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Williams v. Corrections Corporation of America

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

March 23, 2017




         This action is before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The Court has before it for consideration Plaintiff's complaint (Dkt. 1), Defendants' motion (Dkt. 33), a special report prepared by officials of Davis Correctional Facility (DCF) at the direction of the Court, in accordance with Martinez v. Aaron, 570 F.2d 317 (10th Cir. 1978) (Dkt. 23), and Plaintiff's responses to the special report and motion (Dkts. 26, 34).

         Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections who is incarcerated at Lexington Correctional Center in Lexington, Oklahoma, brings this action under the authority of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking relief for alleged constitutional violations during his incarceration at DCF, a private prison in Holdenville, Oklahoma. The defendants are Corrections Corporation of America (CCA); Tim Wilkinson, DCF Warden; DCF Nurse Stewart; and Ray Larimer, DCF Clinical Supervisor.

         Standard of Review

         Defendants have moved the Court for dismissal of this action or in the alternative for summary judgment. Having moved for summary judgment in their favor, the movants are required to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and that the movants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).

         Summary judgment is not appropriate if there exists a genuine material factual issue such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-51 (1986). Plaintiff, as “the nonmoving party may not rest on [his] pleadings but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial as to those dispositive matters for which [he] carries the burden of proof.” Applied Genetics Int'l. v. First Affiliated Sec., Inc., 912 F.2d 1238 (10th Cir. 1990) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). In this regard, all evidence of the nonmoving party is deemed true, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Id. at 255 (citing Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 114, 158-59 (1970)). “To defeat a motion for summary judgment, evidence . . . must be based on more than mere speculation, conjecture, or surmise.” Bones v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., 366 F.3d 869, 875 (10th Cir. 2004). This Court's function is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 249. With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the merits of the defendants' motion.

         Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He claims that on April 18, 2013, he requested medical attention for his two broken fingers and his severely sprained wrist. Defendant Nurse Stewart initially misdiagnosed the injures and “snatched” one of his broken fingers, believing the finger was merely dislocated. On April 23, 2013, Plaintiff's hand was X-rayed, but he never saw a doctor at DCF. He was transferred to another facility for medical treatment on May 14, 2013, but he claims his hands have healed in their broken positions with loss of range, constant pain, loss of grip, and some deformity. He sets forth six grounds for relief:[1]

Count 1: The failure of defendant's [sic] Wilkinson and Larimer to take disciplinary or other action to curb the known pattern of improper medical treatment by defendant Steward constituted deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's and other prisoners' safety, and contributed to and proximately caused the above-described violation of 8th Amendment rights and denied medical care.
Count 2: The failure of defendant's [sic] CCA and Wilkinson to train, supervise, and discipline prison staff regarding all aspects of prison operations including but not limited to appropriate serious medical needs, such as, examination and treatment for broken hands and severely injured wrist constituted ...

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