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Webb v. Siddiq

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

May 24, 2018

JIMMY LEE WEBB, #137 198, Plaintiff,
T. SIDDIQ, MD, DOCTOR, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Jimmy Webb ["Webb"], a state inmate incarcerated at the Bullock Correctional Facility in Union Springs, Alabama, brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Dr. Tahir Siddiq. Webb alleges Dr. Siddiq violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to provide him with adequate medical care for a serious medical need-hepatitis C. Webb sues Dr. Siddiq in his official and individual capacities seeking damages, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees. Doc. 1.

         Dr. Siddiq filed a special report and supplemental special report. Docs. 11, 22. The court entered an order which provided Webb an opportunity to file a response to Dr. Siddiq's special report, as supplemented. Docs. 12, 23. This order advised Webb his response should be supported by affidavits or statements made under penalty of perjury and other evidentiary materials. Doc. 12 at 3. This order further cautioned Webb that unless "sufficient legal cause" is shown within ten days of entry of this order "why such action should not be undertaken, the court may at any time [after expiration of the time for his filing a response to this order] and without further notice to the parties (1) treat the special report[s] and any supporting evidentiary materials as a [dispositive] motion . . . and (2) after considering any response as allowed by this order, rule on the motion in accordance with law." Doc. 12 at 3-4. Webb responded to Dr. Siddiq's reports, see Docs. 14, 24, 25, but his responses do not demonstrate there is any genuine dispute of material fact. See Doc. 12 at 3.


         "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 genuine [dispute] as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Greenbergv. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) ("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."). 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 indicating there is no dispute of material fact or by showing the non-moving party has failed to present evidence to support some element on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-324.

         Defendant has met his evidentiary burden. Thus, the burden shifts to 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; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3); Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-594 (11th Cir. 1995) (holding that, once the moving party meets its burden, "the non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by its own affidavits [or sworn statements], or by depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file," demonstrate there is a genuine dispute of material fact) (internal quotations omitted). This court will also consider "specific facts" pled in a plaintiffs sworn complaint when considering his opposition to summary judgment. Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when the non-moving party produces evidence that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in its favor. Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263; Allen v. Bd. of Public Educ, 495 F.3d 1306, 1313 (11th Cir. 2007).

         Although 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 by sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact. See Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 525 (2006); Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1990). Webb's pro se status alone does not compel this court to disregard elementary principles of production and proof in a civil case.


         A. Eighth Amendment Claim Against Defendant in His Official Capacity

         Webb brings suit against Dr. Siddiq in his official and individual capacity. Doc. 1 at 7. Official capacity lawsuits are "in all respects other than name, ... treated as a suit against the entity." Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985). State officials may not be sued in their official capacity unless the state has waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity or unless Congress has abrogated the state's immunity, and neither has occurred in this case. See Lancaster v. Monroe County, 116 F.3d 1419, 1429 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 59 (1996) (discussing abrogation by Congress); Pennhurst State School & Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984) (discussing Eleventh Amendment immunity); Carr v. City of Florence, 916 F.2d 1521, 1525 (11th Cir. 1990) (Alabama has not waived Eleventh Amendment immunity)). In light of the foregoing, Dr. Siddiq is a state actor entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment for Webb's Eighth Amendment claims seeking monetary damages from him in his official capacity. The claims for money damages brought against Dr. Siddiq in his official capacity is, therefore, due to be dismissed.

         B. Eighth Amendment Claim Against Defendant in His Individual Capacity[1]

         Webb signed up for sick call in May of 2015 seeking treatment for "Hep-C." Dr. Siddiq discussed Webb's request for treatment during which time Webb informed the physician that a drug called Sovaldi had been discovered as a cure for hepatitis C. Dr. Siddiq informed Webb there is no cure for hepatitis C, and he would not treat Webb at all. Webb alleges Dr. Siddiq's conduct amounted to deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs because the physician refused to treat him per his request "and prior to signing a 'consent form' to treatment for 'Hep-C" Webb contends Dr. Siddiq knew of his serious medical needs based on his medical records which indicated he had been diagnosed with hepatitis C and yet refused to provide treatment. Doc. 1.

         Dr. Siddiq is the Medical Director at Bullock, a position he has held since 2003. Dr. Siddiq is familiar with Webb having examined him and treated him at Bullock regarding his medical needs and concerns. The evidentiary materials filed by Dr. Siddiq address the allegations made by Webb. A thorough review of these documents and records demonstrate the affidavits submitted by Dr. Siddiq describing the treatment provided to Webb are corroborated by the objective medical records compiled contemporaneously with such treatment. Docs. 11-1, 11-3, 22-1.

         At the outset, Dr. Siddiq explains that his role in the treatment decisions regarding infectious disease inmate-patients is limited. The primary treatment decisions for infectious disease inmate-patients are made by a board-certified infectious disease specialist employed solely for this purpose by the Alabama Department of Corrections ["ADOC"]. Dr. Siddiq's role related to treatment of infectious disease inmate-patients includes a very basic evaluation and, upon receiving consent for treatment by the inmate-patient, Dr. Siddiq refers the inmate-patient for a more thorough evaluation by the infectious disease specialist. After a referral has been made Dr. Siddiq's ...

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