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Grace v. Wallace

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

November 28, 2017

WILLIAM GRACE, Plaintiff,
v.
IAN WALLACE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, pro se, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants Tomas Cabrera, Nina Hill, and Becky Lizenbee, alleging they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. Currently pending before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (#58). The motion has been briefed and is ripe for disposition.

         I. Factual Background

         At all times relevant to the complaint, plaintiff was incarcerated in Missouri Department of Corrections. plaintiff's allegations span his time spent at both Northeast Correctional Center (“NECC”) and Southeast Correctional Center (“SECC”) and names as defendants three medical care providers --- Dr. Cabrera at NECC, Nurse Practitioner Nina Hill at SECC, and Nurse Becky Lizenbee at SECC.

         Plaintiff is HIV positive. With regard to Dr. Cabrera, plaintiff alleges he denied him medical care at NECC by “condoning” nurses' behavior in denying plaintiff his medications and by denying plaintiff “proper nutrition.” Plaintiff submits that he was denied HIV and other medications by nursing staff on various dates in January, February, March and April 2016, and that he reported these failures to Dr. Cabrera in February and April 2016, and that Dr. Cabrera did nothing. Plaintiff additionally contends he reported rectal bleeding to Dr. Cabrera on February 15, 2016 and March 31, 2016, but that Dr. Cabrera did nothing.

         Regarding Nurse Practitioner Nina Hill, plaintiff alleges she saw him on November 13, 2015 at SECC and reviewed his records dating back to 2012 showing that he had previously received Ensure, but refused to prescribe it. Plaintiff contends this amounted to deliberate indifference.

         Finally, plaintiff alleges Nurse Becky Lizenbee was deliberately indifferent by denying him proper nutrition even though she knew he was suffering from AIDS-related complex and wasting syndrome.

         A. Grievance Records

         Plaintiff did not complete any grievances regarding any claim against Dr. Cabrera or Nurse Lizenbee. The only claim exhausted by plaintiff is that Nurse Practitioner Hill allegedly denied him proper nutrition. The grievance procedure at both MDOC facilities consists of an informal and formal internal process and an appeal. A grievance is not considered exhausted unless and until the inmate completes the formal grievance procedure at the appeal level. All offenders are provided access to the grievance procedure unless special limitations have been placed as a result of offender misuse of the grievance procedure.

         Plaintiff filed three medical grievances at NECC.

• Grievance NECC-16-128 on January 21, 2016, complaining that Nurse Denise Morris interfered with treatment prescribed by a doctor concerning double portion food trays and requesting that she change his lay-in to allow them. This grievance was denied at the informal and formal levels, and on appeal. In his appeal, plaintiff added that Dr. Cabrera and the Health Service Administrator (“HSA”) refused to provide him proper nutrition; however, this was not the subject matter of his underlying grievance, and the issue was not considered on appeal. Only the complaint made in plaintiff's underlying IRR regarding Grievance NECC-16-128 was considered.
• Grievance NECC-16-109 was also logged on January 21, 2016, but it was a duplicate of the preceding IRR.
• Grievance NECC-16-358 on March 11, 2016, complaining that he was denied HIV medication on February 10, 2016 because he had missed the medication line. Plaintiff filed a formal grievance on June 7, 2016, complaining that the HAS and Director of Nursing knew he was denied HIV medication on February 10, 2016 but declined to help him. This grievance has not been completed through the appeal level of the MDOC grievance procedure.

         Plaintiffs grievance records at NECC do not reveal any grievances complaining about rectal bleeding or medical treatment rendered for the same.

         Plaintiffs grievance records at SECC show he filed six medical grievances. None of them involve rectal bleeding, complaints of being denied or delayed access to his HIV medications, ...


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