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Hankins v. Russell

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

February 26, 2015

RONNIE HANKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
TERRY RUSSELL, et al., Defendants.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Russell's Motion for Summary Judgment, and the Corizon Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff opposes both Motions. For the reasons set forth below, both Motions are granted.

Background

Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights during his incarceration at Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center ("ERDCC"). Corizon, Inc. (Medical Service Provider); Tonya Long (Dentist); Marvin Bohnenkamp (Dentist); Mark Bradshaw (Dentist) (collectively, the "Corizon Defendants"); and Terry Russell (Warden, ERDCC) were named as Defendants in Plaintiff's original Complaint. In Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he joined as Defendants Shanta Pribble (Nurse); David Mullen (Medical Director); Todd Renshaw (Assistant Director of Nursing); Ernest Jackson (Missouri Director of Dental Services of Corrections); Joe Hoffmeister (Deputy Warden); and Stan Jackson (Assistant Warden) (collectively "additional Defendants").[1] Defendant Russell is sued in his official and individual capacity. All other Defendants are sued in their individual capacities only.

Plaintiff alleges that he was denied proper dental care for a period of six years as a result of a combination of Defendants' personal bad acts and deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, as well as their reliance on unconstitutional "customs, practices, and policies." Plaintiff further asserts that Defendant Russell failed to train and properly supervise Defendants regarding Plaintiff's need for dental services. Plaintiff also brings this action against Corizon, asserting that it acted according to an unconstitutional policy in denying proper dental care.

Plaintiff's Dental History

According to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Corizon maintains a policy which only permits inmates to receive new dentures in five-year intervals. Plaintiff entered ERDCC in 2004 with partial upper and partial lower dentures he had worn since 1988. In June 2005, he received new full upper and partial lower dentures. Thereafter, he began submitting Medical Service Requests ("MSRs") regarding holes in his upper denture and issues with decayed and fractured teeth. On February 6, 2007, Plaintiff filed an MSR stating that he was "[h]aving problems eating with false teeth, " and that he was experiencing rubbing, blisters, and raw spots. [Doc. No. 83-4, CMS No. 23]. Plaintiff filed an MSR on March 15, 2007, and had an appointment the same day, but left without being seen. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 162]. It is unclear if the MSR and appointment were dental related.[2] Plaintiff filed another MSR on April 19, 2007, requesting to see a dentist. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 19] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 162].

A. Defendant Long

Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Long on April 23, 2007. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 162]. According to medical records maintained by the Missouri Department of Corrections ("Plaintiff's medical records"), Plaintiff reported that he needed his dentures adjusted and that his tooth 21 was sensitive. [ Id. ]. The medical records state that Doctor Long assessed several specific issues with Plaintiff's tooth 21 and upper denture, and treated them through adjusting the denture, using a desensitizing agent, and placing a bonding agent on tooth 21. [ Id. ].

Plaintiff filed an MSR on October 25, 2007, complaining that he needed his denture replaced because there was a hole worn through it. [Doc. No. 83-4, CMS 20]. Plaintiff again filed an MSR on January 27, 2008, complaining that he needed his denture repaired or replaced because there was a hole worn through it. [ Id at CMS 21].[3] Plaintiff filed another MSR on August 14, 2008, which stated "I have a hole worn in my denture. This MSR is about the 6th one, I have not seen a dentus [sic] yet. I can't eat because the food goes through the hole into the gum." [ Id. at CMS 19]. Plaintiff submitted another MSR on August 22, 2008, requesting a consult and an exam. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 23] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 218].

According to Plaintiff's medical records, he was seen on August 28, 2008 by nondefendant Doctor Bellon. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 218]. Plaintiff reported that he had a hole in his upper denture. [ Id. ]. Doctor Bellon assessed the issue as repairable, filled the hole with hard reline material, and advised Plaintiff to file an MSR if he wanted new dentures. [ Id. ].

Plaintiff filed an MSR on July 5, 2009, complaining that he had a hole in his upper denture, that he needed new dentures, and that he was having problems eating. [Doc. No. 83-4, CMS 18]. In another MSR, filed on September 7, 2009, Plaintiff complained that he was "having severe pain with a decayed tooth, " and that he had "a denture with a hole in it." [ Id. at CMS 17]. Plaintiff submitted another MSR on September 15, 2009, requesting to see a dentist. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 26] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 251].

Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Long on September 16, 2009. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 251]. According to Plaintiff's medical records, he reported there were holes in his upper denture and tooth 22. [ Id. ]. Defendant Long noted in the records that the hole in the upper denture was repaired in 2008, but that the fix "didn't last long." [ Id. ]. Defendant Long further noted: "gross distal caries #22 near pulp." [ Id. ]. Her assessment was that, because Plaintiff received dentures in June 2005, he was not eligible for new dentures until June 2010. [ Id. ]. She further assessed that tooth 22 should be extracted. Defendant Long noted that Plaintiff did not want tooth 22 extracted and that he was upset that he was not eligible for new dentures at that time. [ Id. at CMS 252]. She rendered no treatment. [ Id. ].

On October 9, 2009, Plaintiff was seen by non-defendant Nurse Laird for a self declared medical emergency related to tooth pain. [ Id. at CMS 252-53]. Nurse Laird assessed potential for trauma, potential for infection, and knowledge deficit. [ Id. at CMS 253]. Nurse Laird determined that Plaintiff's complaint was non-emergent, and non-urgent. [ Id. ].

In response to an MSR reporting tooth pain filed on December 4, 2009, Plaintiff was seen on December 8, 2009 by non-defendant Doctor Vincenc, who noted that tooth 22 was decayed to the nerve. [ Id. at CMS 256]. Doctor Vincenc noted that Plaintiff requested to have his five remaining teeth removed and Doctor Vincenc recommended a consult with non-defendant Doctor Bellon. [ Id. ].

Plaintiff filed an MSR on December 10, 2009 to have tooth 22 extracted, but was a no show at an appointment on December 16, 2009. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶¶ 32-33] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 257]. Plaintiff again filed an MSR to have tooth 22 extracted on January 6, 2010. [ Id. at ¶ 34] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 263].

On January 11, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by non-defendant Doctor Bellon. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 263]. Plaintiff reported that he did not want to have his "bad tooth" pulled because it was not hurting, but that he would put in a new MSR to have his remaining lower five teeth extracted and to get new full upper and lower dentures. [ Id. ]. Doctor Bellon noted that Plaintiff only had five other lower teeth remaining, and that they were "decayed and fractured with mobility." [ Id. ]. Doctor Bellon's assessment was that Plaintiff was in need of new full upper and lower dentures. [ Id. ]. Doctor Bellon rendered no treatment, but noted that Plaintiff would submit a new MSR when he was ready for extractions and dentures. [ Id. ]. The next day, January 12, 2010, Plaintiff filed an MSR requesting teeth extraction and new dentures. [Doc. No. 83-4, CMS 16].

Plaintiff filed another MSR on March 11, 2010, requesting to see a dentist, but was listed as a no show at an appointment scheduled for March 15, 2010. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 36] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 266]. In an MSR filed on March 24, 2010, Plaintiff again requested an appointment with a dentist. [ Id. ] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 267].

On March 25, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Long. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 267]. Plaintiff requested to have the rest of his teeth removed, and to get new dentures. [ Id. ]. Defendant Long noted severe wear and localized severe caries on Plaintiff's remaining lower teeth. [ Id. ]. She also noted that his upper denture was ill fitting and that he had received full upper and partial lower dentures in 2005. [ Id. ]. Her assessment and plan were to extract Plaintiff's remaining six lower teeth (#s 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 31) and, after Plaintiff healed, to get him new full upper and lower dentures. [ Id. at CMS 267-68].

After requesting an appointment for teeth extraction and having it rescheduled due to time constraints, Plaintiff submitted another MSR on April 5, 2010 for teeth extraction. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶¶ 39-40] [citing id. at CMS 268]. At an appointment with Doctor Long on April 6, 2010, Plaintiff reported that he was there to get his teeth removed, and he signed a form entitled, "Consent for the Extraction of Teeth and Other Oral Surgery Procedures, " which listed eleven potential complications. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 15; Doc. No. 67-2 at 58, lines 17-25]. One of the possible complications listed on the consent form states: "Sharp ridges or bone splinters may form at the end of the socket where the tooth was pulled. Additional surgery or treatment may be needed to smooth these over or to remove them." [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 15].

