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Parker v. Davis

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

March 2, 2017

Sheriff DAVID DAVIS, et al., Defendants.



         Presently pending before the court is Defendant Davis's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 60), Defendants Reece, Harmond, Nation, and Barnes's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 66), and Defendants Fair, James, Street, and Digby's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 69). Plaintiff responded to each motion (ECF Nos. 71, 73, 79). For the reasons explained below, it is recommended that Defendants' motions be granted.


         The present action arises out of an alleged denial of appropriate medical treatment at the Bibb, Jones, and Crisp County Jails (respectively the “BCJ, ” “JCJ, ” and “CCJ”). Following Plaintiff's arrest on December 3, 2013, he was incarcerated at the BCJ. Plaintiff allegedly informed Defendant BCJ Nurses Street, Fair, James, and Digsby that he was an insulin-dependent diabetic and advised them of the specific type and dosage of insulin required to control his diabetes. Plaintiff complains that these Defendants nevertheless changed his insulin prescription and that this change caused damage to his health. According to Plaintiff, the Defendant Nurses were “following policy at the jail, ” and for this reason, he includes Bibb County Sheriff David Davis as a Defendant in this action.

         On March 23, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to the JCJ. Plaintiff complains that JCJ “medical personnel” failed to give him insulin for the first five days of his stay and thereafter administered the insulin late or on an inconsistent basis. Plaintiff further complains that “medical personnel” denied him his required high blood pressure medication. Plaintiff additionally sues Jones County Sheriff Robert “Butch” Reece, alleging that Reece denied Plaintiff medical treatment due to an inadequate budget, that his unspecified “policies” resulted in the violation of Plaintiff's rights, and that he “failed to employ qualified medical personnel to insure the proper care and treatment of inmates.” Recast Compl. 7, ECF No. 5; Compl. 8.

         Plaintiff was transferred to the CJC on December 3, 2014. There is no pending motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims against the CJC defendants. In January 2015, Plaintiff was transferred back to the BCJ for two weeks. He claims his medical needs were ignored. Id. Thereafter, Plaintiff was returned to the JCJ.


         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment may be granted only “if 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). In determining whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment, drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit. Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         II. Deliberate Indifference

         “[T]o prevail on a deliberate indifference to serious medical need claim, [a plaintiff] must show: (1) a serious medical need; (2) the defendants' deliberate indifference to that need; and (3) causation between that indifference and the plaintiff's injury.” Mann v. Taser Int'l, 588 F.3d 1291, 1306-07 (11th Cir. 2009). “A serious medical need is one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.” Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d at 1176 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Deliberate indifference requires a showing of a “subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm” and “disregard of that risk . . . by conduct that is more than mere negligence.” Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 1344, 1351 (11th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted).

         A mere disagreement with the treatment received does not give rise to a claim for deliberate indifference. See Hamm v. Dekalb Cnty., 774 F.2d 1527, 1575 (11th Cir. 1985). Specifically, “an inmate's desire for a different mode of treatment does not rise to the level of deliberate indifference.” Id. Negligence in treatment, even rising to the level of medical malpractice, is not deliberate indifference. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Instead, the treatment must be “so grossly incompetent, inadequate, or excessive as to shock the conscience or to be intolerable to fundamental fairness.” Harris v. Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1505 (11th Cir. 1991) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “[W]hether governmental actors should have employed additional diagnostic techniques or forms of treatment “is a classic example of a matter for medical judgment” and therefore not an appropriate basis for grounding liability under the Eighth Amendment. Adams v. Poag, 61 F.3d 1537, 1544-46 (11th Cir. 1995) (finding prison medical staff's alleged treatment of prisoner's asthma with inadequate doses of oral steroids and lack of diligence in pursuing alternative means of treating prisoner's asthma was not “deliberate indifference” to medical needs and did not violate Eighth Amendment)

         III. Defendants Fair, James, Street, and Digby's Motion for Summary Judgment

         Defendants Fair, James, Street, and Digby move for summary judgment, asserting that the record is devoid of any evidence suggesting Defendants were deliberately indifferent to any serious medical need of Plaintiff. Defs. Br. in Supp. 4-6, ECF No. 69-2. Plaintiff responds that Defendants were deliberately indifferent by refusing ...

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