United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ROBERT HOLMES BELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 19, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Timothy P.
Greeley issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) recommending that Plaintiff's
motion for partial summary judgment (ECF No. 53) and
Defendant's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 51) be
denied. (ECF No. 62.) The matter is before the Court on
Defendant Maynard's objections to the R&R. (ECF No.
Court is required to make a de novo determination of those
portions of the R&R to which specific objection has been
made, and may accept, reject, or modify any or all of the
Magistrate Judge's findings or recommendations. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “[A] general
objection to a magistrate's report, which fails to
specify the issues of contention, does not satisfy the
requirement that an objection be filed. The objections must
be clear enough to enable the district court to discern those
issues that are dispositive and contentious.”
Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 380 (6th Cir. 1995).
objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim should proceed.
Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss the claim
based on qualified immunity because Plaintiff has done
nothing more than dispute the quality of his care.
immunity is an affirmative defense that extends to government
officials performing discretionary functions. See Harlow
v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 817-18 (1982). Government
officials acting within the scope of their authority are
entitled to qualified immunity as long as their conduct does
“not violate clearly established statutory or
constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have
known.” Id. at 818. It protects “all but
the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the
law.” Humphrey v. Mabry, 482 F.3d 840, 847
(6th Cir. 2007). The Sixth Circuit applies a t w o - p a r t
test to determine whether a government official is entitled
to the defense of qualified immunity: (1) whether the
plaintiff has shown a violation of a
constitutionally-protected right; and, if so, (2) whether
that right was clearly established such that a reasonable
official would have understood that his behavior violated
that right. Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295,
299-300 (6th Cir. 1999).
Maynard argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity
because Plaintiff's claim sounds in malpractice, and
should not be constitutionalized merely because he is a
prison inmate. (ECF No. 63, PageID.503) (citing Westlake
v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 860 n.5 (6th Cir. 1976). But in
his complaint, Plaintiff does not dispute the quality of his
medical care. Rather, he alleges that Defendant Maynard was
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 102, 104-05 (1976). Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Maynard did not allow him to use crutches
while in his cell, and he slipped and fell while hopping over
the “lip” of the shower. (ECF No. 52-2,
Eighth Amendment claim has both an objective and subjective
component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994). To satisfy the objective component, the plaintiff
must allege a medical need that is sufficiently serious.
Id. Here, Plaintiff alleged a sufficiently serious
medical condition: a broken ankle. To satisfy the subjective
component, the plaintiff must show that prison officials have
“a sufficiently culpable state of mind in denying
medical care.” Brown v. Bargery, 207 F.3d 863,
867 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834). Deliberate indifference “entails something more
than mere negligence, ” but can be satisfied by
“something less than acts or omissions for the very
purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm will
result.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. The official
must be aware of both the “facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.”
Id. at 837. Defendant Maynard knew that Plaintiff
had broken his ankle, was wearing a cast, and the doctor and
nurse instructed Plaintiff to use crutches. He does not
object to his knowledge of Plaintiff's injuries or the
conditions that Plaintiff faced while incarcerated.
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment while in
confinement is clearly established. Stoudemire v. Mich.
Dep't of Corr., 614 F. App'x 798, 802-03 (6th
Cir. 2015) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
102 (1976)). Further, “[a]s a society, we have grown
increasingly sensitive to the need to accommodate individuals
with disabilities.” Id. (citing Frost v.
Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1129 (9th Cir. 1998)). For
example, several courts have held that failure to provide
handicap-accessible bathroom facilities may violate the
Eighth Amendment. See, e.g., Frost, 152 F.3d at 1129
(finding triable issue of fact regarding the failure to
provide adequate shower facilities to inmate who wore a leg
cast and used crutches); Schmidt v. Odell, 64
F.Supp.2d 1014, 1029-30 (D. Kan. 1999) (holding that double
amputee forced to crawl around the floor of the jail stated
an Eighth Amendment claim).
reasonable jury could find that Defendant Maynard was
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs. Therefore, Defendant Maynard's request for
qualified immunity is denied. See Stoudemire, 614 F.
App'x at 805 (“Because the record in this case
would allow a jury to infer deliberate indifference to
[Plaintiff's] serious medical needs, we hold that the
district court properly denied [Defendant's] request for
R&R accurately recites the facts and correctly applies
pertinent law. The Court finds the R&R to be
well-reasoned, and Defendant Maynard's objection is
without merit. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Defendant's objection to the R&R (ECF No. 63) is
FURTHER ORDERED that the R&R (ECF No. 62) is APPROVED and
ADOPTED as the opinion of the Court.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for partial