Defendant Long removed teeth 22 and 23. [Doc. No. 67-1 at CMS 268-69]. Tooth 23 was extracted via a "simple delivery." [ Id. at CMS 268]. However, the crown on tooth 22 fractured, and labial soft tissue tore due to undermining. [ Id. ]. The root was delivered with forceps. [ Id. at CMS 268-69]. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Long intentionally broke tooth 22. Defendant Long planned to follow up one week later to remove the sutures and extract the remaining four teeth. [ Id. at CMS 269]. She prescribed medication, including pain killers. [ Id. at CMS 268].

Plaintiff filed an MSR for his suture removal and remaining teeth extraction on April 14, 2010. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 43] [citing id. at CMS 269]. At an appointment with Defendant Long on April 19, 2010, Plaintiff reported that he did not want to have the rest of his teeth pulled because they were "good teeth, " and he was "doing fine." [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 269]. Defendant Long observed that the extraction sites for teeth 22 and 23 were healing normally; that the sutures were no longer present; that there were caries on teeth 27 and 31; severe wear and moderate periodontitis; and tooth 31 was supraerupted with inadequate clearance with Plaintiff's upper denture. [ Id. ]. Defendant Long's assessment was that the remaining four teeth should be extracted and, after Plaintiff healed, he would get a new dentures. [ Id. ]. However, Defendant Long noted that Plaintiff did not want his remaining teeth to be extracted and that she informed him that new dentures (either full upper/full lower, or full upper/partial lower) would not be fabricated unless the rest of his teeth were removed. [ Id. ]. She reported that Plaintiff "left in a rush, still disagreeing with tx plan." [ Id. ].

On June 17, 2010, Plaintiff filed an MSR indicating that he needed his dentures replaced. [Doc. No. 83-4, CMS 14]. Plaintiff filed another MSR on September 14, 2010, requesting an appointment with a dentist. [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 46] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 279]. Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Long on September 16, 2010, at which time Plaintiff requested new dentures. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 279]. Defendant Long told Plaintiff that she needed to extract his remaining four teeth before fabricating new full upper and full lower dentures. [ Id. at CMS 280]. Plaintiff told her that he would not allow her to pull his teeth, and she "explained to patient the extractions need to be done." [ Id. ]. Plaintiff left and, about an hour later, his functional unit manager called, informed Defendant Long that Plaintiff did not want her to remove his teeth because she hurt him, and asked if anyone else could extract the teeth. [ Id. ]. Defendant Long told the functional unit manager that Plaintiff could submit a new MSR and he would be rescheduled with a different dentist. [ Id. ].

Plaintiff filed an Informal Resolution Request ("IRR") on September 2, 2010, alleging that Defendant Long was refusing him dentures by making her own policy, and that Defendant Long intentionally broke tooth 22 when she removed it. [Doc. No. 67-3, Grievance Record 1, 4]. On October 1, 2010, Defendant Pribble interviewed Plaintiff regarding his IRR and found a lack of evidence to support his claims that he was denied dental service or that Defendant Long intentionally hurt him. [ Id. at Grievance Record 4]. In her response, Defendant Pribble noted that Plaintiff submitted a new MSR for dental services on September 17, 2010, but that there was approximately a twelve week wait for non-emergent/non-urgent dental services. [ Id. ]. Defendant Pribble further advised Plaintiff that the dental department had received his request, that he would be scheduled accordingly, and that his treatment plan would be determined by his treating dentist. [ Id. ].

Plaintiff submitted an MSR on November 2, 2010 complaining of severe teeth pain and a possible infection, [Doc. No. 83-4, CMS 13], and an MSR on November 15, 2010 complaining of a toothache, [Doc. No. 67 at ¶ 49] [citing Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 285]. Defendant had a nurse encounter with non-defendant Nurse Pyrtle on November 16, 2010 during which he requested to see a dentist. [Doc. No. 67-1, CMS 285]. Plaintiff filed ...


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