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Campbell v. Brown

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

March 15, 2017

THOMAS EDWARD CAMPBELL PLAINTIFF
v.
NURSE PRACTITIONER ANGELA BROWN, ET AL. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         This matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner complaint of Thomas Edward Campbell, who challenges the conditions of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. The plaintiff has brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a federal cause of action against "[e]very person" who under color of state authority causes the "deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to provide him with adequate medical care and used excessive force against him. The defendants have moved [77], [80] for summary judgment; the plaintiff has responded [82], [83], and the medical defendants have replied. That matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the motions [77], [80] for summary judgment will be granted, and judgment will be entered for the defendants.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the "materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials" show 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) and (c)(1). "The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party to carry its burden." Beck v. Texas State Bd. of Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986), cert, denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)).

         After a proper motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Beck, 204 F.3d at 633; Allen v. Rapides Parish School Bd, 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000); Ragas v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998). Substantive law determines what is material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id., at 248. If the non-movant sets forth specific facts in support of allegations essential to his claim, a genuine issue is presented. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 327. "Where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Federal Savings and Loan, Inc. v. Krajl, 968 F.2d 500, 503 (5thCir. 1992). The facts are reviewed drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Allen, 204 F.3d at 621; PYCA Industries, Inc. v. Harrison County Waste Water Management Dist., 177 F.3d 351, 161 (5th Cir. 1999); Banc One Capital Partners Corp. v. Kneipper, 61F.3d 1187, 1198 (5th Cir. 1995). However, this is so only when there is "an actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994); see Edwards v. Your Credit, Inc., 148 F.3d 427, 432 (5th Cir. 1998). In the absence of proof, the court does not "assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts." Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted).

         The very purpose of summary judgment is to "pierce the pleadings and assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Advisory Committee Note to the 1963 Amendments to Rule 56. Indeed, "[t]he amendment is not intended to derogate from the solemnity of the pleadings[;] [r]ather, it recognizes that despite the best efforts of counsel to make his pleadings accurate, they may be overwhelmingly contradicted by the proof available to his adversary." Id. The non-moving party (the plaintiff in this case), must come forward with proof to support each element of his claim. The plaintiff cannot meet this burden with "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, " Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356 (1986), "conclusory allegations, " Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 871-73, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3180 (1990), "unsubstantiated assertions, " Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92 (5th Cir. 1994), or by a mere "scintilla" of evidence, Davis v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 14 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 1994).

         It would undermine the purposes of summary judgment if a party could defeat such a motion simply by "replac[ing] conclusory allegations of the complaint or answer with conclusory allegations of an affidavit." Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3188 (1990). In considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must determine whether the non-moving party's allegations are plausible. Matsushita, supra, (emphasis added). "[Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim is context-specific, requiring the reviewing court to draw on its experience and common sense." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 671, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (discussing plausibility of claim as a requirement to survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, once the court "has determined the relevant set of facts and drawn all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party to the extent supportable by the record, [the ultimate decision becomes] purely a question of law." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381 (2007) (emphasis in original). "When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on the motion for summary judgment." Id. at 380.

         Undisputed Material Facts

         Mr. Campbell's remaining claims are: (1) that the defendants failed to provide him with constitutionally adequate medical treatment regarding back, leg, and neck pain, hemorrhoids, and maintaining his weight by providing a high-calorie diet and snack bag; (2) that defendant Hodges used excessive force against Campbell by hitting him in the face; and (3) that defendants Brown and Paige used excessive force on three occasions when Brown conducted a digital-rectal examination against Campbell's will, while Paige held him down.

         Hemorrhoid Treatment

         First among Campbell's allegations is that, in 2014, Nurse Brown performed a digital-rectal exam to evaluate his complaints of hemorrhoids and that the exam caused him pain and emotional distress. Doc. 1 at 4-5, 51-52; 53-54; 55-56. He claims that this evaluation amounted to rape and has caused him mental anguish. Id. He also alleges that Brown provided him with Milk of Magnesia to treat his hemorrhoids. Id. at p. 53-54.

         Campbell's medical records (totaling 1, 537 pages) reveal that he submitted various sick call requests with complaints regarding his hemorrhoids beginning in 2011 and was treated by various medical providers, including Nurse Brown, through 2015, when the hemorrhoids were surgically removed. He was first evaluated by Nurse Brown regarding his hemorrhoids on January 29, 2013. See Medical Records at 425-426 attached to defendant Brown's Motion [80] as Exhibit A.[1] Nurse Brown prescribed hemorrhoid ointment. Id. She treated Campbell again for complaints of pain, constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids on May 12, 2014. Id. at 777. The notes show that Campbell initiated the visit with complaints of blood in his urine and stool - and that Nurse Brown evaluated him and provided treatment by updating his medications. Id. Campbell's medical records also show that on July 28, 2014, Nurse Brown performed another rectal exam during which Campbell screamed. Id. at 831-832. Nurse Brown explained to Campbell that he is going to have some pain associated with chronic neck and back problems and that she was there to help him. Id. He responded that he understood and he was tired of the pain. Id. Nurse Brown then evaluated and treated him. Id.

         Campbell submitted another Sick Call Request for regarding hemorrhoids on August 15, 2014, and Nurse Brown treated him on August 19, 2014. Id. at 585-589. She provided Campbell ointment for his hemorrhoids. Id.

         On December 22, 2014, Campbell again reported to medical with complaints of passing blood in his stool. Id. at 1014. The medical records reveal that Nurse Brown was not able to assess him; indeed a security officer escorted him from the clinic due to his aggressive behavior. Id. at 1 OHIO 15. Later that day, Dr. Paul Madubuonwu examined Campbell, noting that Campbell would not permit Nurse Brown to perform a rectal exam. Id. at 1015. Campbell requested hemorrhoid surgery, and he was evaluated as a candidate for surgery on ...


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