United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III, JUDGE
March 6, 2018, Plaintiff Darrin LaPine filed a complaint
alleging that the nineteen named Defendants and two Doe
Defendants' violated his constitutional and statutory
rights by providing inadequate medical treatment. ECF
On January 22, 2019, Corizon Defendants filed a motion
for summary judgment. ECF 71. On February 20, 2019, Plaintiff
filed a response to Corizon Defendants' motion for
summary judgment. ECF 77. The Court has reviewed the briefs
and finds that a hearing is unnecessary. E.D. Mich. LR
7.1(f)(1). The Court will grant Corizon Defendants'
March 2, 2017,  Plaintiff arrived at Thumb Correctional
Facility ("TCF") and notified staff that he fell
down a flight of stairs at Wayne County Jail. A nurse met
with Plaintiff, noted that Wayne County placed him on several
medications and provided him with a wood cane, and observed a
small bruise on his lower back. ECF 73, PgID 674 (under
seal). The nurse also documented Plaintiff's
request for tennis shoes and pain medication. Id.
same day, Plaintiff sent a health care request
("kite") to prison medical staff advising that he
was scheduled to go to Henry Ford Hospital for an MRI and
x-rays and that he was suffering "severe pain and
pinched nerves in his neck and back," described his
medication needs, and requested tennis shoes. Id. at
675. (under seal). Prison medical staff responded that
Plaintiff's chart did not have "a request or an
approval for [him] to have an MRI and x-rays;" that
Plaintiff was not approved for tennis shoes but would receive
special medical shoes; and that MDOC had not approved
prescriptions for certain medications. Id. (under
seal). Plaintiff sent a similar kite the next day and
received a response that he had a nurse appointment
scheduled. Id. at 677 (under seal).
March 14, a nurse met with Plaintiff and observed that he
"walked in using [a] cane but [had] no noted limp and
changed [the] cane from on[e] hand to [the] other."
Id. at 678 (under seal). The nurse also observed
Plaintiff carrying a "stack of papers and binders
[without] difficulty and also exchanged [them] from one hand
to [the] other." Id. (under seal). She also
detailed his comments about previous pain and treatment, and
about his recent injuries and pain. Id. (under
next day, Plaintiff received an electromyography
("EMG") at McLaren Medical Center, which assesses
muscle and nerve health. Id. at 683-84 (under seal)
(EMG report). The EMG revealed "[m]ild to moderate
carpal tunnel syndrome," "[m]ild right ulnar nerve
entrapment" in Plaintiff's elbow, mild irritation in
his neck, and "[m]ild peripheral sensory
polyneuropathy." Id. at 684 (under seal).
March 16, Plaintiff was transferred to Cooper Street
Correctional Facility ("JCS"). Id. at 685
(under seal) (identifying JCS as the receiving facility for
Plaintiff's transfer). The following day, Plaintiff sent
a kite complaining of a sore back and neck problems. A nurse
scheduled a nursing appointment and commented that a provider
would review Plaintiff's chart within a week.
Id. at 687 (under seal).
March 21, another nurse met with Plaintiff and advised him
that he would meet with Nurse Choi, who was reviewing his
chart and EMG and would meet with him the next week.
Id. at 688 (under seal), 690-91 (under seal) (Nurse
Choi's documentation noting that she would review the EMG
with Plaintiff the following week).
next day, Plaintiff submitted a kite requesting "to be
closer to [the] chow hall." Id. at 692 (under
seal). The following day, Dr. Alsalman advised that
Plaintiff's request would be discussed at his scheduled
visit with the provider. Id. at 693 (under seal).
March 28, Plaintiff met with Nurse Choi for his provider
visit. Nurse Choi conducted a physical exam and observed that
Plaintiff had tenderness along his spine but lacked kyphosis
and scoliosis. Id. at 696 (under seal). Plaintiff
also had a limited range of motion for his right wrist.
Id. (under seal). Nurse Choi planned to continue
Plaintiff's "naprosyn/tylenol" prescription for
pain, to give Plaintiff an ACE wrap for his right wrist, and
to request physical therapy and an MRI. Id. (under
seal). She also scheduled a follow-up appointment within one
month. Id. (under seal). On March 29, Dr. Keith
Papendick approved an evaluation for physical therapy,
id. at 702 (under seal), and approved the MRI,
id. at 706 (under seal) (noting that Plaintiff met
the criteria for conducting an MRI of his lumbar spine). On
March 30, an ACE wrap was issued to Plaintiff. Id.
at 708 (under seal).
