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Parks v. Edwards

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

January 31, 2017




         Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment [38] and a supporting memorandum filed by Defendant Derrick Edwards, M.D., in this action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, Quantaurus Parks, has failed to file a response in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment. Having considered the filings, the Court finds that the Motion for Summary Judgment [38] should be granted. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims against Edwards are hereby dismissed with prejudice.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         Parks is a state prisoner housed at East Mississippi Correctional Facility (“EMCF”), located in Meridian, Mississippi. [1]. Defendant Edwards is a physician that was formerly employed by Health Assurance LLC to provide medical services to the inmates incarcerated at EMCF. [31] at 1. According to Parks's complaint, Edwards violated his constitutional rights during his incarceration at EMCF by failing to provide him with adequate medical care for a skin condition. Parks has voluntarily dismissed his claims against Nurse O. Little, Warden Jerry Buscher, and Scott Marquardt, an officer of Management and Training Corporation, a company that manages EMCF. [10], [27].

         The Court held an omnibus hearing[1] in this matter, at which time it conferred with Plaintiff and counsel for defendants in this suit founded upon 42 U.S.C. § 1983, “which creates a cause of action against any person who violates another's constitutional rights while acting under color of state law.” Estate of Thornton v. Rankin Cnty., 2015 WL 1650237, *2 (S.D.Miss. Apr. 14, 2015)(Jordan, J.). At the omnibus hearing, the parties consented to have a United States Magistrate Judge conduct any and all further proceedings in the case and order the entry of final judgment, and the District Judge subsequently entered an order of reference. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P. 73. Parks is proceeding in this matter in forma pauperis (“IFP”) and pro se.

         In his filings, Parks alleges that he suffered from a skin condition that caused him to experience external hives, intense itching, and burning of his skin. [1], [9]. Parks alleges that Edwards treated him for his skin condition, but the medication Edwards prescribed did not work and, instead, made his condition worsen. [1] at 4. Parks alleges that after he requested to see a specialist, Edwards refused to see him again. Id. At the omnibus hearing, Parks testified that although Edwards treated him one time in January 2014, the skin condition had resolved as of August or September 2014. Parks filed this action in February 2014.[2]

         II. Legal Standards

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, in relevant part, 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue of fact is genuine if the "'evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable factfinder to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Lemoine v. New Horizons Ranch and Center, 174 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 1999)(quoting Colston v. Barnhart, 146 F.3d 282, 284 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 119 S.Ct. 618 (1998)). Issues of fact are material if Aresolution of the issues might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law." Lemoine, 174 F.3d at 633. The Court does not, "however, in the absence of any proof, assume the nonmoving [or opposing] party could or would prove the necessary facts." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)(en banc)(emphasis omitted). Moreover, the non-moving party's burden to come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial, " Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986), is not satisfied by "conclusory allegations" or by "unsubstantiated assertions, " or by only a "scintilla" of evidence. Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.

         In order to succeed under § 1983, Parks must establish that Defendant Edwards was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Varnado v. Lynaugh, 920 F.2d 320, 321 (5th Cir. 1991); see also Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976). Mere dissatisfaction or disagreement with medical treatment does not give rise to a constitutional claim. See Norton v. Dimazana, 122 F.3d 286, 292 (5th Cir. 1997). Rather, to establish deliberate indifference, a prisoner must show that the defendants “refused to treat him, ignored his complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged in any similar conduct that would clearly evince a wanton disregard for any serious medical needs.” Domino v. Texas Dep't of Criminal Justice, 239 F.3d 725, 756 (5th Cir. 2001).

         III. Discussion

         In his motion for summary judgment, Dr. Edwards argues that the undisputed facts show that he did not act with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for medical treatment. In support of his motion, Dr. Edwards has submitted over one hundred pages of Plaintiff's medical records that relate to treatment for his skin condition, for the relevant time period. [38-1]. Dr. Edwards has produced over five hundred pages of medical records to Plaintiff, including those submitted to the Court. [39] at 2; [37]. The medical records submitted to the Court reveal that Parks has been evaluated and treated regularly for the subject skin condition.

         Plaintiff first entered the MDOC system on June 2, 2011.[3] According to the medical records, Parks began complaining about a rash on the back of his neck to prison medical providers in September 2011, while he was incarcerated at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility (“Walnut Grove”). [38-1] at 2. At this initial medical visit, he also stated that he had been seen by a dermatologist in the “free world.” Id. The records submitted by Dr. Edwards show that doctors and nurses at Walnut Grove treated Parks for a rash on his neck and other areas, as well as for periodic itching, burning, and hives, with a variety of medications and soaps twenty-one (21) times between September 2011 and May 2013. [39] at 4-11. The record also contains notes of two additional visits with a psychiatrist, [38-1] at 18-19, 32-33, as medical personnel opined that the condition could have been related to anxiety. Id. at 27, 34. On January 28, 2013, while still incarcerated at Walnut Grove, Parks was seen by a “free world” dermatologist, who gave him a prescription for ointment to treat psoriasis. Id. at 64-65. Upon his return to Walnut Grove, medical providers filled the prescription and continued to treat Parks's skin condition. Id.

         By June 2013, Parks had been moved to EMCF. On June 11, 2013, he was seen by a nurse, after complaining of an ongoing problem with a rash and hives. Id. at 74-75. According to the narrative he provided that day, Parks stated:

I have been seen for this many times but nobody has found out what is wrong with me. Everytime I sweat I break out in hives and have burning and itching over my entire body. It was called “nerves” and I talked to the psychiatrist and too[k] medication. Nothing changed. Nothing has changed for the ...

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