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Branch v. Logan

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

March 2, 2015

DR. NONA LOGAN, et al., Defendants.


WILLIAM J. HAYNES, Jr., Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff, Emmonie Branch, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against several Defendants: Correct Care Solutions, Defendants Drs. Nona Setler-Logan and Laura Kastan. Plaintiff asserts claims for denial of medical treatment during his incarceration at the Criminal Justice Center ("CJC"). By earlier Order, the Defendant Correct Care Solutions was dismissed from this action. (Docket Entry No. 32)

Before the Court is Defendant Dr. Logan's and Defendant Kastan's motion for summary judgment (Docket Entry No. 42) to which Plaintiff responded (Docket Entry No. 48). In sum, Plaintiff concedes the dismissal of Defendant Kastan and his state medical malpractice claims. Thus, only Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against Defendant Logan remains in this action

For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that there are not any material factual disputes and that Plaintiff received substantial medical care at the CJC. Plaintiff's complaints are about the quality of the medical care provided to him and are not actionable under Section 1983. Thus, the Court concludes that the Defendants' motions for summary judgment should be granted and this action dismissed with prejudice.

A. Findings of Fact[1]

Plaintiff asserts that while incarcerated at the CJC that he had "continuous internal bleeding" "in the form of blood saturated stools, " pain in his hand resulting from a fight, and an injury in his foot resulting from a gun shot wound. (Docket Entry No. 1, Verified Complaint at 1-3). Plaintiff states that he was given a stool softener, but was not examined, and states that the problem was internal. Id. at 2. Plaintiff requested an x-ray for his injured hand, but states this request was immediately refused, and that he has not received further help or treatment. Id. at 1. Finally, Plaintiff asserts that he has not received any medical attention for his foot injury. Id. at 3.

According to Plaintiff's medical records, on May 8, 2012, Plaintiff received a medical intake screening at CJC. (Docket Entry No. 42-1, Exhibit 1 to McCraw Affidavit).[2] During this screening, Plaintiff cited prior surgery on the ring finger of his left hand. Id. at Exhibit 9. Prior to his screening, Plaintiff was taking Amoxicillin and Lortab. Id . The nurse examined Plaintiff's sutures, initiated wound care protocol and prescribed Doxycycline and Augmentin. Id. at Exhibit 3-4. Between May 12 and May 16, 2012, Plaintiff refused wound care treatment for his left hand ring finger. Id. at Collective Exhibit 8.

On May 10, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request due to pain in his foot resulting from a prior gun shot wound. Id. at Exhibit 5. This bullet had been in Plaintiff's foot since 2003, but was causing pain in the arch of his foot. Id . On May 12, the nurse examined Plaintiff. Id . Plaintiff denied any radiation of this pain or abnormal sensations. Id. at Exhibit 6. Plaintiff's feet were not swollen, nor bruised nor abnormal and a specific cause for Plaintiff's pain was not found. Id. at Exhibit 6. Plaintiff was prescribed Tylenol. Id. at Exhibit 7. Plaintiff refused Tylenol between May 17 and May 19, 2012. Id. at Exhibits 11, 12, 13.

On May 16, 2012, Plaintiff reported a history of gunshot wounds to the head and ear as well as anger-related blackouts and episodes of his jaw locking up. Id. at Exhibit 9. Plaintiff also reported a current history of Bells Palsy on his right side, but did not identify any other complaints. Id.

On May 20, 2012, Plaintiff complained of pain in his foot and requested special shoes with Nike shocks to absorb any impact to his arches. Id. at Exhibit 14. A nurse examined Plaintiff's feet, but did not observe any swelling, bruising or deformity. Id . Also on May 20, Plaintiff refused Tylenol, which he did again on May 22, 23 and 24. Id. at Exhibit 15, Collective Exhibit 16. On May 25, 2012, Plaintiff's request for special shoes was sent to a health care provider. Id. at Exhibit 18.

On May 28, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request complaining of blood in his stool and pain in his stomach. Id. at Exhibit 19. On May 31, 2012, after a physical examination, three stool cards were taken to evaluate Plaintiff's stools, and Plaintiff was prescribed the stool softener Colace for 30 days. Id. at Collective Exhibit 20. On June 5, 2012 and June 8, 2012, Plaintiff refused to take the Colace. Id. at Collective Exhibit 21.

