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Gaguski v. Fannin County

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Gainesville Division

January 6, 2015

RUDOLPH SHAWN GAGUSKI, GDC ID # 1005953, Plaintiff,
v.
FANNIN COUNTY, GEORGIA, NURSE ANN EVANS, DR. MICHAEL MUMUNN, CAPTAIN GREG NEWMAN, Fannin Cnty. Det. Ctr., Defendants.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

J. CLAY FULLER, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for (1) the Defendants' alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs during his incarceration at the Fannin County Detention Center ("FCDC" or "Detention Center") from "July 1 to September 16, 2011, and during March 4-8 and June 8-13, 2012"; and (2) Captain Newman's alleged retaliation against him for filing this and/or other lawsuits. (Doc. 45 at 3). Plaintiff sues (1) Fannin County ("FC"); (2) FCDC Captain Greg Newman; and (3) Nurse Ann Evans and (4) Michael McMunn, [1] both employees of Southern Health Partners ("SHP"), which provided medical care to FCDC inmates during the relevant time periods. (Docs. 1, 44; see Docs. 38, 45).

I. Plaintiff's Complaint And Amended Complaint

Plaintiff presents the following allegations in his initial complaint (Doc. 1):

[H]e "has been diagnosed with severe Chronic Illnesses which require Medication[]s prescribed by Specialist Doctor[]s and mandating monitoring periodically and Medication[]s on a daily basis!"... Defendants denied him medical treatment, medication, and blood work monitoring for his chronic illnesses-mental health, hepatitis C, chronic severe pain, and bodily injuries, which include nerve damage, four pins in his left hip, and a "lost limb" on his right hand.... Defendants purposely put his life and health at risk of further injury.... [O]n August 16, 2011, Captain Newman acknowledged Plaintiff's health problems, but on August 31, [McMunn] "said he wouldn't help [Plaintiff] at all."... Defendants deprived him of medications, "causing further injury."... Nurse Evans stopped his medication on August 8, 2011, "and didn't give [him] anything else to replace what she denied [him]!"

(Doc. 38 at 3-4 (citations omitted)). In his amended complaint (Doc. 44), Plaintiff alleges the following:

Newman "had [Plaintiff's] medication stop[p]ed."... "Newman said make sure no medication an[d] threw [him] in the hole both time[s] in 2012 out of retaliation because of the lawsuit" and also for two weeks in 2011 as punishment for filing federal lawsuits.... Fannin County has "both policy and custom as they've always done inmates wrong on medical treatment, " as demonstrated by the refusal of Fannin County officials to treat his numerous serious medical needs.

(Doc. 45 at 3 (citations omitted)). Based on these allegations, the Court allowed Plaintiff's medical deliberate indifference claims to proceed against all four Defendants and his retaliation claim to proceed against Captain Newman. ( Id. at 4; see Doc. 47).

II. Factual Background

The parties have filed three motions for summary judgment: (1) Evans and McMunn ("the Medical Defendants") (Doc. 64); (2) Plaintiff (Doc. 68); and (3) Newman and Fannin County ("the FC Defendants") (Doc. 73). Plaintiff also has filed motions for discovery and document production (Doc. 76), to appoint counsel (Doc. 77) and to summon witnesses (Doc. 78).

A. The Medical Defendants' Statement Of Material Facts

In their Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("Med. Defs. SMF") (Doc. 64-6), which is supported by their affidavits, (Doc. 64-2 (Evans)); Doc. 64-4 (McMunn)), the Medical Defendants set forth the following facts. At all times relevant to Plaintiff's amended complaint, Evans worked for SHP, the provider of inmate health care at the Detention Center, as the FCDC Medical Team Administrator, and McMunn, whose "correctional health certification includes mental health, " worked for SHP as a Nurse Practitioner. (Doc. 64-6 ¶¶ 2-5). Evans treated Plaintiff on multiple occasions during the July-September 2011 and March and June 2012 time periods while Plaintiff was housed at the FCDC, and McMunn did so during the 2011 time period. ( Id. ¶¶ 7-8).

