United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
KIMBERLY M. GODWIN, Plaintiff,
CORIZON HEALTH, Defendant.
F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action is before the Court on Defendant Corizon LLC's
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 22) and Plaintiff's
response in opposition (Doc. 28, 29). Upon careful review of
the motion, briefs, supporting materials and the applicable
case law, the Court concludes that no material facts are in
controversy and that Defendant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Accordingly, the Court grants Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment.
evidence submitted by the parties shows that Defendant
Corizon LLC (“Corizon”) has a contract with the
Alabama Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) to
provide health care related services to inmates incarcerated
within Alabama state correctional facilities. (Doc. 22-2 at
23). Plaintiff Kimberly M. Godwin (hereinafter
“Plaintiff” or “Godwin”) worked as a
nurse for Corizon at various correctional facilities from
approximately September 2009 to April 29, 2014. (Doc. 22-2 at
4, 6; Doc. 28-1 at 5-7).
November 2011, Plaintiff was terminated by Corizon on the
ground that she had not worked for the company in over ninety
days. (Doc. 28-1 at 6). In 2012, Plaintiff filed an EEOC
charge alleging discrimination based on her age and race
(Caucasian). The charge ultimately resulted in a negotiated
settlement whereby Plaintiff was reinstated by Corizon on May
14, 2012 to work at Fountain Correctional facility. (Doc.
22-2 at 5, 7, 17, 19).
December 2013 through early February 2014, Godwin sought and
was approved for intermittent leave under the Family Medical
Leave Act (“FMLA”) as a result of her contracting
the flu and then pneumonia. (Doc. 22-2 at 8, 26-27).
Beginning February 6, 2014 through April 28, 2014, Godwin was
away from work on FMLA leave. (Doc. 22-2 at 26-27).
to Godwin taking her FMLA leave in February 2014, Darrell
LeGrand (“LeGrand”), an inmate at Fountain,
completed a sick call request form on January 27, 2014, in
which he asked to see a doctor and get his medication
prescription renewed. (Doc. 22-2 at 9-10, 31-32, 43, 53).
Corizon policy requires that, when an inmate fills out a sick
call request form and requests to see a physician, the
on-call nurse must assess the inmate (including taking the
inmate's vital signs) prior to the inmate being seen by a
physician. (Doc. 22-2 at 25, 47, 53-54). Corizon policy
further requires that, when performing a physical on an
inmate in response to a sick call request, the nurse must
remove the inmate from his cell and take him to a screening
room or other designated area for the physical examination.
(Doc. 22-2 at 37, 47, 53, 58). Corizon policy prohibits a
nurse from obtaining an inmate's vital signs at the cell
or through the prison cell door for reasons of privacy and
security. (Doc. 22-2 at 34, 37, 47-48, 53, 58). Corizon
policy, and Fountain prison regulations, also require that an
ADOC officer accompany any nurse who enters the segregation
unit to remove an inmate from his cell in order to perform a
medical assessment of that inmate. (Doc. 22-2 at 25, 48, 53).
January 28, 2014, inmate LeGrand submitted a written medical
grievance to Corizon stating that, on January 27, 2014,
nothing had been done in response to his sick call request.
Inmate LeGrand stated: “Nurse Goodin (sic) was working
3-11 shift and claim she did an assessment on me. I'm
stating that Nurse Godwin never did any assessment on me. I
was never asked [nor] was I taken out of my
cell.” (Doc. 22-2 at 31, 65, 67).
receiving LeGrand's medical grievance, Corizon began an
investigation into the incident. (Doc. 22-2 at 32, 54, 67).
The investigation was led by Director of Nursing Kevin Baugh
and Health Services Administrator Katherine
Gibson. (Doc. 22-2 at 23, 26, 54). In her capacity
as Health Services Administrator, Gibson was the highest
ranking Corizon employee at Fountain. She oversaw the entire
healthcare unit at Fountain, including the nursing and
day-to-day operations of the Fountain healthcare facilities.