On June 11, 2012, after a fight with another inmate that caused an injury to his right hand, Plaintiff was evaluated with swelling to his right hand, but without any bruising. Id. at Exhibit 22. Plaintiff was given ice for his right hand and an ACE wrap bandage, as well as an order for a bottom bunk for thirty days. Id. at Exhibits 23-24. A follow up appointment was scheduled the next day. Id. at Exhibit 23.

On June 12, 2012, during the follow up evaluation, Plaintiff complained of the pain in his right hand, which was now swollen and bruised. Id. at Exhibit 25. Plaintiff's hand was wrapped and ice was applied. Id . Plaintiff received an appointment for a follow up with the nurse practitioner. Id . On June 13, Plaintiff refused the ACE wrap, and requested a gauze wrap instead. Id. at Exhibit 26.

On June 14, 2012, Plaintiff was evaluated again with complaints of the injured hand, foot pain from the gunshot wound and blood in his stool. Id. at Exhibit 26. Plaintiff requested an x-ray. Id . Plaintiff was examined, and the nurse practitioner prescribed Ibuprofen for fourteen days, ice to his right hand, elevation of his hand, rest and use of an ACE wrap for thirty days. Id. at Exhibit 26. Plaintiff's medical record reflects that a "MR" would be needed to evaluate the extent of the gunshot wound. Id . As to the blood in his stool, Plaintiff was prescribed Metamucil for 30 days. Id . On June 20, 2012, Plaintiff refused the Ibuprofen medication for his right hand. Id. at Exhibit 28. On June 25, 2012, Plaintiff again refused Motrin. Id. at Exhibit 30.

Plaintiff did not have any other complaints until his three sick call requests on August 13, 2012 when he complained of tooth pain, problems using the restroom while sitting, and requested cream for his feet, which he stated were peeling badly. Id. at Collective Exhibit 31. On August 14, 2012, Plaintiff was evaluated, and was advised that he could obtain lotions and anti-fungal creams from the commissary to treat his dry skin, his potential athlete's foot and his heels. Id. at Exhibit 32. Plaintiff was also encouraged to increase his fluid intake and activity level to assist with constipation. Id . A dental exam was scheduled and took place on August 16, 2012. Id. at Collective Exhibit 33.

Plaintiff was next evaluated on August 23, 2012, following a complaint of pain in his right hand for which he again requested an x-ray. Id . Plaintiff also complained of blood in his stool and right foot pain resulting from his prior gunshot wound. Id . Plaintiff again requested special shoes and stated that the medication previously given to him for his rectal bleeding did not resolve the issue. Id . A physician was notified of these issues and an appointment with the nurse practitioner was scheduled. Id. at Exhibit 34.

On August 30, 2012, Plaintiff was evaluated by a nurse practitioner, in response to ongoing complaints of rectal bleeding with intermittent constipation. Id. at Exhibit 35. Plaintiff was determined to have rectal bleeding and constipation, but was noted to be noncompliant with his diet. Id. at Exhibit 35. Plaintiff was prescribed Reguloid and Colace. Id . Plaintiff also requested evaluation of his right hand, and stated that movement remained painful. Id . Examination of Plaintiff's right hand revealed full range of motion in his right wrist, but was the hand was tender with flexion; Plaintiff also had decreased strength in making a fist. Id . The nurse practitioner noted that Plaintiff was not compliant in wearing the ACE wrap provided to him. Id . An x-ray of Plaintiff's right hand was ordered to rule out a fracture. Id. at Collective Exhibit 36. Finally, Plaintiff again requested special shoes for the pain in his foot related to the gunshot wound. Id . At the time, Plaintiff was wearing croc style shoes. Id . His request for special shoes was denied. Id.

On August 31, 2012, Plaintiff underwent an x-ray of his right hand. Id. at Exhibit 37. The results of the x-ray did not reveal bony abnormality, but evinced a chronic fracture of the fifth metacarpal. Id . There were not any new orders entered after the x-ray. Between the time of his x-ray and the filing of this action on September 10, 2012, Plaintiff did not lodge any complaints about his right hand, foot, or rectal bleeding.

B. Conclusions of Law

In Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986), the United States Supreme Court explained the nature ...

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