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Huley v. Massee

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

January 26, 2018

TRAVISE HULEY, Plaintiff,
v.
Sheriff BILL MASSEE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN HYLES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Presently pending before the Court are Defendants' motions for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 68, 70) and Plaintiff's requests for a pretrial conference (ECF Nos. 74, 75, 77). For the reasons explained below, it is recommended that Defendants' motions be granted. Plaintiff's motions are denied.

         BACKGROUND

         The present action arises from Plaintiff's confinement at the Baldwin County Jail (BCJ). Plaintiff alleges that since he arrived at the jail, the physician and nurse have refused to provide him adequate medical treatment and medication. Plaintiff was seen by Defendants Dr. Buczynsky and Nurse Bell[1] on a number of occasions, and each time they, in one way or another, refused to provide him with medication and/or outside treatment for his shoulder injury, gastrointestinal conditions, prior concussions, and dental problems. Plaintiff claims that Buczynsky and Bell's conduct has caused him to suffer extreme pain.

         After a preliminary review, Plaintiff's claims for deliberate indifference to his medical needs were allowed to proceed against Defendants Buczynsky and Bell. Order & R. 2-3, May 20, 2016, ECF No. 10. Defendants move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff moves to schedule a pre-trial conference. These motions are addressed below.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motions for Summary Judgment

         Defendants move for summary judgment claiming that they are entitled to qualified immunity. Plaintiff failed to respond to either Defendant's motion although he received notice of the motions and was warned that failure to respond may result in the Court accepting the facts asserted in each motion as being true. Notice of Summ. J. Mot. 1, ECF No. 71. Plaintiff was also warned that failing to respond could result in final judgment being entered without a trial and against him. Id. As explained below, it is recommended that Defendants' motions be granted.

         A. Standard of Review

         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, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment. All justifiable inferences are drawn 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.

         B. Qualified Immunity

         “[Q]ualified immunity completely protects government officials performing discretionary functions from suit in their individual capacities unless their conduct violates clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Gonzalez v. Reno, 325 F.3d 1228, 1233 (11th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “The purpose of qualified immunity is to allow officials to carry out discretionary duties without the chilling fear of personal liability or harrassive litigation, protecting from suit all but the plainly incompetent or one who is knowingly violating federal law.” McCullough v. Antolini, 559 F.3d 1201, 1205 (11th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         “In order to receive qualified immunity, an official must first establish that he was acting within the scope of his discretionary authority when the alleged wrongful acts occurred.” Id. Once the defendant shows that he was acting within his discretionary authority, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to establish that qualified immunity does not apply. Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352, 1358 (11th Cir. 2004). It is undisputed in this case that Defendants were acting within their discretionary authorities in treating Plaintiff. Because that determination is made, the burden shifts to Plaintiff to show that Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity.

         To overcome a claim of qualified immunity, a plaintiff must “show[] (1) that the official violated a statutory or constitutional right, and (2) that the right was clearly established at the time of the challenged conduct.” Wood v. Moss, -- U.S. --, 134 S.Ct. 2056, 2066-67 (2014) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).[2] The Court therefore must determine whether the Plaintiff has shown that the Defendants' conduct violated a constitutional right (or rights) and whether that right was clearly established. Plaintiff has failed to meet that burden here.

         C.Plaintiff's ...


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