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Jones v. Wade

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

March 18, 2016

MICHAEL L. WADE, Sheriff, Defendant.


Beach Smith March Chief Judge

Plaintiff, a Virginia inmate, brings this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to redress alleged violations of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendant failed to have Plaintiff treated for chronic Hepatitis C. Plaintiff seeks $25, 000.

I. Procedural History

After Plaintiff qualified to proceed in, forma pauperis, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and a memorandum and affidavits in support thereof. ECF No. 29 and 31, respectively. In accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975), Plaintiff was given an opportunity to respond to Defendant's Motion with any material that he wished to offer in rebuttal. Plaintiff filed his Response and Defendant filed a Rebuttal Brief. ECF Nos. 36 and 37, respectively. Accordingly, this matter is ripe for judicial consideration.

II. Facts

Plaintiff was incarcerated at Henrico County Jail from June 13, 2014 to July 11, 2014. Plaintiff was again incarcerated at Henrico County Jail from July 29, 2014, until June 8, 2015. Defendant is the Sheriff of Henrico County. On August 11, 2014, Plaintiff requested treatment for Hepatitis C. Plaintiff's medical records were requested from the Medical College of Virginia ("MCV"). On August 12, 2014, a urinalysis was performed, and the results were normal. On September 4, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Clark, and a nurse practitioner reviewed Plaintiff's medical records from MCV. Plaintiff's medical records revealed that Plaintiff had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C in December 2013, and that the Hepatology specialist at MCV had indicated that treatment was a consideration if Plaintiff was free of IV drug use for six months.[1]

In her Affidavit, ECF No. 31-3, Dr. Young explains that Hepatitis C is a slow acting disease, and that the majority of patients do not require treatment. Id. at ¶ 9. Treatment is not medically indicated unless there is evidence that the Hepatitis C virus has progressed. Id. at ¶ 13.

During his incarceration, Plaintiff received liver function tests and renal function tests to determine whether the Hepatitis C virus was progressing. The tests results were within the normal range. Therefore, it was determined by the doctor that Plaintiff's Hepatitis C virus was not at a stage that required treatment.

III. Analysis

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate only when a court, viewing the record as a whole and in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, determines that there exists "no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986); Seabulk Offshore, Ltd. v. Am. Home Assurance Co., 377 F.3d 408, 418 (4th Cir. 2004). The moving party has the initial burden to show the absence of an essential element of the nonmoving party's case and to demonstrate that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Honor v. Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc., 383 F.3d 180, 185 (4th Cir. 2004); McLean v. Patten Cmtvs.. Inc., 332 F.3d 714, 718 (4th Cir. 2003); see Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-25. When the moving party has met its burden to show that the evidence is insufficient to support the nonmoving party's case, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to present specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Honor, 383 F.3d at 185; McLean, 332 F.3d at 718-19. Such facts must be presented in the form of exhibits and sworn affidavits. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324; see also M&M Med. Supplies & Serv., Inc. v. Pleasant Valley Hosp., Inc., 981 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1993). Failure by a plaintiff to rebut a defendant's motion with such evidence on his behalf will result in summary judgment when appropriate. "[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment . . . against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.[2]

Although a court must draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, in order to successfully defeat a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must rely on more than conclusory allegations, "mere speculation, '' the "building of one inference upon another, " the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence, " or the appearance of "some metaphysical doubt" concerning a material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986); Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002); Tao of Svs. Integration, Inc. v. Analytical Servs. & Materials, Inc., 330 F.Supp.2d 668, 671 (E.D. Va. 2004). Rather, the evidence must be such that the fact-finder reasonably could find for the nonmoving party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

B. Eighth Amendment Standard

The United States Supreme Court's holding in Estelle v. Gamble clearly establishes a prison inmate's right under the Eighth Amendment to be free from the deliberate indifference of prison officials toward a serious medical condition. 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). To prove cruel and unusual punishment ...

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