United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
WILLIAM H. HENSON, Plaintiff,
BONNIE BRENNAN, et al., Defendants.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 105] and Plaintiff's Motion
for order to obtain medical treatment [Doc. No. 124]. For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is granted,
and Plaintiff's Motion is denied.
alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights
through deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs
while he was an inmate at the Northeast Correctional Center
have, in accordance with the Court's Local Rules,
submitted a Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts.
Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendants'
facts. Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure and Rule 7-401(E) of this Court's
Local Rules, Defendants' facts are deemed admitted. Local
Rule 7-401(E) provides:
- 4.01 Motions and Memoranda.
(E) A memorandum in support of a motion for summary judgment
shall have attached a statement of uncontroverted material
facts, set forth in a separately numbered paragraph for each
fact, indicating whether each fact is established by the
record, and, if so, the appropriate citations. Every
memorandum in opposition shall include a statement of
material facts as to which the party contends a genuine issue
exists. Those matters in dispute shall be set forth with
specific references to portions of the record, where
available, upon which the opposing party relies. The opposing
party also shall note for all disputed facts the paragraph
number from movant's listing of facts. All matters set
forth in the statement of the movant shall be deemed admitted
for purposes of summary judgment unless specifically
controverted by the opposing party.
undisputed facts are as follows:
times relevant to his Complaint, Plaintiff William Henson was
an inmate at NECC in Bowling Green, Missouri.
times relevant to Plaintiff's Complaint, the State of
Missouri contracted with Corizon to provide medical care and
treatment to offenders incarcerated within the Missouri
Department of Corrections (“MDOC”).
Bonnie Brennan was employed by Corizon as a nurse
practitioner at NECC. While assigned to NECC, Brennan's
duties consisted of providing medical care and treatment to
the inmates at the institution, which included identifying
patients' health problems on a case-by-case basis and
prescribing and implementing treatment plans approved by a
Tamara Anderson was employed by Corizon as a Health Services
Administrator (HSA) at NECC. While assigned to NECC,
Anderson's duties consisted of managing health systems
and staff functions. Anderson was not responsible for
developing treatment plans for patients. Rather, it was the
responsibility of Corizon physicians to create treatment
plans and order medications for patients on a case-by-case
Defendant Anderson's job functions as HSA was to review
inmate grievances related to medical care, review the
relevant medical records, and issue written responses and/or
meet with inmates to resolve their complaints. The MDOC has
an administrative policy in place for the resolution of
inmate grievances. The MDOC grievance policy has three major
phases: The Informal Resolution Request, Offender Grievance
Process, and Appeal Process. The MDOC grievance policy
directs that staff should respond to Informal Resolution
Requests (IRRs) within 40 days. Expiration of this time limit
will allow an inmate to proceed to the next stage of the
grievance process. In resolving inmate grievances related to
medical care, the HSA reviewed the relevant medical records
to ensure that requests for medical care were addressed and
that treatment plans ordered by physicians were implemented.
Defendant Anderson had no authority to compel a Corizon
physician to order a different plan of treatment as part of
the grievance resolution process.
26, 2016, Plaintiff transferred to NECC from another prison
approximately 1:30 a.m. on July 28, 2016, Plaintiff
self-declared a medical emergency for back pain. Corizon
Nurse Hunter responded to the call and noted that Plaintiff
complained of pain from a spinal cord injury sustained in
2003 that was surgically repaired in 2005. Nurse Hunter
recorded that Plaintiff complained of increased pain at the
incision area from the 2005 surgery, as well as numbness and
pain in his right leg and foot. Nurse Hunter observed no
physical injuries, so she educated Plaintiff about the
processes for Health Services Requests (HSR), sick call, and
29, 2016, Plaintiff submitted an HSR for complaints of
“worsening symptoms and meds.” It was received by
the medical department on July 31, and an appointment was
scheduled for August 24.
August 24, 2016, Dr. Paniagua, a Corizon physician, saw
Plaintiff in Corizon's “chronic care clinic”
for chronic pain to address complaints of lower back pain.