March 31, Plaintiff sent another kite about his request for a
"handicap chow detail." Id. at 709 (under
seal). On April 4, Nurse Choi reviewed the request and
approved a handicap chow detail for Plaintiff for twelve
months. Id. at 710 (under seal).
April 17, Plaintiff received an MRI of his lumbar spine.
Id. at 713 (under seal). Two days later, Nurse Choi
approved a handicap table with a tray assist for Plaintiff
for twelve months. Id. at 714, 717 (under seal). The
same day, a physical therapist met with Plaintiff and
determined that Plaintiff had "progressed beyond the
point of [physical therapy] providing any relief."
Id. at 719 (under seal).
April 26, Dr. Alsalman reviewed Plaintiff's MRI with him.
The MRI revealed moderate to severe "central canal
stenosis with foraminal encroachment." Id. at
722 (under seal); see also Id. at 727-28 (under
seal) (report on Plaintiff's April 17, 2017 MRI).
Plaintiff's condition had deteriorated since an MRI eight
years prior. Id. (under seal). After physically
examining Plaintiff, Dr. Alsalman noted tenderness in
Plaintiff's cervical and lumbar spine with severe pain
with motion. Id. at 723 (under seal).
2, Nurse Choi reiterated to Plaintiff that he was not
eligible for special medical shoes. Id. at 729
(under seal). The same day, Plaintiff submitted a kite
requesting a visit with a neurosurgeon. Id. at 731
(under seal). On May 3, Plaintiff sent another kite
requesting a renewal of his detail for his ACE wrap and of
his detail for housing. Id. at 732 (under seal). On
May 5, Nurse Choi recommended that Plaintiff's housing
detail be extended but denied his request for the ACE bandage
because he was not eligible for continued use of the wrap.
Id. at 734-35 (under seal). The same day, another
nurse confirmed with the state's Assistant Chief Medical
Officer that Plaintiff did not qualify for a wrist brace.
Id. at 737 (under seal).
8, Plaintiff saw Dr. Harrish Rawal for a neurosurgery
consultation. Id. at 738 (under seal). Dr. Rawal
recommended that Plaintiff receive surgery "when there
is a chance of paralysis" or if he could "not stand
the pain anymore." Id. at 743 (under seal). Dr.
Rawal advised that "L2-L5 laminectomy, and fusion with
instrumentation" was the recommended surgical course.
Id. (under seal). The next day, Nurse Choi submitted
a consultation request "for neurosurgery for laminectomy
at ¶ 2-5 with fusion." Id. at 746 (under
seal). The following day, Dr. Papendick approved the surgery.
Id. at 750 (under seal). Plaintiff expressed a
desire for a second opinion about surgical methods from his
own doctor. Id. at 745, 752-53 (under seal). On May
31, Dr. Alsalman met with Plaintiff and noted that his
surgery with Dr. Rawal would occur "in the near
future." Id. at 757 (under seal).
6, Plaintiff sent another kite and advised he did not want an
offsite visit unless it was through his own doctors and that
he had filed a lawsuit. Id. at 762 (under seal).
days later, Nurse Choi met with Plaintiff and discussed his
no-show for scheduled blood work, reminded him of his
upcoming neurosurgery appointment, and explained that MDOC
declined his request for a second opinion for his surgical
options. Id. at 763 (under seal).
9, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Dr. Rawal describing the
alternative surgery he had discussed with his own doctors.
Plaintiff wrote: "What I think I will do is have you do
the surgery and sue you for malepractice [sic] and gross
negligence. I have learned that it would be worth millions. I
won't sign off on anything. I will see if you will
perform this barbaric Neanderthal outdated type of
surgery?" ECF 71-2, PgID 325.
14, Nurse Choi again saw Plaintiff and he agreed to a June 22
surgery with Dr. Rawal. ECF 73, PgID 770 (under seal). Nurse
Choi referred Plaintiff to the Pain Management Committee
("PMC") and renewed a request for tennis shoes.
Id. at 776, 781 (under seal).
15, Nurse Choi received approval for Plaintiff to get tennis
shoes, decided to decrease his Naprosyn dose and frequency
"due to slightly elevated creatinine in
[Plaintiff's] blood," and noted that she was waiting
for the PMC response. Id. at 782 (under seal). Dr.
Borgerding recommended stopping Plaintiff's Naprosyn
intake "due to renal function tests." Id.
at 784 (under seal). On June 16, Nurse Choi gave Plaintiff a
bottom bunk with "no more than 10 steps."