(Doc. 22-2 at 23-24). Kevin Baugh was the Director of Nursing
at Fountain from August 2013 until approximately August 2014.
(Doc. 22-2 at 52). As Director of Nursing, all of the nursing
staff at Fountain reported to him. (Id.).
began its investigation into inmate LeGrand's medical
grievance by pulling the sick call log,  LeGrand's
medical chart, and the nursing encounter tool for LeGrand,
which was dated January 27, 2014, and signed by Godwin. (Doc.
22-2 at 32-33, 36). Corizon also pulled the ADOC logs for
January 27, 2014, which did not reflect that a sick call was
made. (Doc. 22-2 at 36). The ADOC logs showed that ADOC
Correctional Officer Larry Brooks was on duty during the same
time period, and therefore would have been the officer
assigned to accompany Godwin had she gone into the
segregation unit to take LeGrand's vital signs. (Doc.
22-2 at 36, 55-56, 61-62). It is undisputed that whenever a
nurse has to go into the segregation unit, the nurse must be
accompanied by an ADOC officer. (Doc. 22-2 at 10).
discussed the matter with the warden at Fountain. Thereafter,
the warden gave Gibson a statement from Officer Brooks, who
confirmed that he was on duty on January 27, 2014, that he
had accompanied Godwin on her rounds in the segregation unit
on that day, and that Godwin did not perform any type of
medical assessment on inmate LeGrand. (Doc. 22-2 at 56,
Director of Nursing Baugh interviewed Officer Brooks
directly. He again confirmed that Godwin did not take inmate
LeGrand's vital signs and did not perform any kind of
medical or physical assessment on LeGrand either at cell door
or in the screening room per Corizon policy. (Doc. 22-2 at
also reviewed the security camera footage for the lobby in
the segregation unit for January 27, 2014. It revealed that
inmate LeGrand was not removed from his cell by Godwin in
order to take his vital signs, as required by Corizon's
policies governing medical assessments on inmates. (Doc. 22-2
at 34-35, 37, 47, 54-55, 58). According to Plaintiff, Officer
Canon, not Officer Brooks, accompanied her to the segregation
unit on January 27, 2014, while she performed the medical
assessment on inmate LeGrand through the cell door. (Doc.
22-2 at 10-11). Per Plaintiff, she did not remove inmate
LeGrand from his cell or take him to the screening room or
any other designated assessment area. Instead, she completed
the entire medical assessment (including taking his oxygen
saturation rate, blood pressure, and temperature) through the
door of the inmate's cell as he stuck his arm out of the
cell. (Doc. 22-2 at 10).
result of its investigation, Corizon concluded that Godwin
had failed to perform a medical assessment of inmate LeGrand
and had fraudulently completed LeGrand's medical chart to
cover up that fact. (Doc. 22-2 at 30-31, 58, 69). On February
21, 2014, Health Services Administrator Gibson and Director
of Nursing Baugh recommended to Corizon's corporate
office that Godwin be terminated. (Doc. 22-2 at 69).
March 10, 2014, Plaintiff filed an EEOC charge alleging that
she had been discriminated against by two Corizon nurse
supervisors who were African American. (Doc. 22-2 at
71). Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that one of the African
American supervisors yelled at her, and two African American
co-workers physically assaulted her; yet, Corizon failed to
take any action. (Id.) She further asserted that the
other African American supervisor assigned her more patients
than her African American co-workers because of her race.
recommendation of Health Services Administrator Gibson and
Director of Nursing Baugh, and upon approval from Corizon
Human Resources, Plaintiff was terminated on April 29, 2014,
the day she returned from her FMLA leave. (Doc. 22-2 at 4,
30-31, 40, 69). On October 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed another
EEOC charge alleging that she had been terminated for filing
previous EEOC charges and because she was disabled. (Doc.
22-2 at ...