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Baker v. Gunderson

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

February 23, 2018

MICHAEL SHELLY BAKER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
DR. JEFFREY GUNDERSON; TAMMY BROOKS; TAIWANA HALL; and DONNICE JURAN, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, who is currently housed at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, contesting certain conditions of his confinement while he was housed at the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) On October 3, 2017, Defendant Gunderson (“Gunderson”) filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 60.) The Clerk of Court mailed a Notice to Plaintiff advising him that Defendant Gunderson filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and that a response must be filed by October 24, 2017. (Doc. 61.) That Notice further advised Plaintiff that:

1. If you do not timely respond to this motion . . ., the consequence may be that the Court will deem the motion unopposed, and the Court may enter judgment against you.
2. If your opponent's Statement of Material Facts sets forth facts supported by evidence, the Court may assume that you admit all such facts unless you oppose those facts with your own Statement of Material Facts which also sets forth facts supported by evidence.
3. If a summary judgment motion is properly supported, you may not rest on the allegations in your [Complaint] alone.

(Id.) This Notice was returned to the Clerk of Court as undeliverable to Plaintiff at Baldwin State Prison. (Doc. 62.) The Clerk of Court re-mailed this Notice to Plaintiff at Georgia State Prison on October 5, 2017.

         Plaintiff filed no Response to Gunderson's Motion for Summary Judgment[1], and the Court received no indication this Notice or Gunderson's Motion was undeliverable. However, “the district court cannot base the entry of summary judgment on the mere fact that the motion [is] unopposed but, rather, must consider the merits of the motion.” United States v. One Piece of Real Property Located at 5800 SW 74th Ave., Miami, Fla., 363 F.3d 1099, 1101 (11th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Specifically, the court “must still review the movant's citations to the record to determine if there is, indeed, no genuine issue of material fact.” Mann v. Taser Int'l, Inc., 588 F.3d 1291, 1303 (11th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).

         Based on the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND the Court GRANT Gunderson's unopposed Motion, DISMISS Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Gunderson, and DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         Plaintiff submitted this Complaint regarding the conditions of his confinement while he was housed at the Glynn County Detention Center during February and March of 2016. (Doc. 1-3, pp. 5-6.) Plaintiff alleges that, on February 11, 2016, at 9:45 a.m., while in the Detention Center's medical unit, he fell in his own urine due to his having a fractured left elbow and a broken left hip socket. (Id. at p. 6.) Plaintiff cried out for help. However, Defendants Taiwana Hall, a medical assistant; Gunderson, the doctor at the Detention Center; Donnice Juran, a corrections officer; and Tammy Brooks, a nurse, refused to help him for an hour and ten minutes. During that time, Defendants saw Plaintiff lying on the ground and ordered him to stand. (Id.) Eventually, medical staff moved Plaintiff to a bed, and Gunderson examined his injuries. Then, emergency medical technicians (“EMTs”) transferred Plaintiff to Southeast Georgia Health System. (Id.) Plaintiff's injuries were too severe to be treated at Southeast Georgia Health System, and he was transferred to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Plaintiff had hip surgery at Memorial Hospital, and he remained at that hospital until February 15, 2016, when he was returned to the Glynn County Detention Center.

         Plaintiff further alleges that, on March 2, 2016, at 6:45 p.m., he told Officer Terrell that he was in severe pain. (Id.) On that date, Plaintiff attempted to get his drink off of the table. He slipped and hurt his hip, back, neck, and left elbow. (Id.) A medical emergency was called, and Lieutenant Wooten, Sergeant Rozier, Officer Terrell, and Nurse Johnson saw Plaintiff lying on the floor. (Id. at pp. 4-5.) Nurse Johnson examined Plaintiff and then called EMTs for Plaintiff. (Id. at p. 5.) The EMTs again transported Plaintiff to Southeast Georgia Health System. Physicians and nurses examined Plaintiff at the hospital and discharged him with a left arm sling and prescription pain medication. (Id.) Plaintiff was then taken back to the Detention Center.

         Two days later, on March 4, 2016, Plaintiff went to his preliminary hearing. (Id.) Before Plaintiff left for the hearing, Defendant Hall, Ms. Franks, Major Heath, and Sergeant Neaves claimed that Gunderson said that Plaintiff did not need an arm sling. (Id.) Then, according to Plaintiff, Defendant Hall, Ms. Franks, Major Heath, and Sergeant Neaves used physical force to remove the arm sling from Plaintiff's arm. These actions caused Plaintiff more physical pain. (Id.)

         I conducted a frivolity review of Plaintiff's Complaint and directed service of Plaintiff's Complaint upon Defendants based on Plaintiff's allegations that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs. (Doc. 16, pp. 7-9, 10.) I recommended the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims against Neal Jump and Judy Lowe and his monetary damages claims against Defendants in their official capacities. (Doc. 15, pp. 5-7.) The Court adopted this recommendation and dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Jump and Lowe, as well as his monetary damages claims against Defendants in their official capacities. (Doc. 17.)

         Gunderson has now moved for summary judgment.

         STANDARD ...


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