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Massey v. Weatherford

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

August 24, 2017

Raymond Massey, Plaintiff,
v.
Sonny Weatherford, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [25] AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS SHAFFER AND SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [9]

          JUDITH E. LEVY United States District Judge.

         This is a civil rights suit filed by pro se plaintiff Raymond Massey pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that defendants Sheriff Sonny Weatherford, Jail Administrator Sonya Troutt, Cheryl Shaffer, [1] and Southern Health Partners, Inc., refused to provide medical treatment at the Sumner County jail in violation of his constitutional rights. (Dkt. 1.)

         Before the Court is defendants Shaffer and Southern Health Partners, Inc.'s motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. 9.) The Magistrate Judge submitted a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) that recommends treating the motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment, granting the motion, and dismissing the complaint with prejudice. (Dkt. 25.) No objections were filed.

         For the reasons set forth below, the R&R is adopted in part and defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff was incarcerated in Lexington, Kentucky, and transferred to Sumner County Jail on January 14, 2016. Once transferred, he informed jail staff that he had Hepatitis C and needed ongoing medical treatment. He alleges that despite making multiple requests for treatment, the staff refused. (Dkt. 1 at 7-8.)

         Plaintiff alleges that in October 2016, he filed a formal grievance based on his inability to obtain medical care. (Dkt. 1 at 8.) His grievances, which he alleges were filed through a kiosk, were then allegedly rejected by jail staff, and plaintiff was told the treatment decisions were “up to the Medical Department.” (Id. at 5-6, 8.)

         On January 14, 2017, plaintiff filed a complaint, alleging the jail's alleged refusal to provide medical care violated his “rights to Due Process, Discrimination, Lack of Medical Attention, Medical Malpractice, and Cruel and Unusual Punishment.” (Dkt. 1 at 8.)

         On January 27, 2017, Chief Judge Sharp issued an order dismissing the claims against Sheriff Weatherford and Sonya Troutt. (Dkt. 3.)

         On March 9, 2017, the remaining defendants, Cheryl Shaffer and Southern Health Partners, Inc., filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. 9.) They argue plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies or to allege his injury resulted from a policy, practice or custom or failure to train by Southern Health Partners. (Dkt. 10 at 3-6.)

         On March 11, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued an order informing plaintiff that “failure to exhaust remedies has been raised” as a defense and that “he may not just rely on his complaint, ” but “must come forward with some admissible evidence that he has in fact filed a grievance.” (Dkt. 13.) The Magistrate Judge indicated that if plaintiff required additional time, he must request it by April 10, 2017. (Id.) Defendants were also informed that if they wanted the motion to be considered as one for summary judgment, they must comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 and L.R. 56. (Id.)

         Defendants then submitted a statement of undisputed facts and a memorandum in support of the motion for summary judgment. (Dkts. 15, 17.)

         On April 3, 2017, plaintiff requested additional time to obtain documents related to his case. (Dkt. 21.) The Court granted the request on April 8, 2017, giving plaintiff until April 24, 2017 to obtain the requisite documentation related to defendants' argument that he failed to exhaust administrative remedies. (Dkt. 22.) Plaintiff never responded.

         On May 4, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued an R&R recommending that the motion be treated as one for summary judgment, and that the motion be granted on the ground that plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. The R&R then recommended dismissing the complaint with prejudice, and stated that the parties ...


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