United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northeastern Division
BRIAN T. KIRK, Plaintiff,
REGINA CLARK and ANDREA CRADER, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. Jackson United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the joint motion of defendants
Regina Clark and Andrea Crader for summary judgment.
Plaintiff, who proceeds pro se, has not filed a
response in opposition nor requested an extension of time to
Brian Kirk is an inmate incarcerated in the Missouri
Department of Corrections. He alleges that he fractured his
wrist while playing basketball at the Moberly Correctional
Center and that defendant nurses Regina Clark and
Andrea Crader refused to order an x-ray until two days after
the injury. He claims that the delay in treatment caused his
wrist to heal improperly. He filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, asserting that defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical need.
after 2:00 p.m. on May 21, 2014, plaintiff sought medical
treatment from defendant Crader for his right ankle. Crader
Aff. at ¶4 [Doc. # 19-2]; Medical Record at 2-5 [Doc. #
19-3]. Plaintiff told Crader that he had twisted his ankle 10
minutes earlier while playing basketball. She observed that
plaintiff was able to bear weight, but he had discoloration
of the skin, swelling, tenderness, and a decreased range of
motion. She obtained an x-ray of the ankle, which showed
prominent soft tissue swelling but no evidence of a fracture.
Defendant Crader gave plaintiff ibuprofen and told him to
immobilize the ankle, elevate his leg, and apply ice. She
instructed him to return to the clinic if the condition did
not improve within two or three days. She offered him
crutches, but he declined. Crader Aff. at ¶¶ 4-5;
Med. Rec. at 2. Plaintiff did not complain about any injury
to his wrist or present with any objective evidence of a
wrist injury at that time. Crader Aff. ¶6.
returned to the medical unit shortly before 6:00 p.m. on May
21st to request crutches. Defendant Clark was on duty at that
time. She gave him crutches and issued a medical lay-in.
Clark Aff. at ¶ 4. [Doc. # 19-1]; Med. Rec. at 5.
Plaintiff did not tell her he had pain in his wrist or
present any objective evidence of a wrist injury at that
time. Clark Aff. ¶¶ 5-6. Clark states
that she would not have given plaintiff crutches if he
complained about wrist pain and would have found an
alternative mobility aid for him. Id. at ¶6.
23, 2014, plaintiff submitted a medical service request,
stating that duty. On examination, she noted that he had some
edema of the left wrist and pain with movement. She
immobilized his wrist and consulted with a physician who gave
verbal orders for an x-ray and tramadol for pain. Clark Aff.
at ¶8; Med. Rec. at 5-6. The x-ray revealed a
nondisplaced fracture of the distal radial metaphyseal
region. Id. Defendant Clark did not see plaintiff
again until July 3, 2014.
11th, plaintiff was placed in a short cylinder cast.
Id. at 11, 14. On July 3rd, plaintiff asked
defendant Clark when his cast would be removed. Clark Aff. at
¶10. She told him that follow-up x-rays would be taken
on July 8th and that the results would be discussed with him
at a follow-up appointment Id. On July 29, 2014,
physician Paul Jones, M.D., reviewed the x-rays, which showed
that plaintiff's wrist was healing but that there was not
yet a complete cortical union. Med. Rec. at 13. Dr. Jones
ordered tests to determine why plaintiff's wrist was
healing so slowly. Paul Jones Affidavit at ¶8 [Doc. #
19-4]. As a result of the test results, Dr. Jones ordered a
calcium supplement for plaintiff, along with additional pain
medication and a repeat x-ray. Id. at ¶9. An
x-ray taken on August 21, 2014, showed interval healing of
the fracture and Dr. Jones discontinued plaintiff's
lay-in and ordered that he could return to normal duty.
Id. at ¶10.
September 2, 2014, plaintiff told Dr. Jones that he had been
bench pressing 325 pounds and that his wrist hurt when he was
bench pressing, but not at any other time. Dr. Jones informed
plaintiff that high strain and weight use would cause the
fracture to take much longer to heal and could result in a
new injury. Dr. Jones advised plaintiff to use minimal weight
for the next four weeks. Id. at ¶11.
56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
summary judgment shall be entered if the moving party shows
“that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment the
court is required to view the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and must give that party
the benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn from the
underlying facts. AgriStor Leasing v. Farrow, 826
F.2d 732, 734 (8th Cir. 1987). The moving party bears the
burden of showing both the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact and its entitlement to judgment as a matter of
law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242
(1986); Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). Once the
moving party has met its burden, the non-moving party may not
rest on the allegations of his pleadings but must set forth
specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that
a genuine issue of material fact exists. United of Omaha
Life Ins. Co. v. Honea, 458 F.3d 788, 791 (8th Cir.
2006) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). Rule 56
“mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex Corporation v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
Eighth Amendment requires state prison officials to provide
inmates with needed medical care. Cullor v. Baldwin,
830 F.3d 830, 836 (8th Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). Prison
officials violate the Eighth Amendment when they are
“deliberately indifferent” to the “serious
medical needs” of inmates. Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). Whether an official was deliberately
indifferent requires both an objective and a subjective
analysis. Scott v. Benson, 742 F.3d 335, 339-40 (8th
Cir. 2014). Under the objective prong, plaintiff must
establish that he suffered from an objectively serious
medical need. Id. at 340. To be objectively serious,
a medical need must have been “diagnosed by a physician
as requiring treatment” or must be “so obvious
that even a layperson would easily recognize the necessity
for a doctor's attention.” Id. (citation
omitted). Under the subjective prong, plaintiff must show
that an official “actually knew of but deliberately
disregarded his serious medical need.” Id.
This showing requires a mental state “akin to criminal
recklessness.” Id. (citation omitted). Thus,
plaintiff must show “more than negligence, more even
than gross negligence” to evince deliberate
indifference. Jackson v. Buckman, 756 F.3d 1060,
1065 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). An inmate must
demonstrate that a prison doctor's actions were “so
inappropriate as to evidence intentional maltreatment or a
refusal to provide essential care.” Dulany v.
Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1240-41 (8th Cir. 1997).
claims that defendants Clark and Crider were deliberately
indifferent to his objectively serious medical needs because
they refused to x-ray his wrist until two days after he
sustained the initial injury. The uncontested evidence
establishes that plaintiff did not complain of wrist pain and
there was no objective evidence of a wrist injury on May 21,
2014, when defendants Crader and Clark evaluated plaintiff.
When plaintiff did report wrist pain on May 23, 2014, his
wrist was x-rayed and immobilized and he was given pain
medication and a medical lay-in. Plaintiff has not presented
any evidence and he cannot rely on the unattested allegations
in his complaint to create a genuine dispute of material
fact. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1) (“A party
asserting that a fact . . . is genuinely disputed must
support the assertion by (A) ...