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Heggie v. Kuzma

April 1, 2010

GLENN HEGGIE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE KUZMA, IN INDIVIDUAL & OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, UNKNOWN HEEBSH, IN INDIVIDUAL & OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, UNKNOWN HOBBS, IN INDIVIDUAL & OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, JASON Y. KIM, IN INDIVIDUAL & OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, UNKNOWN SPITTERS, INDIVIDUAL & OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Paul L. Maloney Chief United States District Judge

HONORABLE PAUL L. MALONEY

Magistrate Judge Carmody

Opinion and Order

" Heggie 3 "

Adopting the Third R&R over Plaintiff's Objections;

Granting the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Kuzma, Heebsh, Kim and Spitters;

Granting the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendant Hobbs;

Entering Final Judgment in Favor of All Defendants;

Terminating and Closing the Case

According to the complaint, plaintiff Glenn Heggie ("Heggie") arrived at the Michigan Department of Corrections ("MDOC") Receiving and Guidance Center on March 1, 2006, and informed medical personnel that he had begun to suffer seizures "in the last several months", whereupon they assigned him to a ground-level bunk and told him to also request a ground-level bunk when he was transferred to another facility. On April 5, 2006, Heggie was transferred to the Lakeland Correctional Facility ("LCF"); defendant Hobbs examined Heggie and honored his request for a bottom bunk due to his reported seizures, but the next day Heggie was moved to a different unit and assigned a top bunk. Heggie complained to defendant Brecheisen, who called LCF Health Services several times over several days and received no meaningful response.

Heggie remained sleeping in a top bunk, and on May 20, 2006, he suffered a seizure and fell out of bed, injuring his head, neck and back. Heggie was X-rayed and examined by defendants Hobbs and Sarah Hope Heebsh, P.A. ("PA Heebsh"). Heebsh observed that Heggie's pupils were extremely dilated, which she took to be a sign of head trauma, and she promised to order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, but instead ordered only chest X-rays. For about a month, Heggie complained to LCF staff, including George Kuzma, M.D. ("Dr. Kuzma"), Hobbs, PA Heebsh, and Leas, that he was experiencing severe back pain, headaches and dizzy spells, but they refused to provide further examinations or tests. On an unspecified date during this period, Heggie took a urine test which revealed blood in the urine, which Dr. Kuzma told him could have resulted from injuries suffered in the May 20, 2006 fall out of the top bunk.

In June 2006, Heggie was transferred to the Muskegon Correctional Facility ("MCF"), immediately told the MCF Health Service -- including Hamilton, Cooper, Meyer, Jason Y. Kim, M.D. ("Dr. Kim"), and Physician's Assistant Daniel Spitters ("PA Spitters") -- that he had persistent chronic back pain, headaches, dizzy spells, and other neurological problems that sometimes caused him to forget who and where he was, but they refused to provide any medical tests or pain treatment.

In October 2007, Heggie sued the Michigan Department of Corrections ("MDOC"), Correctional Medical Services ("CMS"), and numerous employees thereof (collectively "the CMS defendants"), contending that their refusal to provide appropriate medical treatment for his known serious conditions violated his Eighth Amendment to be free of cruel and unusual punishment.

Defendants CMS, Dr. Kuzma, Dr. Kim, PA Heebsh, and PA Spitters moved for summary judgment on the ground that Heggie failed to exhaust his administrative remedies on his claims against them.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and W.D. MICH. LCIVR 72.2(b), the matter was automatically referred to United States Magistrate Judge Ellen S. Carmody, who issued her Report and Recommendation ("the first R&R") in November 2008. In December 2008, defendants CMS, Dr. Kuzma, Dr. Kim, PA Heebsh, and PA Spitters timely filed objections to the first R&R.

By opinion issued in January 2009, this court sustained the defendants' objections to the first R&R in part and overruled them in part. Namely, the court agreed with the Magistrate Judge that failure to exhaust administrative remedies was not a basis for preventing Heggie from pursuing his claim that the moving defendants failed to provide him with necessary medical care from May 20 through June 20, 2006. See Heggie v. MDOC & CMS et al., 2009 WL 36612, *2-5 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 5, 2009) (Maloney, C.J.) ("Heggie I"). The court remanded to the Magistrate Judge, however, for consideration of the defendants' FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted as to the merits of his Eighth Amendment / 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") claims. Heggie I, 2009 WL 36612 at *6.

On January 23, 2009, the Magistrate Judge issued the second R&R in this case, recommending that the court grant in part and deny in part the motion to dismiss filed by the CMS defendants, and grant in part and deny in part the motion for summary judgment filed by the MDOC defendants. Heggie made clear that he "does not object to the entire R&R but more specifically" only the recommendations regarding four individual defendants (Heebsh, Kim & Spitters, and Brecheisen). See Heggie's Objections to Second R&R ("P's Objections") at 1 ¶ 4.

This court overruled both Heggie's objections and the CMS Defendants' objections to the second R&R. The court adopted the second R&R, granting in part and denying in part the CMS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and the MDOC Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. The result was dismissal of all defendants except Kuzma, Heebsh, Kim, Spitters and Hobbs. See Heggie v. Kuzma et al., No. 1:2007-cv-1024 Doc. 101, 2009 WL 594908 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 6, 2009) (Maloney, C.J.) ("Heggie 2").

In Heggie 2, this court held as follows with regard to MDOC employee Dr. Kuzma, M.D.'s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim:

Heggie has stated an Eighth Amendment cruel-and-unusual-punishment claim on which relief could be granted against MDOC employee Dr. Kuzma, M.D. The Magistrate properly applied the two-prong test which applies to a prisoner's claim that a prison employee violated his Eighth Amendment rights by exhibiting deliberate indifference to the prisoner's serious medical needs. See R&R at 7-8. The Magistrate assumed arguendo, as does this court, that Heggie satisfies the first prong, which requires an objective showing that the denial of medical care posed a substantial risk of serious harm. See R&R at 8; see also Perez v. Oakland Cty., 466 F.3d 416, 423-24 (6th Cir. 2006) (Cudahy, J., with Griffin & Moore, JJ., concurring separately in pertinent part, and Moore, J., dissenting in part on other grounds) (discussing objective prong and defining when a medical need is "serious") (citations omitted).

This court also agrees that Heggie satisfies the second prong, which requires a showing that Dr. Kuzma actually subjectively knew that Heggie faced a substantial risk of serious harm if not given proper medical treatment and disregarded that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to ameliorate it. See R&R at 8.*fn1 The Magistrate was careful to note that mere negligence by Dr. Kuzma is not actionable under the Eighth Amendment, R&R at 8. See also Baker v. Vanderark, 2008 WL 2788528, *7 (W.D. Mich. July 17, 2008) (Maloney, J.) ("[T]o the extent that Plaintiff merely disagrees with the treatment he received, or asserts that he received negligent care, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.") (citing, inter alia, Perez., 466 F.3d at 423); see, e.g., Thomas v. Webb, 39 F. App'x 255 (6th Cir. 2002) (Boggs, Batchelder, D.J. Steeh) (where prisoner's ...


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