United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
U.S.C. § 1983 action is before the court on a complaint
filed by Charles Madison, a state inmate, in which he alleges
the defendants violated his constitutional rights by failing
to provide him medical treatment for “bleeding
ulcers” in March 2016 at the Easterling Correctional
Facility. Doc. 1 at 3. Madison also appears to challenge the
constitutionality of the assessment and collection of a $4
medical co-payment undertaken by the Alabama Department of
Corrections for medical treatment provided to him on May 25,
2016. Docs. 1 at 3 & 17 at 4. Madison names as defendants
Nurse Mona Payne, Nurse Kay Wilson, Dr. Jean Darbouze, all
medical personnel employed at Easterling during the time
period relevant to the complaint, and Corizon Health, the
contract medical provider at the time of his treatment.
Madison seeks a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in
the form of proper medical care. Doc. 1 at 4.
defendants filed a special report and relevant evidentiary
materials in support of their report, including affidavits
and certified copies of Madison's medical records,
addressing the deliberate indifference claim presented
against them. In these documents, the defendants assert that
they provided medical treatment to Madison in accordance with
their professional judgment and deny any violation of
Madison's constitutional rights.
reviewing the defendants' special report and supporting
exhibits, the court issued an order directing Madison to file
a response to the arguments set forth by the defendants in
their report and advising him that this response should be
supported by affidavits or statements made under penalty of
perjury and other evidentiary materials. Doc. 13 at 2. The
order specifically cautioned that “unless within
fifteen (15) days from the date of this order a party . . .
presents sufficient legal cause why such action should not be
undertaken . . . the court may at any time [after expiration
of the time for the plaintiff filing a response to this
order] and without further notice to the parties (1) treat
the special report and any supporting evidentiary materials
as a motion for summary judgment and (2) after considering
any response as allowed by this order, rule on the motion for
summary judgment in accordance with the law.” Doc. 13
at 3. Madison filed an unsworn response to this order on
August 26, 2016 (Doc. 14), and submitted exhibits in support
of his response on September 9, 2016. Doc. 17 at 4-6.
to the directives of the aforementioned order, the court now
treats the defendants' special report as a motion for
summary judgment and concludes that summary judgment is due
to be granted in favor of the defendants.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
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) (internal quotation marks
omitted); Rule 56(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. (“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 issue [dispute] of material fact.” Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Jeffery
v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593 (11th Cir.
1995) (holding that the moving party has the initial burden
of showing there is no genuine dispute of material fact for
trial). 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
appropriate evidence in support of some element of its case
on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-24; Moton v.
Cowart, 631 F.3d 1337, 1341 (11th Cir. 2011) (holding
that moving party discharges his burden by showing the record
lacks evidence to support the nonmoving party's case or
the nonmoving party would be unable to prove his case at
the defendants meet their evidentiary burden, as they have in
this case, 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; Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)(3); Jeffery, 64 F.3d at 593-94 (holding that,
once a moving party meets its burden, “the non-moving
party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by its own
affidavits [or statements made under penalty of perjury], or
by depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, ” demonstrate that there is a genuine dispute of
material fact). 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 authorities. 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). This court also will consider “specific
facts” pleaded in a plaintiff's 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 nonmoving party produces evidence that would
allow a reasonable factfinder to return a verdict in its
favor such that summary judgment is not warranted.
Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263; Allen v. Bd. of
Pub. Educ. for Bibb Cnty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1313 (11th
Cir. 2007). “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).
“[T]here must exist a conflict in substantial evidence
to pose a jury question.” Hall v. Sunjoy Indus.
Group, Inc., 764 F.Supp.2d 1297, 1301 (M.D. Fla. 2011)
(citation omitted). “When 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 (2007).
factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable
to the plaintiff and pro se complaints are entitled
to liberal interpretation, a pro se litigant does
not escape the burden of establishing by sufficient evidence
a genuine dispute of material fact. See Beard, 548
U.S. at 525; Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670
(11th Cir. 1990). Thus, Madison's pro se status
alone does not compel this court to disregard elementary
principles of production and proof in a civil case.
court has undertaken a thorough and exhaustive review of all
the evidence contained in the record. After this review, the
court finds that Madison has failed to demonstrate a genuine
dispute of material fact in order to preclude entry of
summary judgment in favor of the defendants.
alleges that the defendants denied him “proper
treatment for [his] bleeding ulcers here at Easterling . . .
[on or about] March 27, 2016.” Doc. 1 at 3. In their
response, the defendants deny acting with deliberate
indifference to Madison's medical needs.
prevail on a claim concerning an alleged denial of medical
treatment, an inmate must-at a minimum-show that the
defendant acted with deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976);
Taylor v. Adams, 221 F.3d 1254 (11th Cir. 2000);
McElligott v. Foley, 182 F.3d 1248 (11th Cir. 1999);
Waldrop v. Evans, 871 F.2d 1030, 1033 (11th Cir.
1989). Medical personnel may not subject an inmate to
“acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.”
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106; Adams v. Poag, 61
F.3d 1537, 1546 (11th Cir. 1995) (holding, as directed by
Estelle, that a plaintiff must establish “not
merely the knowledge of a condition, but the knowledge of
necessary treatment coupled with a refusal to treat or a
delay in [the acknowledged necessary] treatment”).
settled law, neither medical malpractice or negligence equate
to deliberate indifference:
That medical malpractice-negligence by a physician-is
insufficient to form the basis of a claim for deliberate
indifference is well settled. Instead, something more must be
shown. Evidence must support a conclusion that a prison
[medical care ...