Id. at 785-87 (under seal).
21, Dr. Alsalman provided Plaintiff with a vitamin B-12 shot.
Id. at 788 (under seal). After discussing
Plaintiff's neurosurgery scheduled for the next day, Dr.
Alsalman noted that he believed Plaintiff was objecting to
the surgery and that Plaintiff threatened to sue if the
surgery occurred because it was a "more intrusive
surgery than he need[ed]." Id. (under seal).
Dr. Alsalman discussed his concerns with prison staff and Dr.
Bergman. Id. at 789-90 (under seal). Dr. Bergman
spoke with Dr. Borgerding and Dr. Bomber, and they decided to
cancel Plaintiff's surgery "and put it on hold until
further discussions with Dr. Rawal" could occur.
Id. at 791 (under seal). Dr. Bergman expressed that
the medical staff understood that Plaintiff had
"legitimate medical concerns" but that they wanted
"to further evaluate if the proposed surgery is still
the best course of action." Id. (under seal).
27, Dr. Alsalman met with Plaintiff to discuss his spinal
condition and noted that he felt Plaintiff's signs and
symptoms were "highly questionable based on a number of
surveillance video footages . . . showing [Plaintiff] freely
walking without [a] cane or any sort of aid while carrying
various heavy objects with no apparent distress or
difficulty." Id. at 792 (under
seal). Plaintiff interrupted the appointment,
handed Dr. Alsalman his attorney's business card, and
left the meeting. Id. (under seal). Dr. Alsalman
cancelled Plaintiff's details for a cell unit near the
chow hall, a wooden cane, and for a handicapped tray assist.
Id. at 793 (under seal).
next day, Plaintiff fell in the prison yard "twist[ed]
his entire body" and experienced "10/10 pain."
Id. at 798 (under seal). Medical staff intended to
send Plaintiff to an out-of-prison emergency room, but
Plaintiff remained at the prison. Id. at 801 (under
seal). A nurse provided Plaintiff with ice, Motrin, and
Tylenol. Id. (under seal). Medical staff noted that
Plaintiff refused treatment and "got up swiftly out of
[the wheelchair] and walked towards [the] door" and that
he was later seen "walking back to his unit
independently without issue, [with] gait steady and
brisk." Id. at 798 (under seal). The same day,
Plaintiff sent a kite to medical staff about the reduction of
his Naproxen dosage and noted that his cane detail had been
cancelled. Id. at 803 (under seal).
29, Dr. Alsalman met with Plaintiff to assess his condition
after his fall. Id. at 804 (under seal). Dr.
Alsalman requested a reevaluation of the medical necessity of
Plaintiff's proposed surgery. Id. at 807 (under
seal). On July 3, Dr. Papendick approved the request.
Id. at 810 (under seal). But Dr. Alsalman advised
that Plaintiff's reevaluation was cancelled "per Dr.
Borgerding's" recommendation because the hospital
withdrew from the physician-patient relationship "due to
[a] lack of confidence." Id. at 812 (under
1, a nurse met with Plaintiff after he fell in the shower.
Id. at 814 (under seal). Plaintiff requested a cane
or wheelchair, asked for his Naprosyn dosage to be increased,
and reported numbness and tingling in his legs. Id.
at 814, 817 (under seal); see also Id. at 819 (kite
message requesting Naproxen dosage increase) (under seal).
Plaintiff also received a vitamin B-12 injection.
Id. at 816 (under seal). The nurse spoke with Dr.
Alsalman about Plaintiff's symptoms and Dr. Alsalman
suggested that Plaintiff go to an outside emergency room.
Id. at 817 (under seal). Plaintiff did not go to the
emergency room. Id. (under seal). The same day,
Plaintiff sent a kite asking for an update on his tennis
shoes. He was told that the shoes would arrive in another 4
to 6 weeks. Id. at 818 (under seal).
3, Plaintiff sent two kites to prison healthcare asking for
the results of his EMG and MRI and for Dr. Alsalman's
notes from their June 27 and 29 appointments. Id. at
820-21 (under seal). In a third kite, Plaintiff requested
renewal of his cane detail. Id. at 822 (under seal).
12, Dr. Rawal responded to Plaintiff's June 9 letter. Dr.
Rawal noted the lack of confidence and trust that existed and
advised that he and Henry Ford Allegiance were
"withdrawing from [their] physician-patient
relationship" with Plaintiff. ECF 71-2, PgID 323. Dr.
Rawal encouraged Plaintiff to "seek out and find another