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McKissack v. Niemi

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

April 13, 2018

Derek McKissak, # 757027, Plaintiff,
v.
Ann Niemi, Defendant.

          HONORABLE PAUL L. MALONEY JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          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 Social Worker Ann Niemi. Plaintiff alleges defendant violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. Plaintiff seeks an award of damages.

         The matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 15). Plaintiff did not file a response. For the reasons stated herein, I recommend that defendant's motion be granted and that judgment be entered in her 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 Fed.Appx. 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).

         Proposed Findings of Fact

         The following facts are beyond genuine issue. Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections. In August 2015, plaintiff was an inmate at the Van Buren County Jail awaiting sentencing. (Plf. Dep. at 61, ECF No. 16-2, PageID.85). Plaintiff suffers from mental illness. (Id. at 13, PageID.78).

         On an unspecified date in August 2015, plaintiff began feeling dizzy and lightheaded after he received his medication. Plaintiff fell and broke his collarbone. (Id. at 41, 44, 61, PageID.82, 85).

         Ann Niemi is a licensed clinical social worker employed by the Van Buren Community Mental Health Authority. (Niemi Dep. ¶¶ 2, 3, ECF No. 16-1, PageID.74-75). The Van Buren Community Mental Health Authority provides mental health services to inmates at the county jail. Ms. Niemi's license as a social worker does not authorize her to prescribe medication. She has never prescribed medication for anyone. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-7, PageID.75). Ms. Niemi was not aware that plaintiff was feeling dizzy or lightheaded at any time before he fell and broke his collarbone. (Id. at ¶ 8, PageID.75; Plf. Dep. at 60, ECF No. 16-2, PageID.84).

         On May 25, 2017, plaintiff filed this lawsuit. (ECF No. 1).

         Discussion

         In Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), the Supreme Court held that deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious medical needs, manifested by prison staff's intentional interference with treatment or intentional denial or delay of access to medical care, amounts to the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-05. In judging the sufficiency of “deliberate indifference” claims, the Court must view the surrounding circumstances, including the extent of the injury, the realistic possibilities of ...


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