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Campbell v. Fisher

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

March 9, 2018

BOBBY JOE CAMPBELL PLAINTIFF
v.
MARSHALL FISHER, RONALD WOODALL, and KAREN DEESE DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN C. GARGIULO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         BEFORE THE COURT are two motions for summary judgment: the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 30) filed by Defendants Ronald Woodall and Karen Deese, and the Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Sovereign and Qualified Immunity (ECF No. 35) filed by Defendant Marshall Fisher. Plaintiff filed respective responses in opposition to each Motion (ECF No. 40); (ECF No. 41). Having considered the submissions of the parties, the record as a whole, and relevant law, the undersigned concludes that the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 30), filed by Ronald Woodall and Karen Deese, and the Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Sovereign and Qualified Immunity (ECF No. 35), filed by Marshall Fisher, will both be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff Bobby Joe Campbell is a prisoner in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) housed at South Mississippi Correctional Institution (“SMCI”) in Leakesville, Mississippi. He filed his Complaint (ECF No. 1) on April 27, 2016, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Although his Complaint requested an award of damages, (ECF No. 1, at 4), he later clarified that he seeks only injunctive relief in the form of Court-ordered medical care, (ECF No. 30-2, at 35-36). Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.

         On May 16, 2016, the undersigned issued an Order (ECF No. 6) directing Plaintiff to provide additional information about how Defendants supposedly violated his constitutional rights. Plaintiff filed a response (ECF No. 7) to that Order on June 2, 2016. On December 14, 2016, the Court held an omnibus hearing, [1]during which Plaintiff supplemented the allegations in his Complaint and the Court set case management deadlines. See Minute Entry Dec. 14, 2016; Transcript of Omnibus Hearing (ECF No. 30-2). Defendants thereafter filed the instant motions for summary judgment on April 21, 2017 (ECF No. 30) and April 28, 2017 (ECF No. 35), respectively.

         B. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that in October or November 2014, he suffered a chemical burn to both of his legs while assisting another inmate pour cleaning chemicals out of a large drum and into a smaller container. Plaintiff was on kitchen duty and went to the laundry room to get chemicals for cleaning table surfaces and the floor. He says the chemicals splashed up on to his legs, ate through his pants, and burned both of his legs below his knees. He immediately went to the infirmary, where he was seen by either Defendant Karen Deese, a nurse practitioner, or Defendant Ronald Woodall, a doctor.

         In a written filing, Plaintiff explains that he “was initially treated by Defendant R. Woodall, ” (ECF No. 7, at 5), but he testified at the omnibus hearing that he saw NP Deese when he first went to the infirmary, see (ECF No. 30-2, at 17-18). Furthermore, he testified that Dr. Woodall never saw his legs and never spoke to him about his condition of his legs; Dr. Woodall only responded to his administrative grievance. See (ECF No. 30-2, at 23). Either Dr. Woodall or NP Deese cleaned the burns, applied a burn cream, and wrapped his legs. Woodall or Deese also ordered him an ointment and told him to come back to the infirmary every three days to have the wrapping changed. Plaintiff thereafter returned to his work in the kitchen and dining hall.

         Plaintiff says that he went to the infirmary every three days as instructed, and that NP Deese cleaned his burns and re-wrapped his legs each time. He says he used the ointment as instructed but that this treatment - his use of the ointment and regular dressing changes - did not heal his legs. Pain regularly persists and he has scabs on his legs. Plaintiff believes that he should have been referred to a burn specialist because he has diabetes: he fears that the combination of the burn and his status as a diabetic (presumably in reference to complications from diabetes that affect his limbs) may lead to the loss of his legs. However, no medical professional warned him of such a risk.

         Plaintiff maintains that the prescribed ointment has not done anything to help his legs heal, but he noted that he also applies cocoa butter and baby oil to his legs in order to “keep [them] moist.” (ECF No. 30-2, at 29). No medical professional told him to use cocoa butter or baby oil. Plaintiff does not propose an alternative treatment that he should have received, but believes that something else could have and should be done for his legs.

         When asked why he is suing each Defendant, Plaintiff explained that he is suing Marshall Fisher because he is the final policymaker at MDOC and responsible for the overall safety and well-being of inmates housed in MDOC facilities. It is worth noting that Plaintiff could not remember why he was suing Marshall Fisher when questioned at the omnibus hearing. See (ECF No. 30-2, at 23-24). Plaintiff stated that he is suing doctor Ronald Woodall because Woodall (1) did not refer Plaintiff to a burn specialist, (2) continued to prescribe the same ointment despite Plaintiff's protests that it was ineffective, and (3) is in charge of care provided at the clinic. Finally, Plaintiff is suing NP Karen Deese because she refused to refer him to see a burn specialist even though he expressed fears of losing his legs. See (ECF No. 1); (ECF No. 7); (ECF No. 30-2).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standards

         a. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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). “When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “[T]he nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and ...


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