United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
W. MILLING, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Steven Wayne Eller, an Alabama prison inmate proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis, filed his
Complaint under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983. (Docs.
1, 4). This action was referred to the undersigned pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72(a)(2)(R),
and is now before the undersigned on Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 19). After careful review of the
pleadings, and for the reasons set out below, it is ordered
that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be
granted in favor of Defendant Stone and that
the claims asserted against Defendant Stone be
dismissed with prejudice.
Complaint, Plaintiff Eller alleges that Dr. Karen Stone
released him from the healthcare ward prematurely,
specifically while he was still bleeding and recovering from
surgery. (Doc. 4 at 4). Plaintiff Eller was housed in general
population approximately a week and was then readmitted to
the healthcare unit ward after developing an infection, which
required emergency surgery. (Id.). Plaintiff Eller
is suing Dr. Stone for “not doing a proper job.”
(Id. at 6).
Stone has answered the suit, denied the allegations against
her, and filed a special report in support of her position
(Docs. 10, 14), and the Court has converted Defendant
Stone's pleadings into a Motion for Summary Judgment.
(Doc. 19). Plaintiff Eller has failed to respond to or oppose
the motion for summary judgment (despite being granted an
extension of time). (Doc. 20). After a thorough review of the
record, the Court has determined that this motion is ripe for
Summary Judgment Standard.
Judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d
202 (1986); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986);
Garczynski v. Bradshaw, 573 F.3d 1158, 1165 (2009)
("[S]ummary judgment is appropriate even if 'some
alleged factual dispute' between the parties remains, so
long as there is 'no genuine issue of material
party asking 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
'pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. The movant can meet this burden by presenting
evidence showing there is no dispute of material fact, or by
showing, or pointing out to, the district court 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.
Once the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(e)
"requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings
and by [its] own affidavits, or by the 'depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,'
designate 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.'" Id. at 324. To avoid
summary judgment, the nonmoving party "must do more than
show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538
(1986). On the other hand, the evidence of the nonmovant must
be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in
its favor. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC v. United Forming, Inc.,
926 F.Supp.2d 1286, 1289-90 (S.D. Ala. Jan. 29, 2013)
requirement to view the facts in the nonmoving party's
favor extends only to "genuine" disputes over
material facts. A genuine dispute requires more than
"some metaphysical doubt as to material facts."
Garczynski, 573 F.3d at 1165 (internal citations
omitted). A "mere scintilla" of evidence is
insufficient; the nonmoving party must produce substantial
evidence in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment.
Id. In addition, "[t]here is no burden upon the
district court to distill every potential argument that could
be made based upon the materials before it on summary
judgment." Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar
Corp., 43 F.3d 587, 599 (11th Cir. 1995). More
importantly, where "opposing parties tell two different
stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the
record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court
should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of
ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167
L.Ed.2d 686 (2007); see also Logan v. Smith, 439
Fed.Appx. 798, 800 (11th Cir. Aug. 29, 2011) ("In cases
where opposing parties tell different versions of the same
events one of which is blatantly contradicted by the
record-such that no reasonable jury could believe it-a court
should not adopt the contradicted allegations."
(citations omitted) (unpublished)).
to Plaintiff Eller, he has suffered from right hip
dislocation issues since his confinement within the Alabama
Department of Corrections (ADOC) in January 2004. (Doc. 1 at
8). In 2008, while incarcerated at Fountain Correctional
Facility (“Fountain”), the ADOC began providing
custom-fit prosthetic “lift shoes” (annually) to
treat his hip issues. (Doc. 1 at 8). Plaintiff Eller's
lift shoes, however, were “thrown away” by ADOC
staff in December 2015, and Plaintiff was reevaluated in the
healthcare unit for possible surgical treatment options for
his dislocated hip. (Id. at 9; Doc. 14-2 at 10, 12).
Eller alleges he was evaluated by an orthopedic specialist,
Dr. Xing, in March of 2016 and, due to an infection in his
hip, revision of his hip replacement was not possible at that
time. (Doc. 1 at 9). Dr. Xing recommended exploratory surgery
of the hip, removal of the infected prosthesis, antibiotic
spacer placement, and IV antibiotics for 6-8 weeks to clear
up the infection. (Id. at 10). The surgery was
conducted in April of 2016 and was successful.
(Id.). After months of antibiotic treatment and
monitoring by Fountain staff and outside specialists,
Plaintiff's infection cleared, and Plaintiff Eller was
approved for a total hip replacement. Dr. Xing attempted to
revise Plaintiff's right total hip in August of 2016, but
was unable to complete the surgery due to the inadequate
amount pelvic bone in place. (Id.). Instead, Dr.
Xing inserted cadaver bone in place of Plaintiff's pelvic
bone and planned to reattempt a total hip revision in 6 to 12
months if the cadaver bone was strong enough to support the
total hip replacement. (Id.).
during this postoperative period that Plaintiff's suit
the surgery, Plaintiff Eller was admitted to Fountain's
infirmary for three days and then released to general
population. (Id.). Plaintiff Eller maintains that
Dr. Stone acted with deliberate indifference in discharging
him from the infirmary while he still had staples and
drainings at the surgical site and that she is thereby liable
for the staph infection he contracted after leaving the
infirmary. (Id.). Plaintiff Eller claims he has
suffered excessive pain due to having to wait a year for
total hip replacement and for not having proper living
conditions (Id.); thus, the Court will
analyze Plaintiff's claim as a claim for denied medical
care in violation of the Eighth Amendment.