United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville Division
THOMAS A. VARLAN, Chief District Judge.
This is a pro se prisoner's civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by plaintiff Craig Majors ("plaintiff"). The matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant James Sego and plaintiff's response thereto, and the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Faye Jeffers. Plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Jeffers, and the Court deems plaintiff to have waived his opposition to the dispositive motion. Elmore v. Evans, 449 F.Supp. 2, 3 (E.D. Tenn. 1976), aff'd mem., 577 F.2d 740 (6th Cir. 1978); E.D.TN. LR7.2. For the following reasons, the motions for summary judgment will be GRANTED and this action will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
I. Standard of Review
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if 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." In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. McLean v. 988011 Ontario, Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir. 2000). "Summary judgment is proper if the evidence, taken in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Hartman v. Great Seneca Fin. Corp., 569 F.3d 606, 611 (6th Cir. 2009) (internal quotations marks omitted). The burden is on the moving party to conclusively show that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Smith v. Hudson, 600 F.2d 60, 63 (6th Cir. 1979).
Summary judgment should not be disfavored and may be an appropriate avenue for the "just, speedy and inexpensive determination" of an action. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law "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." Id. at 322.
II. Factual Background
Plaintiff is in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). His complaint concerns an alleged denial of medical care that occurred during his confinement in the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX). Plaintiff is now confined in the Northeast Correctional Complex. Defendant James Sego was a contract physician for MCCX and Faye Jeffers was the Acting Health Administrator at MCCX at the time of the alleged denial of medical care. Plaintiff alleges that the defendants were responsible for ensuring that MCCX inmates received necessary medical care and for scheduling appointments for specialized treatment outside the prison.
Plaintiff specifically alleges that defendants Sego and Jeffers refused to provide him with the medication that was prescribed for his acid reflux and as a result he suffered severe abdominal pain and other digestive problems. Plaintiff claims defendants failed to give him the medication despite his having given repeated sick call requests to the nurse who walked through his unit for sick call. According to plaintiff, he went without his medication from June 16, 2010, until July 15, 2010, when he began receiving his medication again.
In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a person acting under color of state law. Black v. Barberton Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23 F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992). See also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) ("Section 1983 does not itself create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found elsewhere.").
The Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment obliges prison authorities to provide medical care for prisoners' serious medical needs. In order to state a claim under § 1983 in the medical context, "a prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Thus, under the Estelle standard, "[a] constitutional claim for denial of medical care has objective and subjective components." Blackmore v. Kalamazoo County, 390 F.3d 890, 895 (6th Cir. 2004).
The objective component requires an inmate to establish that he is suffering from a sufficiently serious medical need, such that "he is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm.'" Brown v. Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)). The subjective component necessitates an inmate show that a prison official possessed a culpable state of mind. Id. "A defendant possess[es] a sufficiently culpable state of mind when he acts with deliberate indifference." Carter v. City of Detroit, 408 F.3d 305, 312 (6th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). "Put simply, deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm to a prisoner is the equivalent of recklessly disregarding that risk.'" Johnson v. Karnes, 398 F.3d 868, 875 (6th Cir.2005) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 836 (1994)).
A. Defendant Faye Jeffers
Defendant Jeffers has filed her affidavit in support of her motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 56, Affidavit of Faye ...