United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, inmate plaintiff Billy Wayne
Stanfield (“Stanfield”), complains that the
defendants violated his rights secured by the Eighth
Amendment when they were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs by failing to treat his skin cancer.
Stanfield names as defendants Dr. Jean Darbouze, Medical
Director at Easterling Correctional Facility, Dr. Hugh Hood,
Associate Regional Medical Director, and Corrections Medical
Services, Inc. Stanfield seeks compensatory and punitive
damages. The court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) and M.D.
Ala. LR 73.1, the parties have consented to the United States
Magistrate Judge conducting all proceedings in this case and
ordering the entry of final judgment.
to the orders of this court, the defendants filed a written
special report, as supplemented, and supporting evidentiary
materials addressing the plaintiff's claims. In
accordance with the order entered on September 2, 2014 (doc.
# 4), the court now deems it appropriate to treat the
defendants' special report as supplemented as a motion
for summary judgment. The plaintiff was provided an
opportunity to respond to the motion as supplemented and has
done so. Upon consideration of the motion, pleadings,
responses and evidentiary material filed in support of and in
opposition to the motion, the court concludes that the motion
for summary judgment is due to be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate ‘if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine
[dispute] 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 his case on which he bears the
ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-324.
the defendants meet their evidentiary burden and demonstrate
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 his case exists. Clark v. Coats & Clark,
Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991);
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. 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 1263.
In civil actions filed by inmates, federal courts
must distinguish between evidence of disputed facts and
disputed matters of professional judgment. In respect to the
latter, our inferences must accord deference to the views of
prison [medical personnel]. Unless a prisoner can point to
sufficient evidence regarding such issues of judgment to
allow him to prevail on the merits, he cannot prevail at the
summary judgment stage.
Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 530 (2006) (internal
citation omitted). Consequently, to survive the
defendants' properly supported motion for summary
judgment, Stanfield is required to produce “sufficient
[favorable] evidence” which would be admissible at
trial supporting his claims of constitutional violations.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986). “If the evidence [on which the nonmoving party
relies] is merely colorable . . . or is not significantly
probative . . . summary judgment may be granted.”
Id. at 249-250. “A mere ‘scintilla'
of evidence supporting the opposing party's position will
not suffice; there must be enough of a showing that the
[trier of fact] could reasonably find for that party.”
Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1576-1577 (11th Cir.
1990) quoting Anderson, supra. Hence, when
a plaintiff fails to set forth specific facts supported by
appropriate evidence sufficient to establish the existence of
an element essential to his case and on which he will bear
the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment is due to be
granted in favor of the moving party. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322 (“[F]ailure of proof concerning an
essential element of the nonmoving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”);
Barnes v. Southwest Forest Indus., Inc., 814 F.2d
607, 609 (11th Cir. 1987) (if on any part of the prima facie
case the plaintiff presents insufficient evidence to require
submission of the case to the trier of fact, granting of
summary judgment is appropriate).
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).
factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable
to the non-moving party, and pro se complaints are
entitled to liberal interpretation by the courts, a pro
se litigant does not escape the burden of establishing a
genuine dispute of material fact. Beard, 548 U.S. at
525; Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir.
1990). Thus, the plaintiff's pro se status alone
does not mandate this court's disregard of elementary
principles of production and proof in a civil case.
was incarcerated at the Easterling Correctional Facility when
he first complained to the medical staff of a skin condition.
On January, 2, 2013, Stanfield completed a health services
request form indicating that he was having skin problems when
he shaved. (Doc. # 11-3, Ex. A at 9). Stanfield was seen by a
nurse and referred to the doctor. (Id.) On January
7, 2013, Stanfield refused a medical appointment.
(Id. at 14). On January 14, 2013, Stanfield did not
appear for his scheduled appointment with the doctor.
(Id. at 15).
March 11, 2013, Stanfield complained that he was still
experiencing “spots” on his face that were
burning and itching. (Id. at 16). He did not,
however, show up for sick call on March 12, 2013.
(Id. at 17).
April 18, 2013, Stanfield completed another health service
request form complaining that the rash on his face burned.
(Id. at 21). The nurse noted the rash and that
Stanfield had previously been treated with an antifungal
cream. (Id. at 22). He was given Tolnaftate cream.
(Id. at 23). On April 26, 2013, Stanfield completed
a health service request form requesting treatment for the
rash. (Id. at 24). However, he also refused to
attend sick call. (Id. at 25).
10, 2013, Stanfield submitted a health service request form
in which he indicated that the rash on his face was not
getting any better; that another spot under his right eye had
developed; and he had red bumps on his face. (Id. at
26). Although the antifungal cream helped with the itching,
the rash was still present and Stanfield asked to see a
20, 2013, Dr. Darbouze examined Stanfield and requested an
appointment with a free world dermatologist be made for him.
(Id. at 29). A consultative appointment with Dr.
Thomas Taylor was scheduled that day for June 26, 2013.
(Id. at 30). On June 8, 2013, Stanfield submitted a
health service request form complaining about the rash on his
face because it ...