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Brown v. Wilson

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

June 23, 2015

ALICIA JADE BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC D. WILSON, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JOHN A. GIBNEY, Jr., District Judge.

Alicia Jade Brown, a federal inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this Bivens action. Brown suffers from Gender Identity Disorder ("GID").[1] Although Brown acknowledges that Defendants[2] have provided some treatment for her GID, including hormone therapy, Brown contends that the treatment provided is inadequate. Specifically, Brown raises the following grounds for relief:

Claim 1 Defendants violated Brown's rights under the Eighth Amendment by:
(a) their refusal to increase Brown's GID-related medications;
(b) their refusal to schedule Brown for an appointment with an endocrinologist;
(c) their refusal to allow Brown to purchase from the commissary items that are sold at women's facilities; and,
(d) their refusal to authorize electrolysis or laser hair removal.
Claim 2 Defendant Vazquez-Velazquez violated Brown's right to equal protection "via his discrimination as to Plaintiffs gender" and "perceived sexual orientation." (Comp. 9.)

Brown requests injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief.

Defendants have moved for summary judgment. (ECF No. 29.) Brown moved for an extension of time to file a response and has filed a response. Brown Motion's for an Extension of Time (ECF No. 40) will be GRANTED and Brown's Response (ECF No. 41) will be DEEMED TIMELY. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.

I. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Summary judgment must be rendered "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). It is the responsibility of the party seeking summary judgment to inform the court of the basis for the motion, and to identify the parts of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file." Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the motion is properly supported, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by citing affidavits or "depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) and 56(e) (1986)).

In reviewing a summary judgment motion, the court "must draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." United Slates v. Carolina Transformer Co., 978 F.2d 832, 835 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). However, a mere scintilla of evidence will not preclude summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251 (citing Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448 (1872)). "IT]here is a preliminary question for the judge, not whether there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the party... upon whom the onus of proof is imposed.' Id. (quoting Munson, 81 U.S. at 448). Additionally, Rule 56 does not impose upon the district court a duty to sift through the record in search of evidence to support a party's opposition to summary judgment.'" Forsyth v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting Skotak v. Tenneco Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915 n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3) ("The court need consider only the cited materials..").

In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants have submitted, inter alia: (1) the declaration of Dr. Vazquez-Velazquez (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 2 ("VV Decl."), ECF No. 30-2), the Declaration of Dr. Lewis ( id. Ex. 3, ("Lewis Decl."), ECF No. 30-3) and the Declaration of Warden Wilson ( id. Ex. 4, ("Wilson Decl."), ECF No. 30-4). Brown has responded by submitting an unsworn memorandum of law.[3] (ECF No. 41.)

II. UNDISPUTED FACTS

A. Medical Treatment for Brown's GID

On October 25, 2011, Dr. Marykaye Johnson, a psychologist, at FCI Petersburg, diagnosed Brown with GID. (VV Decl. ¶ 5.) Since this diagnosis, Brown has received psychotherapy and has had at least 34 clinical contacts with the psychology staff. ( Id. )

"On December 2, 2011, medical staff initiated hormone therapy for treatment of Brown's GID. The hormone therapy consisted of an injection of Estradiol Valerate, 20 milligrams, once every four weeks." ( Id. ¶ 6.) "On January 11, 2012, medical staff evaluated Brown in the chronic care clinic for treatment of both GID and Brown's previously diagnosed seizure ...


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