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McClamy v. Bell

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

July 6, 2015

John Alfred McClamy, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Mr. Bell, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LEONIE M. BRINKEMA, District Judge.

John Alfred McClamy, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Dr. Cheshire, doctor at Portsmouth City Jail ("Portsmouth"); and Dr. Kolongo, doctor at Hampton Roads Regional Jail ("Hampton Roads"), showed deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs by failing to provide him with adequate medical treatment for his injured hand. Dr. Cheshire has filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), as well as a Motion for Summary Judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Dkts. No. 26, 38. Dr. Kolongo has filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Dkt. No. 35. Both defendants filed supporting memoranda of law and provided plaintiff with the notice required by Local Rule 7(K) and Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975). Plaintiff filed a response only to Dr. Cheshire's Motion to Dismiss. By Order dated June 3, 2015, the Court granted plaintiff's request for an extension of time to file additional responses and he was granted fifteen days in which to file. Plaintiff has not filed any additional responses.

For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's claims will be dismissed as moot. Even if they were not moot, Dr. Kolongo's Motion to Dismiss and Dr. Cheshire's Motion for Summary Judgment would be granted on their merits; rendering Dr. Cheshire's Motion to Dismiss moot.

I. Mootness

As relief in this case, plaintiff has requested only "proper medical treatment for [his] hand. (Fixed properly)." Compl., at 6. The events plaintiff complains of occurred during his incarceration in the Portsmouth and Hampton Roads facilities. On July 19, 2014, plaintiff was transferred from Hampton Roads, and is currently housed at St. Bride's Correctional Center. See Dkt. Nos. 14, 20, 21. Therefore, to the extent that the only relief plaintiff seeks relates to his treatment at Portsmouth and Hampton Roads, his claim is moot. See Rendelman v. Rouse, 569 F.3d 182, 186 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted) ("[A]s a general rule, a prisoner's transfer or release from a particular prison moots his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to his incarceration there."). Because his claim is moot, his complaint must be dismissed.

II. Motion for Summary Judgment

A. Background

Plaintiff was housed at Portsmouth from July 18, 2012 through January 24, 2014. Compl., at 6. In October of 2013, he injured his right hand while on a work-detail assignment. Id. at 5. He did not report this injury until December 26, 2013, when he saw Dr. Cheshire for an unrelated follow up appointment. See Memorandum in Support of the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendant Glenn Cheshire, M.D. ("Cheshire Mem.") [Dkt. No. 39], Ex. 1 (Cheshire Aff.) ¶ 1. When he met with Dr. Cheshire, plaintiff informed him that the "pain [had] mostly resolved at this point." Id .; see also Alt. A., at 1.

Dr. Cheshire examined plaintiff's hand, and found that plaintiff had a "deformity of the fourth and fifth fingers; he was unable to straighten them ("contractures")." Dr. Cheshire did not observe any swelling or other inflammation of plaintiff's hand. Cheshire Mem., Ex. 1 ¶ 2. Dr. Cheshire ordered an x-ray of plaintiff's hand which revealed old fractures of plaintiff's fourth and fifth fingers, "consistent with an injury that was more than two months old." Id . ¶ 4; see also id. Att. B, at 1. Dr. Cheshire therefore concluded that plaintiff's injuries pre-dated his work-release injury. Cheshire Mem., Ex. 1 ¶ 4.[1]

Plaintiff consented to have his past medical records sent to Portsmouth. See id. Att. C. These records revealed that on June 28, 2010, he had been examined by Dr. Andrew Caines after an emergency room visit when "something had fallen on his hand."[2] See id. Att. D, at unnumbered page 1. Caines diagnosed plaintiff as suffering from an "impacted comminuted distal one-third right fifth metacarpal facture." Id . Caines reported that plaintiff had limited range of motion in his right little finger, and placed his hand in a splint. Id. at unnumbered pages 1-2. The next day, plaintiff followed up with Dr. Richard Knauft, who took x-rays of plaintiff's hand and diagnosed a fracture in his little finger. Id. at unnumbered page 3. On July 6. 2010, plaintiff received a follow up x-ray, which showed that his finger was healing well. Id. at unnumbered page 5.

Plaintiff's medical records further showed that he had returned to Dr. Knauft on August 24, 2010, after reinjuring his right hand while moving furniture. Id. at unnumbered page 6. Knauft diagnosed plaintiff with an additional fracture to his little finger, and placed the linger in a cast. Id . On April 21, 2011, plaintiff returned to Knauft after injuring his hand a third time. Id. at unnumbered page 8. Knauft again took x-rays and diagnosed plaintiff with a fracture of his little and index fingers. Knauft also indicated that plaintiff had "a relatively undisplaced fracture" of his ring finger. Id. at unnumbered pages 8-9.

After reviewing this information, along with the findings of the December 27, 2013 x-ray, Dr. Cheshire "ruled out an acute fracture or any injury associated with the October 2013 incident as a cause of the deformities to [plaintiff's] hand." Cheshire Mem., Ex. ¶ 10. Dr. Cheshire suspected that plaintiff's difficulty moving his fingers was caused by Dupuytren's Contracture, which is a non-life threatening inherited disorder that affects the flexibility of finger joints. Id . ¶ 11. Plaintiff was transferred from Portsmouth to Hampton Roads before Dr. Cheshire could discuss this condition with him. Id.

B. Standard of Review

"The 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). The moving party bears the burden of proving that judgment as a matter of law is appropriate. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To meet that burden, the moving party must demonstrate that no genuine issues of material fact are present for resolution. Id. at 322. Once a moving party has met its burden to show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to point out the specific facts that create disputed factual issues. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The nonmoving party must present some evidence, other than its initial pleadings, to show that there is more than just a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (quoting Rule 56(e)) ("Rule 56(e)... requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by [other evidence] designate specific facts showing that there ...


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