When Plaintiff was booked into the FCDC on July 1, 2011, he reported that he had prescriptions for Neurontin, Wellbutrin and Remeron. ( Id. ¶ 9). "On July 6, 2011, the prescriptions were started and [Plaintiff] was given his prescribed medication, Neurontin and Bupropion, the generic [form] of Wellbutrin." ( Id. ¶ 12). On August 8, it was discovered that Plaintiff, who had a "documented history of medication diversion and resale, " "was not taking his Wellbutrin and instead was hiding it in his shoe." ( Id. ¶¶ 13-14). Plaintiff's Wellbutrin was discontinued and he was referred to McMunn for evaluation. ( Id. ¶ 15). On August 16, Plaintiff requested, via an Inmate Sick Call Slip ("ISCS"), an increase in his Neurontin dosage and a prescription for Remeron. ( Id. ¶ 16). On August 19, after examining Plaintiff, McMunn "determined that it was medically appropriate for Wellbutrin to be discontinued from [Plaintiff's] medication, and for his dosage of Neurontin to be decreased." ( Id. ¶ 17). Because Plaintiff "had Hepatitis C with severely elevated Liver Function Tests[, ] the medications [he] felt he deserved were contraindicated due to... [the] potential for liver damage." ( Id. ¶ 18).

On August 20, Plaintiff alleged in another ISCS that Evans was using his medications. ( Id. ¶ 20). On August 29, Plaintiff filled out another ISCS, "requesting a copy of his lab and doctor reports, requesting psychotropic medications, and alleging he was not receiving his medications as retaliation against [him] for the suit!' "( Id. ¶ 21). On August 31, McMunn examined Plaintiff and found no indication of a need to change his medication. ( Id. ¶ 22). Plaintiff was released in September 2011 without further incident. ( Id. ¶ 23).

On March 4, 2012, Plaintiff was re-booked into the FCDC, and he reported on March 5 that he had "previously been treated by Dr. Kern for brain and head injuries." ( Id. ¶ 24). He was given Tylenol and placed in medical observation. ( Id. ¶ 25). On March 7, Plaintiff complained in an ISCS about a persistent headache since November 2011, was examined by Evans, and was transferred to the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center ("CCADC") that same day. ( Id. ¶¶ 26-27). Plaintiff returned to the FCDC in June 2012 and had his intake screening on June 11; he stated that "he was supposed to see a neurologist and pain management specialist" and that he had been prescribed Neurontin, Wellbutrin, Zantac, and Tramadol. ( Id. ¶ 28). Plaintiff submitted an ISCS on June 11, "complaining of pain in his head/brain, " for which Evans gave him ibuprofen and referred him for a medical evaluation, but Plaintiff was released from the FCDC shortly thereafter. ( Id. ¶ 29). "Throughout his incarceration, [Plaintiff] consistently filled out Inmate Sick Call Slips requesting to see the medical staff regarding his medication, his diet, and receiving multi-vitamins. [He] was examined and treated each time he complained of a medical problem." ( Id. ¶ 30).

B. The FC Defendants' Statement Of Material Facts

The FC Defendants offer the following additional allegedly undisputed facts. (Doc. 73-2 ("FC Defs. SMF")). Captain Newman, the FCDC Administrator since 2006, "did not provide any directions or make any decisions about the medical care that should be provided to Plaintiff by SHP medical professionals." ( Id. ¶¶ 1, 5). "At some point it came to Captain Newman's attention that [Plaintiff] was not taking his medications, but instead was saving and hiding the medication." ( Id. ¶ 7). Although this was a violation of FCDC rules, Captain Newman left it to the SHP medical personnel to determine how best to handle this situation. ( Id. ¶¶ 8-11).

Fannin County does not set policy at the Detention Center, which is set instead by the Sheriff of Fannin County, "or, in the case of medical directives and protocols, by the contracted medical provider, " i.e., by SHP during the relevant time frame. ( Id. ¶¶ 12-14). During his incarceration at the FCDC, Plaintiff violated Detention Center rules "on multiple occasions." ( Id. ¶ 56). He "was placed in disciplinary isolation" from August 30 through September 7, 2011. ( Id. ¶ 57). "In June 2012, records reflect that [Plaintiff] was placed in isolation for two days because he spit in an officer's face." ( Id. ¶ 58). "Except in the limited role of officer supervision, Captain Newman was not involved in, and did not make, any decision to subject [Plaintiff] to disciplinary action." ( Id. ¶ 59). Until Newman was served in 2014 with the complaint in this lawsuit, the "only information that [he had that Plaintiff] had filed any lawsuit was gleaned... from Newman's presence as a security officer for one of [Plaintiff's] court appearances" in 2012, when the conversation between Plaintiff and the judge led Newman to "conclude[] that [Plaintiff] had sued a judge." ( Id. ¶¶ 61-62). Newman took no action based on that information, and his "actions relating to [Plaintiff], which were very limited, would have been the same regardless of any lawsuit [Plaintiff] filed." ( Id. ¶¶ 63-64).

C. Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Factual Allegations

Plaintiff has not filed a paragraph by paragraph response to either of the foregoing statements of material fact, as LR 56.1.B. (2), NDGa. requires. Instead, Plaintiff has filed his own motion for summary judgment (Doc. 68) and a combined ...


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