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Hinton v. McCabe

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

March 29, 2018

DONALD LEE HINTON, Plaintiff,
v.
P. McCABE, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          John A. Gibney Jr.United States District Judge

         Donald Lee Hinton, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. Hinton contends that Defendant Dr. Daniel Calhoun denied him adequate medical care during his incarceration in the Lawrenceville Correctional Center ("LCC"). The matter is before the Court on Defendant Calhoun's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 74.) Hinton has responded (ECF No. 85), and Defendant Calhoun filed a Reply (ECF No. 84). For the reasons that follow, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.

         I. SUMMARY OF RELEVANT ALLEGATIONS

         During the pendency of this litigation, Hinton has filed nearly everything as a "Motion, " and has continuously submitted procedurally improper filings with made-up titles. Hinton's numerous submissions, including motions, piecemeal complaints, and piecemeal responses to the Defendant's dispositive motion have made the case difficult to process and his claims difficult to discern. In his operative Complaint (ECF No. 31), [1] Hinton contends that Defendant Calhoun violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because he was aware that Nurse McCabe "gave Plaintiff... a contaminated needle that gave Plaintiff the deadly Hepatitis C virus [and] then lied and said Plaintiff got the virus from a tattoo." (Compl. 2.) Hinton also vaguely alleges, in sum, that "when Defendant Dr. Calhoun knew Plaintiff got this deadly Hepatitis C virus he has completely refused any medical treatment and any medication to try and help the deadly virus." (Id.) As discussed below, to the extent these vague statements amount to claims for relief, they are entirely refuted by the record before the Court.

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         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). The party seeking summary judgment bears the responsibility 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 States 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 (citation omitted). "[T]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 his Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant Calhoun submits: (1) his own declaration (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, ECF No. 75-1 ("Calhoun Decl.")); and, (2) Hinton's extensive medical records during the relevant period (id. Ex. B, ECF No. 75-2).

         At this stage, the Court is tasked with assessing whether Hinton "has proffered sufficient proof, in the form of admissible evidence, that could carry the burden of proof of his claim at trial." Mitchell v. Data Gen. Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1993) (emphasis added). As a general rule, a non-movant must respond to a motion for summary judgment with affidavits or other verified evidence. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324. In response, Hinton submits a sworn document entitled "Affidavit" (ECF No. 85-1), and several excerpts from what appears to be an unidentified medical journal and brochures (ECF Nos. 85-2 through 85-3).

         The facts offered by affidavit must be in the form of admissible evidence. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In this regard, the statement in the affidavit or sworn statement "must be made on personal knowledge . . . and show that the affiant is competent to testify on the matters stated." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Summary judgment affidavits must also "set out facts that would be admissible in evidence." Id. Therefore, "summary judgment affidavits cannot be conclusory or based upon hearsay." Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv. Co., 80 F.3d 954, 962 (4th Cir. 1996) (citing Rohrbough v. Wyeth Labs., Inc., 916 F.2d 970, 975 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Md. Highways Contractors Ass'n v. Maryland, 933 F.2d 1246, 1252 (4th Cir. 1991)).

         In his Affidavit, Hinton makes a number of statements that are of no value in assessing the propriety of summary judgment. Hinton's statements are either conclusory, immaterial, or simply disagree with arguments made by Defendant Calhoun.[2] Hinton's conclusory and inadmissible assertions will not be considered in evaluating the Motion for Summary Judgment. The medical journal excerpts and brochures with Hinton's edits also fail to constitute admissible evidence. See Orsi v. Kirkwood, 999 F.2d 86, 92 (4th Cir. 1993) (citation omitted) (explaining that "[i]t is well established that unsworn, unauthenticated documents cannot be considered on a motion for summary judgment."); Lee v. Gurney, No. 3:08CV161, 2009 WL 3208715, at *3 (E.D. Va. Sept. 30, 2009) (citations omitted). Thus, these submissions are not entitled to further consideration in assessing the propriety of summary judgment. While Hinton also swore to the contents of his Complaint, his Complaint again fails to constitute admissible evidence.[3] In light of the foregoing submissions and principles, the following facts are established for the purposes of the motion for summary judgment.

         III. SUMMARY OF UNDISPUTED FACTS

          Defendant Calhoun has been employed as an institutional physician at LCC since July 2011 and has been practicing medicine for thirty-nine years. (Calhoun Aff. ¶ 1.) On the morning of April 15, 2015, Defendant Calhoun and Nurse McCabe were working at LCC. (Id. ¶4.) Nurse McCabe was responsible for that morning's diabetic call during which diabetic inmates reported for glucose testing, insulin, and other treatment as needed. (Id.) Hinton was among the inmates who reported for diabetic call that morning. (Id. ¶ 5.) Later that morning, Defendant Calhoun learned that Nurse McCabe may have reused a needle to administer insulin. (Id. ¶ 6.) Defendant Calhoun was concerned that any cross-contamination could place LCC's diabetic inmates at risk of contracting infectious diseases and the medical staff were instructed to obtain laboratory testing samples from the diabetic inmates so medical staff "could obtain a baseline for monitoring these inmates for infectious diseases." (Id. ¶ 7.) Medical staff obtained a laboratory testing sample from Hinton approximately two hours after the morning diabetic call and the sample was sent out for testing the same day. (Id. ¶ 8.)

         On June 8, 2015, the medical staff at LCC received the test results for Hinton. (Id. ¶ 9.) The test results indicated that Hinton tested positive for Hepatitis B and C antibodies. (Id.) On July 1, 2015, medical staff obtained blood samples from Hinton and sent the samples out for repeat testing. (Id. ¶ 10.) On July 7, 2015, [4] the laboratory again reported that Hinton tested positive for both Hepatitis B and C antibodies. (Id.) On July 14, 2015, medical staff obtained additional samples from Hinton and sent the samples out for testing to ascertain whether Hinton was positive ...


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