United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner
complaint of Jerry Lynn Lofton, 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.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff, a pretrial
detainee, alleges that the defendants failed to provide him
with adequate medical care and used excessive force against
him in violation of the guarantee of the rights of procedural
and substantive due process under Fourteenth Amendment to the
Constitution. Hare v. City of Corinth, Miss., 74
F.3d 633, 639 (5th Cir. 1996). The defendants
have moved for summary judgment, and the plaintiff has
responded to that motion. The matter is ripe for resolution.
For the reasons set forth below, the motion by the defendants
for summary judgment will be granted, and judgment will be
entered in favor of the defendants.
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).
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,
67 F.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).
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).
“[D]etermining 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, 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)).
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.
Lofton in this case has alleged facts supporting two distinct
claims: (1) a claim for denial of medical care regarding a
painful right knee from April 14, 2016, to April 17, 2016,
and (2) a claim for use of excessive force on September 14,
2016. The court will discuss these events separately below.
of Adequate Medical Care
following summary of events comports with the Mr.
Lofton's contemporaneous medical records and incident
April 15 Lofton “pushed his call button in cell”
and asked to see the nurse, who saw him during med pass.
Lofton complained of severe knee pain and requested pain
medication. The nurse told Lofton that he had just finished
three days of pain medication,  and he would have to purchase
additional meds through the commissary. Later, Lofton again
requested the nurse, and she returned to his cell where he
complained of pain from leg injuries that occurred years ago.
The nurse tried to examine Lofton by testing the range of
motion of his knee, but he pushed her away, stating that the
examination hurt him. The nurse told Lofton that she must
first conduct an examination before he could see the doctor.
Lofton refused to see the doctor; instead, he insisted on the
pain medication. The nurse also told Lofton that a physician
must examine him before prescribing pain medication, but
Lofton also refused to visit the doctor.
April 16 Lofton was taken to the medical room, and the nurse
examined him. He stayed in the medical room for a time to
Lofton then complained of numbness in his foot, and the nurse
examined him again. Lofton again refused to see the
jail's physician, Dr. Thompson.
April 17 Lofton asked the nurse to check his blood pressure,
and she went to his cell to do so. Lofton was uncooperative -
and tossed a cup of urine near her as she tried to examine
Later that day, Lofton finally agreed to see Dr. Thompson,
who ordered that Lofton be taken to Baptist DeSoto Hospital
for further evaluation. The doctor prescribed 800 mg of
ibuprofen - as the nurse told him would happen if he would
see the physician. He was treated that ...