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Morings v. Wells

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

July 5, 2017

RANDY MORINGS, Plaintiff,
v.
MS. D. WELLS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Michael F. Urbanski United States District Judge

         Randy Morings, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming D. Wells as the sole defendant. Plaintiff alleges that Wells, who is the Health Authority at River North Correctional Center ("RNCC"), exhibited deliberate indifference to a serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Wells filed a motion for summary judgment, (ECF No. 26), to which Plaintiff responded. (ECF No. 33.)[1]Morings also filed a motion to amend the complaint. (ECF No. 30.) The court thereafter directed Wells to supplement her motion for summary judgment, which she did, and Plaintiff responded in opposition, indicating for a second time that he would like to amend the complaint, this time naming some different defendants. (ECF No. 41.) After reviewing the record, the court denies Morings' first motion to amend, (ECF No. 30), grants Wells' motion and supplemental motion for summary judgment, (ECF Nos. 26 and 38), and allows Plaintiff to file an amended complaint as requested in ECF No. 41.

         I.

         A.

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts in the complaint:

On July 8, 2015, I was placed in Special Housing Unit (SHU) for a Disciplinary Infraction and while in SHU I told the nurse that I was having a lot of "pain" in my right arm. The nurse told me that it was just bruised. After about a week had passed[, ] my arm was still hurting and the swelling had not gone down. I wrote a request form to the nurse and asked to be seen. I got the request form back and was informed that I will be on the list to be seen. However, after about 2 weeks had passed[, ] I had not yet seen the doctor, so I wrote another request for medical attention on August 13, 2015 and was told I have been scheduled for an appointment. On October 6, 2015, I finally went and seen the doctor after waiting over 90 days, was given an X-ray and the test revealed that my arm was broken. This was determined by Dr. Stevens. On October 19, 2015, some (13) days later, I still have not receive medical treatment for my broken arm, so I then wrote an informal complaint attesting the denial of ... RNCC[] Medical Department not rendering the correct medical services for a broken elbow/arm. Ms. D. Wells, Registered Nurse (RN)[, ] stated in response to my informal complaint that "you were seen by the nurse in October for an injury that occurred 4-months prior; the Radiologist Report stated old fracture-no new fracture[."] So on October 30, 2015, I filed a grievance contesting the Deliberate and Indifferent... denial of Medical Health Care service for a Serious Medical Condition (i.e. broken/fractured elbow).
My complaint is that I was provided inadequate medical attention for a serious medical need. The nurse told me that my arm was bruised when in fact it was broken. She provided a medical opinion without, however, any medical test being conducted. After being informed by Dr. Stevens that my arm was broken[, ] I was not given any treatment to fix the break. My arm is now permanently damaged beyond repair.

(Compl. 2-3.) Plaintiff demands $350, 000 and, if possible, surgical repair of the broken arm.

         As the RNCC Health Authority, Wells responds to inmates' informal complaints and requests about their healthcare. Wells does not routinely assess or administer medical treatment to inmates. Wells avers that she did not have any involvement with Plaintiff or the medical care rendered on July 8, 2015. Wells avers that her only involvement with Plaintiffs broken arm was responding to the two informal complaints filed in October and November 2015 after reviewing the medical record. Plaintiff does not allege that Wells responded to the request forms he filed in July and August 2015 about delayed treatment.

         B.

         Plaintiffs medical records reflect Nurse Walls examined Plaintiff on July 8, 2015. Plaintiff complained of right arm and shoulder pain, and Nurse Walls noted that the area near the right elbow was "slightly swollen, " Plaintiff could bend his arm and move his fingers, Plaintiff did not complain of numbness or tingling, and a neurovascular exam was within normal limits.

         Plaintiff presented for a sick call on October 6, 2015, complaining of tingling in his fingers and recurring pain, swelling, and tenderness.[2] An X ray was taken of his arm, and he was instructed to contact the medical department if pain or swelling persisted. The X ray revealed an obvious fracture, but medical staff waited for a radiologist's official report to arrive two days later to confirm the initial impression.

         Staff submitted a consultation request for Plaintiff to meet with an orthopedist outside the prison. Plaintiff met with the outside orthopedist on December 16, 2015, nearly seventy days after the X ray report confirmed a fracture. Surgery on his ...


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