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Gray v. Sorrels

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

September 30, 2019

FREDERICK GRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICIA SORRELS, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Ronald A. White United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) who is incarcerated at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, Oklahoma, brought this action under the authority of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking relief for alleged constitutional violations during his incarceration at Oklahoma State Penitentiary (OSP) in McAlester, Oklahoma. The remaining defendants are David Marlar, OSP Resident Physician, and three OSP Nurses: Nancy Coppel, Amber Robinson, and Alicia Scull.

         Plaintiff appealed the Opinion and Order dismissing this action to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court affirmed in part, and reversed and remanded for further proceedings concerning:

(1) the claim against Ms. Coppel alleging she denied Mr. Gray medical treatment;
(2) the claim against Dr. Marlar concerning Mr. Gray's neck injury, and
(3) the equal protection claim against Ms. Coppel, Ms. Robinson, and Ms. Scull.

Gray v. Sorrels, No. 17-7063, slip op. at 18 (10th Cir. Aug. 1, 2018) (Dkt. 86).

         Defendants have filed a special report at the direction of the Court, in accordance with Martinez v. Aaron, 570 F.2d 317 (10th Cir. 1978) (Dkt. 101) and a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 102). Plaintiff has filed a response to the motion (Dkt. 104), and Defendants also have filed a reply (Dkt. 105).

         Denial of Medical Treatment (Defendant Coppel)

         The Tenth Circuit described Plaintiff's remaining claims as follows:

Ms. Coppel was a licensed practical nurse at the prison. The amended complaint alleged that Mr. Gray's knees were swollen and severely painful when Ms. Coppel examined him, and that she would not provide him with anything for the swelling or pain. Mr. Gray's affidavit further alleged that Ms. Coppel saw him in late June, 2015, but Dr. Marlar did not see him until September 2, 2015. In the interim, Ms. Coppel did not give him any pain medication and instead told him that he would have to wait for Dr. Marlar. Mr. Gray alleged that he had been in severe pain while awaiting treatment.
We conclude that Mr. Gray stated a plausible claim of the subjective component of deliberate indifference by alleging that Ms. Coppel knew of his swollen and painful knees and determined that they required treatment, yet failed to provide any pain relief for over two months. This sufficiently alleged that Ms. Coppel was both aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm existed, and that she must also have drawn the inference.
We further conclude that Mr. Gray's claim that his knees were severely swollen and caused him severe pain for over two months stated a plausible claim that the delay resulted in substantial harm, thus satisfying the objective component. See Al-Turki, 762 F.3d at 1193 (stating the objective element is established if the pain ...

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