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Burton v. Kastings

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

July 21, 2014

STEPHANIE KASTINGS, et al., Defendants.


STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the sole remaining defendant's motion for summary judgment. Responsive pleadings have been filed and the matter is now ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the Court will grant the motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

Plaintiff Victor Ray Burton filed this 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 claim against defendants who were on the medical staff at Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) in Charleston, Missouri, when plaintiff was incarcerated at that facility. Plaintiff complains of a delay in medical treatment from the date he suffered an injury to his hand, November 13, 2009, to the date of surgery on his hand, February 4, 2010. Plaintiff alleges that the actions and inactions of the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Further, he alleges that he has been permanently deformed and partially disabled as a direct result of the defendants' deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.

Plaintiff filed his original complaint against defendants Sgt. Bryan Hoskins, Stephanie Kastings, Terry Mitchell, Felicia Dodge, Heather Annesser, Amanda Hill, Amanda Gibson, and Dr. Michael Hakala. On motions of defendants Hoskins, Dodge, Annesser, and Hill, they were dismissed by the Court. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, which added Tammi Martinez as a defendant. Defendants Gibson, Hakala, Kasting, and Mitchell filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the Court on March 18, 2014. Defendant Martinez, who was served after that motion was filed, was not a party to the motion. Thereafter, Martinez filed the instant motion.

In her motion, Martinez argues she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because plaintiff is unable to present evidence that she acted with deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious medical needs or that any delay in treatment of plaintiff's fractured hand caused or had a detrimental effect. She contends that the medical records and undisputed facts demonstrate that plaintiff was provided with appropriate medical care for his hand injury.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a district court may grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the information before the court demonstrates that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The burden is on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op. Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273 (8th Cir. 1988). After the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party must do more than show that there is some doubt as to the facts. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the nonmoving party bears the burden of setting forth specific facts showing that there is sufficient evidence in his favor to allow a jury to return a verdict for him. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must review the facts in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion and give that party the benefit of any inferences that logically can be drawn from those facts. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587; Woods v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 409 F.3d 984, 990 (8th Cir. 2005). The Court may not "weigh the evidence in the summary judgment record, decide credibility questions, or determine the truth of any factual issue." Kampouris v. St. Louis Symphony Soc., 210 F.3d 845, 847 (8th Cir. 2000). The court is required, however, to resolve all conflicts of evidence in favor of the nonmoving party. Robert Johnson Grain Co. v. Chemical Interchange Co., 541 F.2d 207, 210 (8th Cir. 1976).

III. Facts

Based on defendant's statement of uncontroverted material facts, plaintiff's statement of material facts, and the responses thereto, along with the plaintiff's medical records and other records before this Court, the undisputed material facts are set forth below.

On November 13, 2009, plaintiff was involved in a physical conflict with another inmate. Correctional officers broke up the altercation and delivered plaintiff to a segregated housing unit for confinement where he had an initial evaluation by medical staff. During the initial evaluation, plaintiff expressed concern that he might have broken his hand. Upon examination by Nurse Felicia Dodge, it was noted that plaintiff's right outer hand was swollen and tender to touch. On November 17, 2009, plaintiff submitted a medical service request for "xray broken hand." Plaintiff was seen by Nurse Amanda Ulmer on November 18, 2008 in response to that medical service request. Plaintiff was confined to the segregation unit from November 13, 2009 through December 2, 2009. During that time plaintiff's injured hand was not x-rayed and he was not examined by a physician.

Plaintiff filed a medical service request on December 4, 2009 complaining of dry skin. On December 7, 2009, plaintiff was seen by Nurse Amanda Gibson regarding his complaint of dry skin. Plaintiff filed a medical service request on December 6, 2009 for "hand/wrist - hurt 3 weeks ago." That request was reviewed on December 7, 2009 by Nurse Tammi Martinez and referred for a nurse sick call. On December 8, 2009, plaintiff was seen in response to that medical service request. At that time, plaintiff complained that he thought he "sprained" his wrist or "broke it" about a month ago and he "was supposed to get an x-ray but never heard anything." Plaintiff further complained that "it still hurts" and he "can't put pressure on it or lift heavy items." Plaintiff was examined by Nurse Ulmer and her assessment was that he had a sprain. Plaintiff was directed to take Ibuprofen 200 mg tablets for pain. He was further instructed to return to sick call in two days if he was not better.

On January 4, 2010, plaintiff wrote the director of nursing, Stephanie Kasting, complaining that his hand was broken and he had not received medical attention. On January 5, 2010, plaintiff was seen by Nurse Gibson, who told him that he was scheduled for an x-ray. On that date, plaintiff had x-rays on his right hand and wrist. The x-rays revealed that the component bones of the wrist appeared intact without fracture or dislocation. There was an incidental finding of fracture involving the base of the fifth metacarpal. There was some callous formation at the fracture site and the fracture fragments appeared separated. The osseous ...

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