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Craigo v. Behnke

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

July 29, 2019

JOSEPH CRAIGO #521415, Plaintiff,
RICHARD BEHNKE, et al., Defendants.

          Hon. Janet T. Neff, Judge



         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 51), Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 63), and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 71). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's motion be denied, Defendants' motions be granted, and this matter terminated.


         Plaintiff initiated the present action on July 2, 2018, against: (1) Cass County; (2) Advanced Correctional Helathcare; (3) Sheriff Richard Behnke; (4) Undersheriff Clinton Roach; (5) Captain Kevin Garrelts; (6) Medical Provider Joseph Mashni; and (7) Nurse Susanne Salisbury. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “acted with deliberate indifference to [his] medical needs” between March 28, 2017, and June 26, 2018. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to provide appropriate treatment for his pancreatitis and foot infection. The parties have now all moved for summary judgment.


         Summary judgment “shall" be granted Aif the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party moving for summary judgment can satisfy its burden by demonstrating “that the respondent, having had sufficient opportunity for discovery, has no evidence to support an essential element of his or her case." Minadeo v. ICI Paints, 398 F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the moving party demonstrates that “there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case," the non-moving party “must identify specific facts that can be established by admissible evidence, which demonstrate a genuine issue for trial." Amini v. Oberlin College, 440 F.3d 350, 357 (6th Cir. 2006).

         While the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the party opposing the summary judgment motion “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Amini, 440 F.3d at 357. The existence of a mere “scintilla of evidence" in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient. Daniels v. Woodside, 396 F.3d 730, 734-35 (6th Cir. 2005). The non-moving party Amay not rest upon [his] mere allegations," but must instead present “significant probative evidence" establishing that “there is a genuine issue for trial." Pack v. Damon Corp., 434 F.3d 810, 813-14 (6th Cir. 2006).

         Moreover, the non-moving party cannot defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment by “simply arguing that it relies solely or in part upon credibility determinations." Fogerty v. MGM Group Holdings Corp., Inc., 379 F.3d 348, 353 (6th Cir. 2004). Rather, the non- moving party “must be able to point to some facts which may or will entitle him to judgment, or refute the proof of the moving party in some material portion, and. . .may not merely recite the incantation, 'Credibility,' and have a trial on the hope that a jury may disbelieve factually uncontested proof." Id. at 353-54. In sum, summary judgment is appropriate “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Daniels, 396 F.3d at 735.

         While a moving party without the burden of proof need only show that the opponent cannot sustain his burden at trial, a moving party with the burden of proof faces a “substantially higher hurdle." Arnett v. Myers, 281 F.3d 552, 561 (6th Cir. 2002). Where the moving party has the burden, “his showing must be sufficient for the court to hold that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party." Calderone v. United States, 799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir. 1986). The Sixth Circuit has emphasized that the party with the burden of proof “must show the record contains evidence satisfying the burden of persuasion and that the evidence is so powerful that no reasonable jury would be free to disbelieve it." Arnett, 281 F.3d at 561. Accordingly, summary judgment in favor of the party with the burden of persuasion “is inappropriate when the evidence is susceptible of different interpretations or inferences by the trier of fact." Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 553 (1999).


         I. Denial of Medical Treatment

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to properly treat his pancreatitis and foot infection. The Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment applies not only to punishment imposed by the state, but also to deprivations which occur during imprisonment and are not part of the sentence imposed. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 101-02 (1976). Accordingly, the Eighth Amendment protects against the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, the existence of which is evidenced by the “deliberate indifference” to an inmate's “serious medical needs.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-06; Napier v. Madison County, Kentucky, 238 F.3d 739, 742 (6th Cir. 2001).

         The analysis by which a defendant's conduct is evaluated consists of two-steps. First, the Court must determine, objectively, whether the alleged deprivation was sufficiently serious. A “serious medical need, ” sufficient to implicate the Eighth Amendment, is “one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.” Harrison v. Ash, 539 F.3d 510, 518 (6th Cir. 2008). Thus, the objective component is satisfied where a prisoner receives no treatment for a serious medical need. See Rhinehart v. Scutt, 894 F.3d 721, 737 (6th Cir. 2018). However, if the prisoner “has received on-going treatment for his condition and claims that this ...

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