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Jennings v. Crompton

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

December 1, 2017

Mark Colin Jennings, II, # 711938, Plaintiff,
Robert Crompton, Defendant.

          Honorable Robert J. Jonker Judge.


          PHILLIP J. GREEN, United States Magistrate Judge

         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendant is Doctor Robert Compton. Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from a number of physical impairments. He alleges that Dr. Compton violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause on March 18, April 7, July 8, 9, and 11, 2016, by denying him medical treatment. (ECF No. 1, PageID.9). Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and damages.[1] (Id.).

         The matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 60). Plaintiff opposes defendants' motion. (ECF No. 79, 80, 86). For the reasons stated herein, I recommend that defendant's motion be granted and that judgment be entered in his favor on all plaintiff's claims.

         Applicable Standards

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals that there are no genuine issues as to any material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); McKay v. Federspiel, 823 F.3d 862, 866 (6th Cir. 2016). The standard for determining whether summary judgment is appropriate is “whether ‘the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.' ” Rocheleau v. Elder Living Const., LLC, 814 F.3d 398, 400 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). The Court must consider all pleadings, depositions, affidavits, and admissions on file, and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); France v. Lucas, 836 F.3d 612, 624 (6th Cir. 2016).

         When the party without the burden of proof seeks summary judgment, that party bears the initial burden of pointing out to the district court an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, but need not support its motion with affidavits or other materials “negating” the opponent's claim. See Morris v. Oldham County Fiscal Court, 201 F.3d 784, 787 (6th Cir. 2000); see also Minadeo v. ICI Paints, 398 F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the movant shows that “there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, ” the nonmoving party has the burden of coming forward with evidence raising a triable issue of fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To sustain this burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on the mere allegations of his pleadings. See Ellington v. City of E. Cleveland, 689 F.3d 549, 552 (6th Cir. 2012); see also Scadden v. Warner, 677 F. App'x 996, 1001 (6th Cir. 2017). The motion for summary judgment forces the nonmoving party to present evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of fact for trial. Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1478 (6th Cir. 1990); see Newell Rubbermaid, Inc. v. Raymond Corp., 676 F.3d 521, 533 (6th Cir. 2012). “A mere scintilla of evidence is insufficient; ‘there must be evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].' ” Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252); see Brown v. Battle Creek Police Dep't, 844 F.3d 556, 565 (6th Cir. 2016).

         Preliminary Matters

         Plaintiff's complaint is not properly verified as he has interjected the limitations that the allegations are made “to the best of [his] knowledge and belief.” (See ECF No. 1, PageID.9). “[S]tatements made on belief or on information and belief, cannot be utilized on a summary-judgment motion.” Ondo v. City of Cleveland, 795 F.3d 597, 605 (6th Cir. 2015). Thus, plaintiff's complaint is not a verified complaint that could be considered as his affidavit in opposition to defendant's motion. See, e.g., Brown v. City of Grand Rapids, No. 1:13-cv-964, 2016 WL 4920144, at *3 n.3 (W.D. Mich. June 13, 2016); Naumovski v. Federal Nat'l Mort. Ass'n, No. 15-11466, 2016 WL 949220, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 14, 2016).

         “Verified” arguments and legal conclusions are not evidence. Legal conclusions, whether asserted in an affidavit or verified complaint, do not suffice to create a genuine issue of material fact for trial. See Medison Am. Inc. v. Preferred Med. Sys., LLC, 357 F. App'x 656, 662 (6th Cir. 2009); Simmons v. Rogers, No. 1:14-cv-1242, 2017 WL 1179376, at *1 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 30, 2017). “Arguments in parties' briefs are not evidence.” Duha v. Agrium, Inc., 448 F.3d 867, 879 (6th Cir. 2006).

         Plaintiff's argument that the Court should disregard all the evidence that Dr. Crompton filed in support of his motion (Plaintiff's Brief at 9-12, ECF No. 80, PageID.756-59) is rejected. Dr. Crompton's affidavit satisfies all the applicable requirements. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4). The MDOC's medical records need not be certified. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2). Plaintiff's characterization of all the medical records as “forged” (Plaintiff's Brief at 10, ECF No. 80, PageID.757) is delusional.

         Proposed Findings of Fact

         The following facts are beyond genuine issue. Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF). Robert Crompton, a licensed physician, has been employed as a medical doctor at ECF since 2009. Plaintiff arrived at ECF in February 2016. Dr. Crompton is one of the medical care providers who treated plaintiff during the period at issue, March 18, 2016, through July 11, 2016. (Crompton Aff. ¶¶ 1-3, ECF No. 60-1, PageID.529-30).

         Plaintiff has a history of refusals of treatment and medication. He has engaged in drug seeking behavior. He attempts to direct his own care, generally disagrees with medical professionals, and would prefer opiate pain medications and that his treatment and evaluations be conducted at facilities outside the prison. Because plaintiff is a demanding an argumentative patient and his objective presentation is often at odds with his subjective complaints, it ...

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