United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Gordon J. Quist Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
TIMOTHY P. GREELEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action brought by David
Wayne Hiser for a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights
during his confinement in the Mackinac County Jail. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Dr. Scott Aldridge failed to properly
treat him and provide him with pain medication. Defendant
Aldridge filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 24).
Plaintiff filed a response. (ECF No. 28). Defendant filed a
reply. (ECF No. 29). Plaintiff filed a response to
Defendant's reply. (ECF No. 30).
alleges that he broke his back when a tree fell on him in
October of 1992. Plaintiff eventually recovered and was able
to return to work. However, in the year 2000, Plaintiff began
to experience daily back pain. Plaintiff received pain
medication until 2008, when he began to receive epidural
injections. Plaintiff arrived at the Mackinac County Jail on
August 23, 2016, and told jail personnel that he was legally
disabled and would need to see a doctor. Plaintiff alleges
that after a 56 day delay he finally saw Dr. Aldridge, who
told Plaintiff that he needed medical records from the
Veteran's Administration. Plaintiff states that he only
received 6 Tylenol pills per week for pain.
states that he did not receive any treatment for his back
problems for approximately 5 months. In addition, Plaintiff
slept on a steel bunk with a single mattress, despite his
request for a second mattress. On January 31, 2017, a doctor
read Plaintiff's medical records, did an examination, and
said that Plaintiff had back and nerve issues. The doctor
also said that if nothing was done, Plaintiff would be in bed
for good. On February 1, 2017, Plaintiff received an extra
mattress and was provided with 650 mg of Tylenol twice a day.
On February 3, 2017, Plaintiff had additional blood work.
Plaintiff was released on probation on March 23, 2017.
Plaintiff alleges that he suffers with permanent injury as a
result of Defendant Aldridge's failure to provide medical
judgment is appropriate only if the moving party establishes
that there is no genuine issue of material fact for trial and
that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986). If the movant carries the burden of
showing there is an absence of evidence to support a claim or
defense, then the party opposing the motion must demonstrate
by affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, that there is a genuine issue of material
fact for trial. Id. at 324-25. The nonmoving party
cannot rest on its pleadings but must present “specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Id. at 324 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). Thus, any direct evidence
offered by the plaintiff in response to a summary judgment
motion must be accepted as true. Muhammad v.
Close, 379 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir.
2004) (citing Adams v. Metiva, 31 F.3d 375, 382 (6th
Cir. 1994)). However, a mere scintilla of evidence in support
of the nonmovant's position will be insufficient.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52. Ultimately, the court
must determine whether there is sufficient “evidence on
which the jury could reasonably find for the
plaintiff.” Id. at 252. See also Leahy v.
Trans Jones, Inc., 996 F.2d 136, 139 (6th Cir. 1993)
(single affidavit, in presence of other evidence to the
contrary, failed to present genuine issue of fact); cf.
Moore, Owen, Thomas & Co. v. Coffey, 992 F.2d 1439,
1448 (6th Cir. 1993) (single affidavit concerning state of
mind created factual issue).
asserts that Dr. Aldridge failed to provide him with
appropriate medical care and pain medication in violation of
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. The Eighth Amendment
prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment
against those convicted of crimes. U.S. Const. amend. VIII.
The Eighth Amendment obligates prison authorities to provide
medical care to incarcerated individuals, as a failure to
provide such care would be inconsistent with contemporary
standards of decency. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
102, 103-04 (1976). The Eighth Amendment is violated when a
prison official is deliberately indifferent to the serious
medical needs of a prisoner. Id. at 104-05;
Comstock v. McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 702 (6th Cir.
for the deprivation of adequate medical care has an objective
and a subjective component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834 (1994). To satisfy the objective component, the
plaintiff must allege that the medical need at issue is
sufficiently serious. Id. In other words, the inmate
must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm. Id. The objective
component of the adequate medical care test is satisfied
“[w]here the seriousness of a prisoner's need[ ]
for medical care is obvious even to a lay person.”
Blackmore v. Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 899 (6th
Cir. 2004). If the plaintiff's claim, however, is based
on “the prison's failure to treat a condition
adequately, or where the prisoner's affliction is
seemingly minor or non-obvious, ” Blackmore v.
Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 898 (6th Cir. 2004), the
plaintiff must “place verifying medical evidence in the
record to establish the detrimental effect of the delay in
medical treatment, ” Napier v. Madison Cnty.,
238 F.3d 739, 742 (6th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks
subjective component requires an inmate to 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, ” Farmer,
511 U.S. at 835, 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.”
Id. Under Farmer, “the official must
both be aware of 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.
every claim by a prisoner that he has received inadequate
medical treatment states a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105. As the Supreme Court
[A]n inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care
cannot be said to constitute an unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain or to be repugnant to the conscience of
mankind. Thus, a complaint that a physician has been
negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does
not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment under the
Eighth Amendment. Medical malpractice does not become a
constitutional violation merely because the victim is a
prisoner. In order to state a cognizable claim, a prisoner
must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to
evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
Id. at 105-06 (quotations omitted). Thus,
differences in judgment between an inmate and prison medical
personnel regarding the appropriate medical diagnoses or
treatment are not enough to state a deliberate indifference
claim. Sanderfer v. Nichols, 62 F.3d 151, 154-55
(6th Cir. 1995); Ward v. Smith, No. 95-6666, 1996 WL
627724, at *1 (6th Cir. Oct. 29, 1996). This is so even if
the misdiagnosis results in an inadequate course of treatment
and considerable suffering. Gabehart v. Chapleau,
No. 96-5050, 1997 WL 160322, at *2 (6th Cir. Apr. 4, 1997).
Sixth Circuit distinguishes “between cases where the
complaint alleges a complete denial of medical care and those
cases where the claim is that a prisoner received inadequate
medical treatment.” Westlake v. Lucas, 537
F.2d 857, 860 n.5 (6th Cir. 1976). If “a prisoner has
received some medical attention and the dispute is over the
adequacy of the treatment, federal courts are generally
reluctant to second guess medical judgments and to
constitutionalize claims which sound in state tort
law.” Id.; see also Rouster v. Saginaw
Cnty., 749 F.3d 437, 448 (6th Cir. 2014); Perez v.
Oakland County, 466 F.3d 416, 434 (6th Cir. 2006);
Kellerman v. Simpson, 258 Fed.Appx. 720, 727 (6th
Cir. 2007); McFarland v. Austin, 196 Fed.Appx. 410
(6th Cir. 2006); Edmonds v. Horton, 113 Fed.Appx.
62, 65 (6th Cir. 2004); Brock v. Crall, 8 Fed.Appx.
439, 440 (6th Cir. 2001); Berryman v. Rieger, 150
F.3d 561, 566 (6th Cir. 1998). “Where the claimant
received treatment for his condition, as here, he must show
that his treatment was ‘so woefully inadequate as to
amount to no treatment at all.'” Mitchell v.
Hininger, 553 Fed.Appx. 602, 605 (6th Cir. 2013)
(quoting Alspaugh v. McConnell, 643 F.3d 162, 169
(6th Cir. 2011)).
after Plaintiff arrived at the Mackinaw County Jail, a nurse
performed an initial medical assessment. (ECF No. 26-2,
PageID.155). Plaintiff's medications were approved by Dr.
Dood. Id. Defendant Aldridge, co-signed the approval
of Plaintiff's medications after reviewing the
nurse's intake on September 6, 2017. (ECF No. 24-2,
PageID.117). Plaintiff complained that his back pain
medication, Neurontin, was causing him to have loose stools.
Id. Dr. Fatoki ...