United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
A. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action is before the court on Defendants' motion for
summary judgment. The court has before it for consideration
Plaintiff's complaint [Doc. 1], Defendants' motion
[Doc. 25], Plaintiff's response to the motion [Doc. 31],
and a special report [Doc. 24] prepared by the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections (“DOC”) at the
direction of the court, in accordance with Martinez v.
Aaron, 570 F.2d 317 (10th Cir. 1978).
a pro se prisoner in the custody of the DOC, is
currently incarcerated at Oklahoma State Reformatory Work
Center in Granite, Oklahoma. Plaintiff brings this action
under the authority of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking relief
for alleged constitutional violations during his
incarceration at Mack Alford Correctional Center
(“MACC”) in Stringtown, Oklahoma. Plaintiff was
housed at MACC from February 13, 2014, until his transfer to
the Oklahoma State Reformatory on August 1, 2017. [Doc. 24-7
at 2]. Defendants are Dr. Mitsi Faubion; Correctional Health
Services Administrator Heather Knight; and Nurse Brittany
Campbell. Defendants were employed at MACC at the time when
Plaintiff's claims allegedly arose.
alleges that Defendants Faubion, Knight and Campbell were
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs. Plaintiff claims that, prior to incarceration, he
sustained a left foot injury from a chainsaw accident in
2001, and that he later suffered from an accidental gunshot
injury to his left ankle in 2008. [Doc. 1 at 2]. Plaintiff
claims he healed from both injuries. Id. After
arriving at MACC, Plaintiff began experiencing severe pain in
his ankle, and in and around his big left toe, when he walked
the track. Id. Plaintiff claims he made requests to
see a specialist, and alleges the pain continued to worsen
while at MACC. Id. Plaintiff states it took almost
two years of complaining in order to get medical assistance.
Id. Plaintiff now claims he was “subjected to
crule [sic] and unusual punishment, deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment of the United States Constitution; resulting from
an inordinate delay of medical treatment of his pre-existing
foot injury.” Id. at 3. Plaintiff sets forth
two grounds for relief within his complaint.
Count One, Plaintiff claims Defendant Faubion “did act
in her individual capacity, and contrary to state law and
ODOC Policy Statements, with willful and wanton deliberate
indifference and inexcusable disregard for Plaintiff's
well-fare [sic] with the intent to either directly or
indirectly deny Plaintiff's request to be seen by a [sic]
outside specialist in order to obtain special shoes suitable
for his foot condition, by communicating to him that ODOC no
longer provides special shoes for offenders despite their
foot condition.” Id. at 4.
Count Two, Plaintiff contends that Defendants Faubion, Knight
and Campbell “have all acted in either their individual
and/or official capacity by colluding . . . contrary to state
statute and/or ODOC Policy, to deny or delay Plaintiff's
outside medical treatment by either misleading him to believe
that medical referral had been issued to see an outside
provider and/or that they had submitted medical documents
inorder [sic] to mislead him, or deliberately attempted to
defame Plaintiff's claim of suffering from severe pain
stemming from his foot condition . . . and to deliberately
obstruct the administrative grievance process.”
Id. at 9.
asserts that he has exhausted his administrative remedies.
Id. at 18. In support of his claims, Plaintiff
attaches certain medical records, Request for Health Services
documentation, and Request to Staff documentation. [Doc.
defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment. Summary
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A
dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that “a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material
if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Id. In making this
determination, “[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to
be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn
in his favor.” Id. at 255. However, a party
opposing a motion for summary judgment may not simply allege
there are disputed issues of fact; rather, the party must
support its assertions by citing to the record or by showing
the moving party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Thus, the inquiry for
this court is “whether the evidence presents a
sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or
whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a
matter of law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, the court construes
his pleadings liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519 (1972). This relaxed standard, however, does not relieve
his burden of alleging sufficient facts on which a recognized
legal claim could be based. Hall v. Bellmon, 935
F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).
of Administrative Remedies
allege, among other things, that Plaintiff has failed to
exhaust the administrative remedies for the claims set forth
in the complaint. [Doc. 25 at 19]. “No action shall be
brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983
of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner
confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility
until such administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Inmates are
required to exhaust available administrative remedies, and
suits filed before the exhaustion requirement is met must be
dismissed. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 740-41
(2001); Yousef v. Reno, 254 F.3d 1214, 1216 n.1
(10th Cir. 2001). “An inmate who begins the grievance
process but does not complete it is barred from pursuing a
§ 1983 claim under PLRA for failure to exhaust his
administrative remedies.” Jernigan v.
Stuchell, 304 F.3d 1030, 1032 (10th Cir. 2002) (citation
omitted). Substantial compliance is not sufficient.
exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines
and other critical procedural rules.” Woodford v.
Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006). Futility is not an
exception to the exhaustion requirement. Jernigan,
304 F.3d at 1032. Failure to exhaust is excused only if
prison officials impede the prisoner's attempts.
Little v. Jones, 607 F.3d 1245, 1250 (10th Cir.
procedure for exhausting administrative remedies in this case
is set forth in DOC Policy OP-090124 (eff. Oct. 18, 2017)
(“Inmate/Offender Grievance Process”). [Doc.
24-3]. The Inmate/Offender Grievance ...