United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
JEFFREY A. BECKERMANN, Plaintiff,
GLEN BABICH, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants' motions for
summary judgment (#74; #79). The defendants are divided into
two groups. Dr. Glen Babich, Julie Fipps, Jewel Cofield,
Jason Clements, Cody Stanley, Lisa Taber, and Dr. John
Eppolito make up the “Corizon Defendants.” Brad
Clark, Brandy Hickey, Myrtle Pruitt, and William Strange make
up the “Correctional Center Defendants.”
Plaintiff Jeffrey Beckermann has not responded to either
motion, and the time for doing so has passed. Both motions
events giving rise to this lawsuit occurred at the Southeast
Correctional Center (“SECC”), where plaintiff was
an inmate. On June 2, 2015, plaintiff fractured his right
hand while fighting with another inmate. After the fight,
plaintiff was taken to the segregation unit. Shortly after,
defendant Stanley (“Nurse Stanley”) evaluated
plaintiff. Plaintiff complained that his right hand hurt, so
Nurse Stanley asked plaintiff to move his hand. Plaintiff did
so easily, and Nurse Stanley observed no swelling, deformity,
signs of major physical trauma, or signs of apparent
distress. Nurse Stanley did not see anything that suggested
plaintiff had fractured his right hand or fingers or that
plaintiff required further evaluation or work up.
Nurse Stanley explained to plaintiff the two ways to seek
medical care while in segregation. First, plaintiff could
submit a Health Services Request (“HSR”). Nurses
collect HSRs each morning and then determine the appropriate
care. Second, if plaintiff had emergent health concerns, he
could activate the Incident Command System
(“ICS”), a self-declared medical emergency system
that requires correctional officers to contact health
thirty minutes later, plaintiff was interviewed by defendant
Clark (“Officer Clark”), the lieutenant who was
supervising the segregation unit. In this role, Officer Clark
talked with offenders to find out why they were placed in the
segregation unit. Plaintiff claims he told Officer Clark that
medical refused to treat him and he was suffering due to lack
of treatment and pain medication. Plaintiff also claims that
his hand was obviously fractured, swollen, and discolored.
Officer Clark disputes this and says plaintiff did not say
that he was refused medical treatment.
that night, defendants Pruitt and Hickey (“Officer
Pruitt” and “Officer Hickey”) interviewed
plaintiff. Plaintiff showed Officer Hickey his right hand and
asked Officer Hickey when a nurse would look at it. Officer
Hickey did not think plaintiff's hand presented a medical
emergency. Officer Hickey explained that plaintiff already
had seen a nurse when he was first taken to segregation.
Officer Hickey then explained to plaintiff the two ways to
seek medical care while in segregation. Officer Pruitt does
not recall plaintiff showing his hand or saying that he was
refused medical treatment, was in pain, or needed medical
couple hours later, plaintiff saw defendant Taber
(“Nurse Taber”). Plaintiff showed Nurse Taber his
hand and asked for medical attention. Nurse Taber gave
plaintiff an HSR and told him to fill it out. Plaintiff
claims he filled out the HSR and submitted it the next day,
but there is no documentation to this effect.
days later, plaintiff submitted an HSR requesting care for
his knee; he did not submit an HSR for his right hand. Four
days after that, plaintiff submitted an HSR about his right
hand. Later that day, defendant Clements (“Nurse
Clements”) evaluated plaintiff. Plaintiff reported pain
and swelling in his right hand and explained that he could
not make a fist. He denied numbness and tingling.
Plaintiff's right hand exhibited no heat, redness,
ecchymosis (reddish or bluish discoloration of the skin),
deformity, or discoloration, but Nurse Clements observed
swelling and warmth. Nurse Clements assessed plaintiff with a
possible fracture or dislocation, administered ibuprofen,
immobilized and splinted plaintiff's hand, applied ice,
and referred plaintiff to a higher-level provider. Nurse
Clements also noted that he would follow up with
plaintiff's care to ensure that a doctor had ordered an
x-ray. At no point did plaintiff activate the ICS.
days later, plaintiff received an x-ray that showed a
fracture. Defendant Eppolito (“Dr. Eppolito”)
requested an orthopedic referral and ordered Tylenol #3, a
narcotic pain medication. Defendant Babich (“Dr.
Babich”) approved the consult request, and plaintiff
met with an orthopedic specialist twelve days later.
Plaintiff claims that, because of the long delay in medical
treatment, the orthopedic specialist said he would require
extensive reconstructive surgery that would involve
re-fracturing his hand. This is not reflected in any of the
orthopedic specialist's medical records. The orthopedic
specialist requested approval for surgery, Dr. Babich
approved the request, and the specialist operated about a
month later. Of course, if the orthopedic specialist thought
the surgery were urgent, she could have requested an earlier
date. Nothing in plaintiff's medical records shows that a
delay in treatment affected his surgery or recovery.
plaintiff's first appointment with the orthopedic
specialist, but before surgery, plaintiff was transferred to
Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center.
Defendant Strange (“Deputy Warden Strange”) did
not request plaintiff's transfer, but he did approve it.
Deputy Warden Strange claims that plaintiff was transferred
from SECC to open up beds for safety and security reasons.
then filed suit based on the medical treatment (or alleged
lack thereof) he received for his fractured hand. He claims
both groups of defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
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). Because plaintiff did not
oppose the motions, the matters in the Corizon
Defendants' and the ...