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Bacon v. Wilcox

United States District Court, D. Utah

September 25, 2019

MICHAEL A. BACON, Plaintiff,
v.
TODD R. WILCOX et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY-JUDGMENT MOTION

          TED STEWART JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Plaintiff, Michael A. Bacon, brings civil-rights claims against Salt Lake County (SLC) defendants, Todd Wilcox, Brad Lewis, Eric Lindley, Patrick Gee, and Darren Backman. See 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2019). He argues these defendants violated his federal Eighth Amendment rights by causing him injury, then providing him inadequate medical care. (Doc. No. 31.)

         Defendants filed a Martinez report, (Doc. No. 68), including these documents: (1) declarations of Defendants and other relevant SLC staff; (2) medical records; and (3) jail records, including grievances, (Doc. Nos. 69-1, 69-2, 69-3 & 91). Based on the Martinez report, Defendants move for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 72.) Plaintiff replies--his only evidence being the sworn statements in his amended complaint. (Doc. Nos. 31 & 85.) The Court rules for Defendants.

         SUMMARY-JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is proper when “the movant shows that 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). A party may support factual assertions by “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.” Id. at 56(c)(1)(A). Summary judgment’s purpose “is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         The movant has the “initial burden to demonstrate an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-movant’s case.” Johnson v. City of Bountiful, 996 F.Supp. 1100, 1102 (D. Utah 1998). Once movant meets this burden, “the burden then shifts to the non-movant to make a showing sufficient to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the existence of that element.” Id. To do so, the non-movant must “go beyond the pleadings and ‘set forth specific facts’ that would be admissible in evidence in the event of a trial from which a rational trier of fact could find for the nonmovant.” Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, 144 F.3d 664, 671 (10th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted). In ruling on a summary-judgment motion, this Court must “examine the factual record and reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.” Sealock v. Colorado, 218 F.3d1205, 1209 (10th Cir. 2000).

         To notify him of his duty in responding to a summary-judgment motion, the Court twice provided Plaintiff with the full text of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and District of Utah Local Rule 56-1. (Doc. Nos. 40, at 5-8, & 61, at 5-8.)

         UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS

         • During relevant time period, Plaintiff was SLC inmate. (Doc. No. 31, at 3.)

         • During relevant time, Defendant Wilcox was medical doctor under contract to provide services at SLC Jail (Jail). (Doc. No. 68-3, at 2.)

         • During relevant time, Defendants Lewis and Lindley were doctors who treated Plaintiff at Jail. (Id.)

         • During relevant time, Defendant Gee was registered nurse (RN) at Jail. (Doc. No. 68-2.)

         • During relevant time, Defendant Backman was SLC Corrections Officer. (Doc. No. 68-1, at 2.)

         • 8/14/14-2/9/15 - Plaintiff prescribed Neurontin. (Doc. No. 69-2, at 2.)

         • 12/15/14-1/23/15 - Plaintiff prescribed “IBUPROFEN 800MG TABS.” (Doc. No. 69-2, at 2.)

         • 12/18/14 - Plaintiff injured knee when stepping on cup that Defendant Backman intentionally placed on stair trying to “catch a certain inmate” (not Plaintiff). (Doc. Nos. 31, at 3, 6, 7; 68-1, at 2, 4.) Defendant Gee “looked at Plaintiff’s knee[, ] did not touch it or examine it & indicated nothing was wrong & wouldn’t refer the injury to a doctor.” (Doc. No. 31, at 7.) Defendant Gee “did not evaluate Mr. Bacon on December 18, 2014.” (Doc. No. 68-2, at 2.) Within about five minutes of injury, “Medical called. OIC Guzman notified.” (Doc. No. 91, “Jail Divisions Officers Shift Log for 12/18/14.) Within about forty minutes of injury, Plaintiff seen by RN Patrick Knight, who did medical evaluation, after which reported Plaintiff “ambulated without assistance, was full weight bearing and full [range of motion] was noted” and had “no obvious deformity, no inflammation, ” with pain of seven out of ten, and was later seen returning to his cell without limping; “Prisoner Bacon cleared to remain in the unit.” (Doc. No. 69-1, at 2; Doc. No. 91, “Jail Divisions Officers Shift Log for 12/18/14.) Knight told Plaintiff to report “any worsening of symptoms. (Id.) Plaintiff filled out “Sick Call Request Form.” (Doc. No. 69-1, at 1.)

         • 12/19/14 - Plaintiff “put in to be seen by a doctor for the pain & having trouble walking.” (Doc. No. 31, at 8.) Plaintiff evaluated by triage nurse who scheduled Plaintiff to see doctor. (Doc. No. 69-1, at 1.)

         • 1/2/15 - Plaintiff saw Defendant Lewis “who noted a limp & knee sprain but told Plaintiff he could not provide any medical care.” (Doc. No. 31, at 8.) Defendant Lewis “ordered an x-ray which was unremarkable.” (Doc. Nos. 68-3, at 2, & 69-2, at 3.) As requested by Plaintiff, Defendant Lewis gave him “pink slip for a bottom bunk/bottom tier until roll up.” (Doc. No. 69-1, at 3, & 69-2, at 3.) Defendant Lewis noted Plaintiff already had prescriptions for ibuprofen and Neurontin for pain. (Doc. No. 69-1, at 3.) Defendant Lewis stated, “The patient can follow up as needed or if signs or symptoms persist, change or worsen.” (Doc. No. 69-1, at 3.)

         • 1/6/15 - Dr. Benjamin Huang reported about Plaintiff’s knee x-ray: “The knee joint is intact. No fracture or dislocation is seen. No suprapatellar joint effusion is seen.” (Doc. No. 69-1, at 4.)

         • 1/10/15 - Plaintiff requested follow-up medical treatment. (Doc. Nos. 31, at 9, & 69-1, at 5.)

         • 1/11/15 - Triage nurse evaluated Plaintiff, noting Plaintiff’s gait was “stable” and Plaintiff asked to “discuss treatment plan.” (Doc. No. 69-1, at 5.)

         • 1/14/15 - Plaintiff requested medical treatment for injured knee. (Doc. Nos. 31, at 9, & 69-1, at 6.)

         • 1/15/15 - Triage nurse evaluated knee, indicating “Dr Call” as disposition. (Doc. No. 69-1, at 6.)

         • 1/23/15 - Defendant Lindley saw Plaintiff for “chronic knee pain, ” agreeing to switch him “to tramadol and ...


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