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Presley v. Crow

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

September 30, 2019

SCOTT CROW[1] et al., Defendants.


          CHARLES B. GOODWIN, United States District Judge.

         Now before the Court are the following motions: (1) Motion to Dismiss by Defendants Scott Crow and Joe M. Allbaugh (Doc. No. 26); (2) Motion to Dismiss by Defendants Sara Givens and Michael McDougell (Doc No. 28);[2] and (3) Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint and Appointment of Counsel (Doc. No. 30). On review of the parties’ arguments and the record, the Court determines that Defendants’ motions should be granted on the ground that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, and that Plaintiff’s requests for leave to amend and for appointment of counsel should be denied.


         Plaintiff’s claims are based on Defendants’ alleged “procrastination” in scheduling a knee-replacement surgery, which Plaintiff claims is “needed to allow [him] to walk without pain.” Ex. 1 to Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 12-1) at 1.[3] The record reflects that Plaintiff first complained of stiffness in his right leg on January 18, 2013. See S.R. Ex. 7 (Doc. No. 24-7) at 2. On August 7, 2013, an x-ray of Plaintiff’s right knee showed “[s]evere narrowing of the medical joint compartment with osteophytes and periarticular severe sclerosis.” Id. at 11. Plaintiff was ordered a stabilizing brace in November 2013, id. at 18, 20, and a hinged knee brace in June 2015, id. at 48-49.

         Between November 2013 and October 2018, Plaintiff was evaluated and treated for knee pain on multiple occasions.[4] See Id . at 21-175. On March 6, 2018, Plaintiff was advised that knee-replacement surgery would “be the only way for him to achieve more comfort.” Id. at 167. At that time, however, Plaintiff opted for a less invasive treatment. Id. (noting that “[a]fter a lengthy discussion” regarding “further treatment options” for Plaintiff, “he opt[ed] for Cortison injection”). It wasn’t until October 18, 2018 that Plaintiff expressed his “read[iness] to be considered for [knee-replacement surgery].” Id. at 176.

         On October 26, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a Request to Staff requesting knee surgery and pain medication. See Ex. 3 to Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 12-3) at 5. In response, DOC officials stated that Plaintiff’s pain medication had been replaced and informed him that knee surgery requires committee approval and that the approval process “takes several months.” Id. On May 21, 2018, Plaintiff submitted another Request to Staff inquiring about the status of his knee surgery. Id. at 6. In response, Plaintiff was again advised about the approval process required for knee surgeries. Id.

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on June 13, 2018, apparently without taking further action on his May 21, 2018 Request to Staff.[5] See Compl. (Doc. No. 1).


         I. Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment

         A. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is a means of testing in advance of trial whether the available evidence would permit a reasonable jury to find in favor of the party asserting a claim. The Court must grant summary judgment when “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue is ‘genuine’ if there is sufficient evidence on each side so that a rational trier of fact could resolve the issue either way.” Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998). “An issue of fact is ‘material’ if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim.” Id.

         A party that moves for summary judgment has the burden of showing that the undisputed material facts require judgment as a matter of law in its favor. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the movant carries this initial burden, the nonmovant must then “go beyond the pleadings and ‘set forth specific facts’ that would be admissible in evidence in the event of trial from which a rational trier of fact could find for the nonmovant.” Adler, 144 F.3d at 671. The Court must then determine “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 v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). Parties may establish the existence or nonexistence of a material disputed fact by:

• citing to “depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . ., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” in the record; or
• demonstrating “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)(A)-(B).

         A defendant seeking summary judgment on the basis of an affirmative defense must show that the undisputed material facts establish all of the elements of the defense. SeeHutchinson v. Pfeil, 105 F.3d 562, 564 (10th Cir. 1997) (“The defendant . . . must demonstrate that no disputed material fact exists regarding the affirmative defense asserted.”). If the defendant meets this burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to cite evidentiary material that shows there is a genuine factual ...

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