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Oram v. Linderman

United States District Court, D. Arizona

June 9, 2014

Jimmy Oram, Plaintiff,
Mike Linderman, et al., Defendants.


FREDERICL J. MARTONE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Jimmy Oram, who is a prisoner in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), brought this civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Mike Linderman, Charles Manning, Wexford Health Services (Wexford), Dr. Thomas Bell, and Cameron Lewis, Facility Health Administrator (FHA). (Doc. 41, Second Amend. Compl. (SAC).) Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on the remaining claims-Counts I through III. (Doc. 72.) Defendants Wexford, Bell, and Lewis, who are Defendants in Count III only, cross-move for summary judgment.[1] (Doc. 80.) Defendants Linderman and Manning, who are Defendants in Counts I and II only, file a separate cross-motion for summary judgment.[2] (Doc. 99.)

The Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion on Count III, grant Defendants' Motion on Count III, and dismiss the claim and Defendants Wexford, Bell, and Lewis.

I. Background

In Count III, Plaintiff claims his Eighth Amendment rights were violated when Defendants Wexford and Bell arbitrarily discontinued his diabetes medication and Lewis failed to correct the problem. Plaintiff claims that as a result of being denied the medication, he experienced vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and general malaise.

In support of his Motion, Plaintiff submits his Statement of Facts (Doc. 73 (PSOF ¶¶ 33-47)), his declaration (Doc. 74, Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 32-46), and various exhibits (Doc. 75, Exs. 12-18 (in part)). Defendants submit their Statement of Facts (Doc. 81 (DSOF)) and exhibits ( id. ). Plaintiff submits his reply and response (Doc. 86) and his Statement of Facts in Response to Defendants' Motion (Doc. 87 (PSOFR)) with additional exhibits. Plaintiff also files a Motion for Leave to Authenticate Plaintiff's Exs. B-E, which are attached to PSOFR; Defendants oppose. (Docs. 94, 102.)

II. Summary Judgment Standard

A court "shall grant summary judgment 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Under summary judgment practice, the moving party bears the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record, together with affidavits, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party who must demonstrate the existence of a material factual dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

When considering a summary judgment motion, the court examines the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits or declarations, if any. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). At summary judgment, the judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The evidence of the non-movant is "to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255. But, if the evidence of the non-moving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Id. at 248-49. Conclusory allegations, unsupported by factual material, are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989).

III. Count III-Wexford Health Services, Dr. Bell, and Mr. Lewis

A. Background Facts

Wexford is the private company that during the relevant time period contracted with ADC to provide health care services to ADC inmates. (PSOF ¶ 33.) Dr. Bell and Mr. Lewis were employees of Wexford. (PSOF ¶¶ 34, 35; Doc. 81, Ex. 3, Bell Decl. ¶ 2, Ex. 9, Lewis Decl. ¶¶ 1-2.)

Plaintiff, who is housed at Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Lewis, asserts that he is diabetic and takes Metformin. He claims that when he does not have his medication, his blood-sugar levels can rise dangerously. (PSOF ¶ 36.) Dr. Bell was Plaintiff's treating physician and on June 4, 2012, ordered Plaintiff Metformin through December 2012. On November 17, 2012, Plaintiff stopped receiving the medication and began to experience mild symptoms within days. On November 25, he submitted a Health Needs Request (HNR) for medication. (PSOF ¶ 38.) The pharmacy advised Plaintiff on November 27 that the medication was discontinued. (PSOF ¶ 39; DSOF ¶ 21.)

On December 4, 2012, in response to an inmate letter about the lack of medication, Plaintiff was advised by CO III Neu that he sent an email "to the FHA." (PSOF ¶ 40.) When Plaintiff did not receive a further response, he filed a grievance. ( Id. ¶ 41.)

Defendants concede that the medication was discontinued. (DSOF ¶ 23.) But they assert that in August of 2012, Dr. Bell left ASPC-Lewis and worked exclusively at ASPC-Florence and ASPC-Eyman and did not return to ASPC-Lewis until January 15, 2013. From August 2012 until January 15, 2013, Dr. Bell did not treat inmates at ASPC-Lewis. ( Id. ) After Dr. Bell left ASPC-Lewis, Dr. Erin Corridon, a temporary doctor who is not a Defendant, provided treatment to inmates at ASPC-Lewis. ( Id. ¶ 17.) The pharmacy records show that Dr. Corridon renewed Plaintiff's Metformin prescription on November 9, 2012 for six months but the quantity prescribed was zero. ( Id. ¶¶ 22-23, Ex. 5.)

On January 30, 2013, after his return to ASPC-Lewis, Bell examined Plaintiff, ordered tests, and prescribed two Metformin prescriptions. ( Id. ¶¶ 38-40.) According to Defendants, one Metformin prescription was for 30 days, which Plaintiff received that day; the other prescription was for 17 days and was filled on February 19. ( Id. ¶¶ 43-46.) Plaintiff disputes that he received his prescription on ...

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