in its February 17, 2015 Opinion.

On October 28, 2010, Womble was transferred from Kilby Correctional Facility to Staton Correctional Facility. [Doc. 47-1, Def. Forniss' Ex. A, Attach to Dr. Hood's Affid.], p. 50. On March 23, 2011, Womble submitted a health services request form complaining of pain while urinating, lower abdomen pain, and urinating blood sometimes. Id., p. 46. On March 25, 2011, Womble reported to sick call complaining of difficulty urinating, burning upon urination, and lower abdomen pain. Id., p. 44. The nurse's notes indicate Womble reported that he "has had this problem for years [and] has had MRI, CT scan, IVP, [and] lab work in the free world before being locked up." Id., p. 45. The nurse referred Womble to a CMS provider and collected a urine sample for testing. Id. An ADOC urinalysis was negative for blood. Id., p. 67. On March 28, 2011, medical personnel sent out a urinalysis and urine culture to the lab. Id., p. 25. The laboratory reported "moderate" blood in the urine and "no growth."[3] Id., p. 62.
On April 1, 2011, Womble returned for a follow-up appointment, complaining of pain and blood in urine over the past month. Id., p. 31. Medical personnel noted an in-house urinalysis was normal and diagnosed hematuria. Id. In addition, Womble signed a "release of information authorization" to Cooper Green Hospital, in which medical personnel ordered a "urology workup re[garding] hematuria [and a] MRI/CT of ABD/pelvis [and] ultrasounds." Id., p. 78. Medical personnel ordered a follow-up appointment to be conducted within two to three weeks. Id., p. 25. On April 4, 2011, a radiologist conducted an exam of Womble's abdomen and found the results to be "unremarkable." Id., p. 73.
On April 29, 2011, Womble reported to an ADOC mental health services psychiatrist that "he is still having health problems [and] was supposed to be seen by free world doctor." Id., p. 104.
In May 2011, Womble signed a form acknowledging that he refused treatment for "blood in urine" and that he "left before seeing provider" on April 26, 2011. Id., p. 17. On July 12, 2011, Womble submitted a health services request form, complaining of "urinating blood, can't use the restroom [and] [i]n a lot of pain in my lower abdomen or stomach." Id., p. 42. On July 14, 2011, Womble went to sick call complaining of difficulty urinating for the past four years, blood in urine, and a pain level of 8. Id., p. 36. The nurse provided ibuprofen and referred Womble to the Correctional Medical Services provider. Id. Medical personnel sent out urinalysis samples and ...

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