Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tullis v. Corizon Healthcare

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

January 25, 2018

LISA McKINLEY TULLIS, #280307 Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTHCARE, et al., Defendants.

          RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER

          CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Lisa McKinley Tullis (“Tullis”) brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that while she was an inmate of the Tutwiler Correctional Facility (“Tutwiler”) in Wetumpka, Alabama, medical providers were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs. Tullis filed an amended complaint that supersedes the claims in her original complaint, as ordered by the court. Doc. Nos. 9, 15, 16, 17, 18. Tullis named three defendants in her amended complaint: Nurse Carter, Nurse Jackson, and an unnamed Pharmacist. Doc. No. 16, at 2. Tullis did not clarify if she was suing defendants in their individual or official capacities. She sought compensation for “pain suffering, mental anguish, emotional stress.” Id. at 4.

         The court allowed the case to go forward against Defendants Corizon, Inc., Carter, and Jackson. Doc. No. 18. In accordance with orders of the court, Defendants Corizon (“Corizon”), LLC, Vicky Carter (“Carter”), and Lynda Jackson (“Jackson”) filed an answer, special reports, supplemental special report, and supporting evidentiary material in response to Tullis's allegations. Doc. Nos. 27, 30, 32.

         The court informed Tullis that the defendants' special reports would, at some time, be treated as a dispositive motion; the court explained the proper manner in which to respond to a motion for summary judgment; and the court directed Tullis to respond to the defendants' reports. Doc. No. 33. Tullis responded. Doc. No. 34.

         This case is now pending before the court on the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Upon consideration of the motion, the plaintiff's response to it, and the evidentiary materials filed in support and in opposition to the motion, the court concludes that the defendants' motion for summary judgment is due to be granted.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Summary judgment is appropriate ‘if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no [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 to former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 omitted; “issue” altered to “dispute” to reflect the stylistic change in the current rule). 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) (alterations added). The movant may meet this burden by presenting evidence 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 322-24.

         The defendants have met their evidentiary burden and demonstrated the absence of any genuine dispute of material fact. Thus, the burden shifts to Tullis to establish, with appropriate evidence beyond the pleadings, that a genuine dispute material to the case exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3) (“If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact [by citing to materials in the record including affidavits, relevant documents or other materials], the court may . . . grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials--including the facts considered undisputed--show that the movant is entitled to it . . . .”); see also Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014) (court considers facts pled in a plaintiff's sworn complaint when considering his opposition to summary judgment”). 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. The evidence must be admissible at trial, and if the nonmoving party's evidence “is merely colorable . . . or is not significantly probative . . . summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249- 50 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). “A mere ‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing party's position will not suffice . . . .” Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252). Conclusory allegations based on subjective beliefs are likewise insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact. Holifield v. Reno, 115 F.3d 1555, 1564 n.6 (11th Cir. 1997) (per curiam). Only disputes involving material facts are relevant, and what is material is determined by the substantive law applicable to the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. 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. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         “The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Although factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party and pro se complaints are entitled to liberal interpretation by the court, a pro se litigant does not escape the burden of sufficiently establishing a genuine dispute of material fact. Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1990). Thus, a plaintiff's pro se status alone does not mandate this court's disregard of elementary principles of production and proof in a civil case. In this case, Tullis fails to demonstrate a requisite genuine dispute of material so as to preclude summary judgment on her claims against the defendants. See Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587.

         III. SUMMARY OF MATERIAL FACTS

         Tullis is an inmate of the Alabama Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) at Tutwiler and was incarcerated at Tutwiler during the time alleged in the complaint. Defendant Jackson is a registered nurse licensed in the State of Alabama and employed by Corizon as the Director of Nursing at Tutweiler. Doc. No. 32-1 at 2. Defendant Corizon holds a contract with the ADOC to provide health care to inmates in its facilities. Id. at 2-3. Defendant Carter is a licensed practical nurse in the State of Alabama and employed by Corizon as an LPN at Tutwiler. Doc. No. 32-2, at 1.

         David Gams is a medical doctor licensed in the state of Alabama and employed by Corizon at Tutwiler. Doc. No. 30-1, at 2. He is not a defendant in this case, but he submitted an affidavit in support of the defendant's motion for summary judgment. On June 13, 2015, as part of the annual vaccination plan, defendant Carter administered a tuberculosis (“TB”) skin test to Tullis. Id. at 3. Dr. Gams explains that the TB skin test determines whether a person has been exposed to TB. Id. The test consists of putting a small amount of TB protein (antigens) under the top layer of skin on the inner forearm. Id. If the person has been exposed to TB, the skin reacts by developing a firm red bump at the site within two days. Id. The TB antigens used in the test are called “purified protein derivative (PPD).” Id. at 4. The TB test cannot tell how long someone has been infected with TB or if the infection is inactive or transmittable. Id. Some people may react to the TB skin test even if they are not infected with TB. Id. Dr. Gams states, “[i]n general, there is no risk associated with repeated tuberculin skin test placements.” Id.

         Tullis's results were read on June 15, 2015, and showed a bump of ten millimeters. Id. A bump of ten or more millimeters is considered a positive reaction in residents and employees of high risk congregate settings. Id. Based on the positive reading, a follow-up TB skin test was performed on June 30, 2015. Id. at 5. The results were negative, but the results inadvertently were not entered into the annual vaccination record. Id. Because the follow-up test on June 30, 2015, was not documented, Tullis had a third TB skin test on October 12, 2015. Id. The result showed a bump of five millimeters. This indicates no further treatment or follow up is needed. Id. Dr. Gams avers, “[i]t is unfortunate that a false positive skin test was read of Ms. Tullis for the first TB test taken on June 13, 2015. However, false positive readings for TB are not unusual and the false reading did not result in any treatment of Ms. Tullis or the application of any medications.” Id. He avers that because ADOC inmates are confined, Corizon takes seriously its testing and treatment of inmates for TB. Id. Dr. Gams states inmates are ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.