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Lyle v. Montgomery County

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

February 8, 2017

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, et al Defendant.

          Crenshaw Judge.


          JEFFERY S. FRENSLEY United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Introduction and Background

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Jessica Ison's Motion for Summary Judgment. Docket No. 26. Along with that Motion, Defendant has filed a supporting Memorandum of Law (Docket No. 27), a Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Docket No. 28), and the Affidavits of Jessica Ison (“Ison Aff.”) (Docket No. 26-1) and Cynthia Evans (“Evans Aff.”) (Docket No. 26-2), as well as Plaintiff's Jail medical records (Docket Nos. 26-3 -26-7).

         Plaintiff has not responded to Defendant's Motion or Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, nor has he filed his own Statement of Undisputed Material Facts.

         Plaintiff originally filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the following:

1.) On or About Aug. 5, 2015 I have been received little or no food on my trays.
2.) On or About Aug. 10, 2015 Female Deputy's look at inmates showering.
3.) On or About Sept. 26, 2015 Deputy Paul Carter could not give me any answers to my questions about my state time at all.
4.) Nurse Ison RN has not or have I [sic] received - medical treatment for hemorrhoids 9-28-2015
5.) Female nurses look at male inmates and male doctor's and male nurses look at female inmates. 9-28-2015
6.) Search of cells with inmates not there when cell is searched.

         Docket No. 1.

         An Order entered on October 14, 2015, dismissed all of Plaintiff's claims against Montgomery County except for his claim related to female guards being able to see male inmates while they were showering and all of his claims against the other named Defendants except his deliberate indifference to a serious medical need claim against Nurse Jessica Ison for not treating his hemorrhoids on September 28, 2015.[1] See Docket Nos. 3, 4.

         Defendant Jessica Ison filed the instant Motion and supporting materials arguing that Plaintiff cannot establish either that he had a serious medical need or that Defendant acted with deliberate indifference to any such need. Docket No. 27. Defendant acknowledges that whether a hemorrhoid is a serious medical need has not been definitively answered by the courts, but notes that a “couple of cases” within the Sixth Circuit “have suggested that a hemorrhoid is not a sufficiently serious medical need to support a Section 1983 claim.” Id., citing Williams v. McLemore, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12634, at *17 (E.D. Mich. 1999); Voorhees v. Huber, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82102, at *3 (W.D. Ky. 2010); Cole v. Tennessee, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99353, at *3 (M.D. Tenn. 2014)..

         Defendant argues that, as an initial matter, there was no evidence that Plaintiff's hemorrhoid was a life threatening condition, posed a serious risk to his health, or worsened on the day in question. Id. Defendant further argues that hemorrhoids are a condition that does not necessarily require attention from a physician to be treated. Id., citing Ison Aff., ¶ 8. She notes that hemorrhoids are commonly treated with over-the-counter topical creams and suppositories, and adds that in some instances, hemorrhoids can resolve without any medical attention. Id. Defendant asserts that the existence of a hemorrhoid does not necessarily mean that Plaintiff would be at risk to develop a more serious health condition. Id.

         Defendant additionally argues that Plaintiff did receive medical attention on September 28, 2015 for his hemorrhoid. Id. Defendant notes that, on September 28, 2015, Plaintiff received medical attention for his hemorrhoid from Nurse Courtney Steele and Nurse Andrew Lynch, and ultimately received attention from a physician who prescribed an over-the-counter topical cream and suppository for Plaintiff's hemorrhoid. Id., citing Plaintiff's medical records, Exhibits 2, 3, 4.

         Moreover, Defendant argues that Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that she was aware of a substantial risk of serious harm to him that she disregarded. Id. Defendant notes that Plaintiff's only allegation against her is conclusory in nature and fails to include any facts pertaining to her conduct. Id. Defendant contends that Plaintiff's medical records demonstrate that he received appropriate and timely medical care for his hemorrhoid on the date in question. Id. Defendant argues that although Plaintiff may disagree with the course of treatment provided for his hemorrhoid, such disagreement does not constitute deliberate indifference. Id., citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102-03, 97 S.Ct. 285, 290, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976). Additionally, the medical records show that Defendant did not have any direct involvement in the evaluation and treatment of Plaintiff's hemorrhoid; rather, her involvement was limited to observing Nurse Steele's conduct during Plaintiff's sick call examination, during which Plaintiff refused the rectal exam that was necessary to evaluate and treat his hemorrhoid. Id. Defendant notes that she was not present later in the day when Plaintiff underwent his rectal examination with Nurse Andrew Lynch and received treatment orders from the on-call physician. Id. Defendant contends, therefore, that Plaintiff simply cannot demonstrate that she was personally involved in the activities giving rise to his claims, such that she is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Id.

         For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends that Defendant Jessica Ison's “Motion for Summary Judgment” (Docket No. 26) be GRANTED.

         II. Undisputed Facts[2]

         A. Relevant Allegations of Plaintiff's Verified Complaint

         As pertains to Plaintiff's sole remaining claim against the instant Defendant, Plaintiff asserts that she did not treat his hemorrhoids on September 28, 2015. Docket No. 1.

         B. Affidavit ...

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