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Galloway v. CCA McRae Correctional Facility

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

January 11, 2017

CCA MCRAE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; STACEY N. STONE, CCA McRae Warden; LYNETTE HARRIS, CCA McRae Unit Manager; CHARLES STAPLES, CCA McRae RN; and STACY GILES, CCA McRae Medical Health Services Administrator, Defendants.



         Pro se Plaintiff, a former inmate at McRae Correctional Facility (“MCF”), commenced the above-captioned civil rights case. Before the Court is Defendant CCA McRae Correctional Facility's unopposed motion for summary judgment. (Doc. no. 60.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS the motion for summary judgment be GRANTED (doc. no. 60), this case be DISMISSED, and this civil action be CLOSED.

         I. FACTS

         Plaintiff filed this case on July 23, 2014 against CCA McRae Correctional Facility; Stacey N. Stone; Warden, Lynette Harris, Unit Manager; Charles Stapes, RN; and Stacey Giles, Health Services Administrator (See doc. no. 1, p. 1.) Plaintiff generally alleges that Defendants failed to treat and accommodate his lower back pain. (See generally doc. no. 1.) Plaintiff's claims can generally be divided into six separate incidents: (1) a two-week delay in treatment upon arrival at MCF (Id. at 3); (2) the size of his cell during his time in the Houston Unit (Id. at 4); (3) the number of seats in the “day room” in the Houston Unit; (4) a fall caused by pain Plaintiff suffered after visiting the medical unit and not receiving treatment (Id. at 6); (5) the prison's refusal to give Plaintiff a rolling walker (Id. at 8); and (6) the prison's refusal to give him new mattresses (Id. at 9).

         Plaintiff arrived at MCF on November 7, 2013, experiencing pain from the four-hour bus ride to the facility and a previous fall at Fort Dix Correctional Facility. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 2-3, 29.) Upon arrival, Plaintiff explained to Defendant Staples that he was in severe pain. (Id. at 3; doc. no. 41, p. 3.) Despite his complaints, Plaintiff was not seen by a medical professional for two weeks, and upon his first visit, he was given two mattresses to accommodate his back problems. (Doc. no. 1, p. 3; doc. no. 41, p. 3.)

         On January 23, 2014, the prison assigned Plaintiff to Houston Unit, F Pod. (Doc. no. 41, p. 6.) In the Houston Unit, prisoners are housed in “cubicles” that are seven feet by seven and half feet with “day rooms” that are freely accessible by the inmates throughout the day. (Doc. no. 41, p. 7; Declaration of Allen Smith, doc. no. 41-1, pp. 20-24.) The maximum occupancy of the day room is forty-three inmates even though fifty-four inmates lived in the Unit while Plaintiff was located there. (Declaration of Rashford Galloway, doc. no. 51, p. 29.) Plaintiff shared his private cubicle with two other inmates, with two bunks being located in the cubicle along with his walker. (Galloway Decl. ¶ 16; doc. no. 1, p. 4.) In addition to the day room, inmates moved between the cubicles, bathroom areas, recreation areas, the library, and medical unit throughout the day. (Declaration of Lynette Harris, doc. no. 41-1, p. 30.) However, all inmates were required to return to the Houston unit from 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (Galloway Decl., ¶ 17.) Plaintiff alleges that the mattresses he received in the Houston Unit were “the worst of all.” (Doc. no. 1, p. 9.)

         On February 5, 2014, Plaintiff visited the medical unit because of severe pain, and he was given an injection and ordered a rolling walker. (Doc. no. 1, p. 8; Declaration of Stacy Giles, doc. no. 41-1, p. 15.) The medical unit waited several weeks before giving Plaintiff the rolling walker, which Defendant Staples then took away from Plaintiff. (Doc. no. 1, p. 8.) Defendant Giles, in a sworn declaration, avers that the walker was taken away because it was not medically indicated by Plaintiff's condition. (Giles Decl. ¶¶ 9, 10.) Plaintiff does not contest that the Utilization Review Committee denied his request for a rolling walker and that he received a non-rolling walker on April 1, 2014. (Doc. no. 1, p. 8; doc no. 51-1, p. 35.) Before the walker, Plaintiff used a cane to ambulate. (Doc. no. 1, p. 4.)

         On February 20, 2014, Plaintiff arrived at the medical unit complaining of back pain without utilizing the prison's sick call procedure. (Declaration of Charles Staples, doc. no. 41-1, p. 27.) Because Plaintiff had not utilized the procedure, he was turned away and told to have his unit officer call the medical unit and report his medical condition. (Staples Decl., ¶ 3; doc. no. 1, p. 6.) Upon walking away from the medical unit, Plaintiff fell down in the hallway. (Declaration of Henry McMillian, doc. no. 41-1, p. 49; Galloway Decl., ¶ 24.) Defendant Staples responded to the call for medical assistance and found Plaintiff lying in the hall in no apparent distress. (Staples Decl., ¶ 3.) Defendant Staples reminded Plaintiff faking an illness was prohibited and could be punished by a disciplinary report. (Staples Decl. ¶ 4.) Prison officials then placed Plaintiff in cell 151 by himself for approximately two hours without medical attention and then released him back to the housing unit. (Decl. Staples ¶ 5.)

         Warden Stone is required to defer to medical staff for decisions regarding medical treatment for inmates because he has no professional medical training. (Decl. Stone, ¶, 4.) Defendant Stacy Giles is a registered nurse and Health Services Administrator at MCF. (Decl. Giles, ¶ 1.) Nurse Giles does not deliver direct medical care to patients at MCF, and she is aware of Plaintiff's condition only through review of his medical records. (Decl. Giles, ¶ 1.) However, she does sit on the Utilization Review Committee. (Decl. Giles, ¶ 1.) Defendant Lynette Harris is a unit manager and does not make medical decisions as to what type of mattresses an inmate receives. (Harris Decl., ¶ 4.)


         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate only if “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). When seeking summary judgment, the movant must show that there are no genuine issues of material fact to be decided at a trial. Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991). “The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case.” McCormick v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 333 F.3d 1234, 1244 (11th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted).

         If the burden of proof at trial rests with the movant, to prevail at the summary judgment stage, the movant must show that, “on all the essential elements of its case . . ., no reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party.” United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop., 941 F.2d 1428, 1438 (11th Cir. 1991) (en banc). On the other hand, if the non-moving party has the burden of proof at trial, the movant may prevail at the summary judgment stage either by negating an essential element of the non-moving party's claim or by pointing to specific portions of the record that demonstrate the non-moving party's inability to meet its burden of proof at trial. Clark, 929 F.2d at 606-08 (explaining Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970) and Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986)).

         If the moving party carries the initial burden, then the burden shifts to the non-moving party “to demonstrate that there is indeed a material issue of fact that precludes summary judgment.” Clark, 929 F.2d at 608. The non-moving party cannot carry its burden by relying on the pleadings or by repeating conclusory allegations contained in the complaint. Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032, 1034 (11th Cir. 1981). Rather, the non-moving party must respond either by affidavits or as otherwise provided in Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. “The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quoting Adickes, 398 U.S. ...

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