United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on plaintiff Rodney Jones's
motion to depose (#55), motion to produce (#56), motion to
amend the case management order (#61), and motion to pursue
state-law claims through supplemental jurisdiction (#71).
Defendants Eddie Hartline (“Nurse Hartline”) and
Mina Massey's (“Dr. Massey”) motion for
summary judgment (#65) is also before the Court. The matters
are fully briefed. Summary judgment is granted in favor of
January 12, 2014, Jones was involved in a physical
altercation with his cellmate, and several other inmates
attempted to break it up. After the altercation, he
immediately assumed his hands were broken. Jones was in
excruciating pain and wanted to seek medical attention. He
did not for fear that the inmates who tried breaking up the
fight would be punished when prison officials investigated
the incident. Three days later, prison officials found out
about the altercation and “locked everyone up involved
. . . .” Then, Jones and his cellmate were being
escorted to “medical” when Nurse Hartline
intercepted the group. Nurse Hartline asked if anyone needed
medical attention. Jones immediately responded, “Yes my
hands are broken.” Nurse Hartline told Jones to turn
around (he was cuffed from behind) and wiggle his fingers.
Jones did, and Nurse Hartline said Jones was “fine,
” clearing Jones for segregation custody. According to
Jones, his hands were noticeably swollen at this time. Jones
claims that Nurse Hartline intentionally deprived him of
medical care because the two had unpleasant encounters in the
that day, Jones stopped a nurse who was making daily rounds
in segregation. He told the nurse that his hands were broken
and that he had a fever. The nurse diagnosed Jones with a flu
virus and gave him Tylenol and antibiotics to treat the
virus. She gave him an icepack for his swollen hands and
requested that Jones's hands be reevaluated. The medical
records show that flu symptoms, not broken hands, were the
reason for Jones's complaint. He believes this record was
altered but has no proof that it was.
staff continued to treat Jones's flu-like symptoms over
the next several days. In fact, he saw medical staff six more
times over the next four days. Nothing in the medical records
for these encounters shows that Jones complained about his
hands. He makes only a passing comment that “the other
nurses would not talk to [him] about his hands.” Eight
days after entering segregation custody, Jones requested
medical attention due to hand pain. A doctor examined him the
same day and requested x-rays. The x-rays showed fractures in
both hands, and Jones later had surgery to repair the
fractures. He was admitted to the infirmary under Dr.
Massey's care after surgery. Four days after the surgery,
Dr. Massey noted in the medical records that Jones would be
discharged from the infirmary when he was able to perform
activities of daily living and was not taking narcotic pain
medication. Eight days after the surgery, the medical records
show that Jones was doing well and that Dr. Massey thought
Jones might be discharged the following day. The same day,
Jones was accused of stealing another inmate's food. The
next day, nine days after surgery, Jones was discharged from
the infirmary. The medical records show that he was able to
perform activities of daily living and was not taking
narcotic pain medication. Dr. Massey also issued
“layins, ” or restrictions, when discharging
Jones: Jones was restricted to bedrest for a month, and his
meals were to be brought to medical, among other things.
Contrary to the medical records, Jones claims that Dr. Massey
actually discharged him as punishment for his alleged
stealing. He claims he was never told of his layins or given
a paper copy to show correctional officers. Thus, he was
discharged while unable to care for or defend himself.
had a second surgery on his left index finger in July 2014.
Fifteen days after the surgery, Nurse Hartline was told to
remove Jones's sutures. Nurse Hartline asked a
correctional officer to cut the sutures while Nurse Hartline
pulled. Jones claims the procedure was very painful, but
there were no other complications at that time. The next day,
the wound reopened, and a nurse had to apply Steri-Strips to
now brings suit pro se and alleges that Nurse
Hartline violated his Eighth Amendment right in denying Jones
access to medical care during Nurse Hartline's
pre-segregation evaluation. Jones also claims that Nurse
Hartline violated his Eighth Amendment right when removing
Jones's sutures after the second surgery. Finally, Jones
argues that Dr. Massey violated his Eighth Amendment right by
discharging him from the infirmary because Jones allegedly
stole another inmate's food.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, 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 that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Poller
v. Columbia Broad. Sys., Inc., 368 U.S. 464, 467 (1962).
The burden is on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant
v. Assoc. 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. Indus. 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
its favor to allow a jury to return a verdict for it.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
review the facts in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion and must give that party the benefit of
any inferences that logically can be drawn from those facts.
N. States Power Co. v. Fed. Transit Admin.,
358 F.3d 1050, 1053 (8th Cir. 2004). The Court is required to
resolve all conflicts of evidence in favor of the nonmoving
party. Robert Johnson Grain Co. v. Chem. Interchange
Co., 541 F.2d 207, 210 (8th Cir. 1976).
has an Eighth Amendment right not to have known, objectively
serious medical needs disregarded by prison officials.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-06 (1976).
“For a violation, [Jones] must show ‘(1) that
[he] suffered [from] objectively serious medical needs and
(2) that the prison officials actually knew of but
deliberately disregarded those needs.'” Fourte
v. Faulkner Cty., 746 F.3d 384, 387 (8th Cir. 2014)
(second and third alterations in original) (quoting Jolly
v. Knudsen, 205 F.3d 1094, 1096 (8th Cir. 2000)). The
first element is objective, the second subjective.
Jolly, 205 F.3d at 1096.
serious medical need is one that has been diagnosed by a
physician as requiring treatment, or one that is so obvious
that even a layperson would easily recognize the necessity
for a doctor's attention.” Fourte, 746
F.3d at 388 (quoting Coleman v. Rahija, 114 F.3d
778, 784 (8th Cir. 1997)). “Deliberate indifference may
include intentionally denying or delaying access to medical
care, or intentionally interfering with treatment or
medication that has been prescribed.” Pietrafeso v.
Lawrence Cty., 452 F.3d 978, 983 (8th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Vaughan v. Lacey, 49 F.3d 1344, 1346 (8th
Cir. 1995)). “Deliberate indifference is ‘more
than negligence, more even than gross negligence, and mere
disagreement with treatment decisions does not rise to the
level of a constitutional violation.'”
Fourte, 746 F.3d at 387 (quoting Jolly, 205
F.3d at 1096). “A prison official is deliberately
indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical needs
only if he is ‘aware of facts from which the