United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. WALKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Chad Edward Spiers, proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner
civil rights complaint alleging inadequate medical care for
treatment of Hepatitis C. Doc. . The Court conducted a
screening hearing on June 20, 2018. The parties consented to
proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge. Doc. .
to Plaintiffs complaint, in March 2017, he tested positive
for Hepatitis C. On March 22, 2017, he was transferred to the
Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. While at
Parchman, he spoke to Defendant Nurse Dawn M. Brown about his
test results, who told him his test results came back normal.
On April 13, 2017, Plaintiff was transferred to the South
Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI). Shortly
thereafter, he was placed in Chronic Care to monitor his
condition. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Dr. Charmine
McCleave told him he had tested positive for Hepatitis C, but
his enzymes were not high enough to warrant treatment.
complaint, Plaintiff alleges continual denial of medical care
for Hepatitis C. Plaintiff requests treatment with a direct
acting, anti-viral medication to cure his Hepatitis C. He
spoke to Defendant Nurse Christena D. Eubanks and Defendant
Dr. Ron Woodall about his condition, but received no
prescription or treatment from an outside specialist. He also
spoke with numerous Mississippi Department of Corrections
(MDOC) employees who have been named as Defendants, but
received no favorable response to his request for treatment.
Plaintiff also has named as a Defendant Centurion of
Mississippi, LLC. Centurion provides medical services for
Centurion, Nurse Brown, Nurse Eubanks, Dr. McCleave, and Dr.
Woodall have filed amotion for summary judgment. Doc. .
Defendants Darrell Baughn, Pelicia Hall, Mike Hatten, Kevin
Jackson, and Gloria Perry, who are all employees of MDOC,
have joined in the motion. Doc. . Plaintiff has not filed
a response in opposition to the motion for summary judgment.
provides 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); Sierra Club,
Inc. v. Sandy Creek Energy Assocs., L.P., 627 F.3d 134,
138 (5th Cir. 2010). Where the summary judgment evidence
establishes that one of the essential elements of the
plaintiffs cause of action does not exist as a matter of law,
all other contested issues of fact are rendered immaterial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986);
Topalin v. Ehrman, 954 F.2d 1125, 1138 (5th Cir.
1992). In making its determinations of fact on a motion for
summary judgment, the court must view the evidence submitted
by the parties in a light most favorable to the non-moving
party. McPherson v. Rankin, 736 F.2d 175, 178 (5th
moving party has the duty to demonstrate the lack of a
genuine issue of a material fact and the appropriateness of
judgment as a matter of law to prevail on its motion.
Union Planters Nat'l Leasing v. Woods, 687 F.2d
117 (5th Cir. 1982). The movant accomplishes this by
informing the court of the basis of its motion, and by
identifying portions of the record which highlight the
absence of genuine factual issues. Topalian, 954
F.2d at 1131. "Rule 56 contemplates a shifting burden:
the nonmovant is under no obligation to respond unless the
movant discharges [its] initial burden of demonstrating
[entitlement to summary judgment]." John v. State of
Louisiana, 757 F.3d 698, 708 (5th Cir. 1985).
Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is
presented, the nonmoving party must rebut with
"significant probative" evidence. Ferguson v.
Nat'l Broad. Co., Inc., 584 F.2d 111, 114 (5th Cir.
alleges that he tested positive for Hepatitis C and requested
treatment with directing acting, anti-viral medication from
the Defendants, but Defendants have refused to provide the
desired medication. To state a constitutional claim for
denial of adequate medical care, a plaintiff must demonstrate
that defendants were deliberately indifferent to plaintiffs
serious medical needs, such that it constituted an
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). A prison official is
not liable for the denial of medical treatment unless the
official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety. Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153,
159 (5th Cir. 1999). The Constitution guarantee prisoners
"only adequate, not optimal medical care."
Spriggins v. LaRavia, 2012 WL 1135845, at *4 (E.D.
La. Apr. 4, 2012) (emphasis in original), citing Gobert
v. Caldwell, 463 F.3d 339, 349 (5th Cir. 2006). An
allegation of malpractice or mere negligence is insufficient
to state a claim. Hallv. Thomas, 190 F.3d 693, 697
(5th Cir. 1999). Moreover, the fact that a prisoner disagrees
with the type of medical treatment does not constitute a
constitutional deprivation. Norton v. Dimazana, 122
F.3d 286, 292 (5th Cir. 1997). A delay in medical care may,
under certain circumstances, state a claim for
constitutionally inadequate medical care. See Mendoza v.
Lynaugh, 989 F.2d 191, 195 (5th Cir. 1993). A
"delay in medical care can only constitute an Eighth
Amendment violation if there has been deliberate
indifference, which results in substantial harm."
Id. at 195. However, "the decision whether to
provide additional treatment 'is a classic example of a
matter for medical judgment.'" Domino v. Texas
Dep 't of Crim. Justice, 239 F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir.
2001). Disagreements about whether an inmate should be
referred to a specialist as part of ongoing treatment do not
constitute deliberate indifference. See Alfred v. Texas
Dep't of Criminal Justice, No. 03-40313, 2003 WL
22682118, at *1 (5th Cir. Nov.13, 2003); Hickman v.
Moya, No. 98-50841, 1999 WL 346987, at *1 (5th Cir. May
support of their motion for summary judgment, Defendants
provided the declaration of Defendant Dr. Woodall. Doc.
[51-1]. According to Dr. Woodall, Plaintiff tested positive
for Hepatitis C on March 24, 2017. Plaintiff received a
follow-up test on April 20, 2017 and was placed in Chronic
Care to monitor his condition. Dr. Woodall stated that
Plaintiffs AST to Platelet Ratio Index (APRI), which is used
to monitor fibrosis of the liver, measured at 0.9, which is
significantly less than 2.5, which is classified as
"mild fibrosis". According to Dr. Woodall, patients
with elevated enzymes, as reflected in an APRI score of 2.5,
would be referred to a specialist for evaluation of treatment
with anti-viral medications and other treatments. Although
Plaintiffs enzyme levels have not demonstrated a worsening
condition, in February 2018, Plaintiff was referred to a
specialist in gastrointestinal diseases. In the meantime,
Plaintiff received constant, routine monitoring. Eventually,
on November 1, 2018, Dr. Bridgers of GI Associates of North
MS evaluated Plaintiff and recommended that he be treated
with anti-viral medication. At no point during the interval
from February 2018 until November 1, 2018 did Plaintiffs
enzyme levels demonstrate a worsening or deteriorating
condition. Plaintiff has not filed a response in opposition
or presented summary judgment evidence disputing Dr.
Woodall's description of the course of treatment
Plaintiff has received. The Court finds that the course of
treatment provided to Plaintiff does not constitute
deliberate indifference. See Davidson v. Texas Dep't
of Criminal Justice, 91 Fed.Appx. 963 (5th Cir. 2004)
(upholding dismissal of prisoner's civil rights action
alleging prison officials' refusal to treat hepatitis
with medication); Harris v. Epps, 2012 WL 3114555,
at *4 (S.D.Miss. July 31, 2012) (rejecting prisoner's
claim of constitutionally inadequate medical care for, among
other things, his hepatitis C, where the condition was being
routinely monitored and treated).
THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants' 
Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and that Plaintiffs
complaint is dismissed with ...