Dr. Paniagua assessed Plaintiff as having low back pain at
his L1 spinal segment, but a normal gait and normal range of
motion in his extremities. Dr. Paniagua ordered Tramadol to
treat Plaintiff's pain and discontinued his preexisting
order for Gabapentin. On August 31, Dr. Paniagua requested
outside medical records from Forrest Park Hospital to review
Plaintiff's medical history of a spinal cord injury. The
records arrived at NECC on September 19.
September 7, 2016, Plaintiff filed IRR NECC 16-1159 in which
he complained that he was given an incorrect medication in
place of Tramadol on August 29. Defendant Anderson met with
Plaintiff to discuss his IRR on September 13. She told
Plaintiff that there was no evidence that he had been given
the wrong medication in place of Tramadol. She nonetheless
informed Plaintiff that she would meet with nursing staff to
remind them of the importance of correct medication
administration and professionalism. Anderson considered
Plaintiff's IRR to be resolved through discussion.
Plaintiff requested that his old medical records and
Electromyography (EMG) studies be reviewed to validate that
he had nerve damage as a result of complications from back
surgery. Anderson agreed to review the records.
October 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed IRR NECC 16-1357, in which
he complained of receiving incorrect and inadequate
medications to treat his chronic pain and numbness in his
legs. He wrote in his IRR that his Gabapentin (Neurontin) was
discontinued and that as a result, he lost feeling in his
left leg and fell twice on unspecified dates. His IRR also
stated that he had not been seen by medical personnel for his
chronic pain issues. Nurse Niemeyer met with Plaintiff on
October 13 to address Plaintiff's complaints of numbness
and nerve pain. Plaintiff explained that his pain arose from
a prior motor vehicle accident resulting in spinal cord
damage. Plaintiff further explained to Nurse Niemeyer that
his order for Gabapentin was discontinued and that he
currently took Tramadol and Cymbalta (a nerve pain
medication) for pain. He stated that he needed both Tramadol
and Gabapentin to effectively treat his pain. Nurse Niemeyer
referred him to the chronic care physician for further
evaluation and follow-up.
October 28, Defendant Anderson met with Plaintiff to
follow-up on Plaintiff's request that his old medical
records be reviewed to confirm nerve damage. During this
encounter, Anderson reviewed prior medical records and
Electromyography (EMG) studies with Plaintiff. Anderson told
Plaintiff that, according to her review of the medical
records, EMG studies did not confirm positive results for
nerve damage. She noted that records from Cameron Regional
Medical Center stated that Plaintiff was being weaned off
Gabapentin and Tramadol. Plaintiff told Anderson at their
meeting that he was going to fall due to numbness and pain in
his leg. Anderson encouraged him to submit a medical services
request if he felt that he needed to be seen by a physician
to determine if diagnostic testing was indicated. Plaintiff
ended the conversation by stating that he intended to file
more IRRs for his pending lawsuit.
November 1, 2016, Plaintiff submitted an HSR for complaints
of chronic back pain and requested to be seen by a physician.
That same day, a Corizon nurse responded to the HSR and
Plaintiff told the nurse that he needed to be seen by a
physician about his chronic leg pain. The nurse referred
Plaintiff for an appointment with a physician. Plaintiff had
an appointment with Dr. Paniagua on November 9, 2016 that was
rescheduled because Plaintiff was unable to attend.
policy directs that inmates have access to 24-hour emergency
medical care as needed. The MDOC defines Emergency Care as:
“Care for an acute illness or an unexpected health need
that cannot be deferred until the next scheduled sick call or
clinic.” MDOC policy directs that custody staff will
transport an inmate to the Medical Unit in the event of a
medical emergency and contact medical staff for any
questions. True medical emergencies are reserved for
conditions that require immediate attention in order to
preserve life or bodily function. Numbness in the legs is not
usually a condition that threatens life or bodily function,
so it does not constitute ...