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Garibaldi v. Vallsis

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

December 12, 2018

Antonio C. Garibaldi, Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. Villasis and Dr. Haydu, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Anthony J. Trenga, United States Judge.

         Antonio C. Garibaldi, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he suffered deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs with regard to dental care he received at Virginia Beach Correctional Center ("VBCC"). The matter is presently before the Court on an unopposed Motion for Summary Judgment filed jointly by defendants Juan Villasis, D.D.S., and James Haydu, D.D.S. For the reasons which follow, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff commenced this lawsuit in September, 2017, alleging that dental care provided to him at VBCC by Drs. Villasis and Haydu violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment.[1]Because the initial complaint was not signed, Garibaldi was directed to submit a copy bearing his signature, in accordance with Rule 11, and he submitted a signed Amended Complaint on October 24, 2017. [Dkt. No. 5] Briefly, Garibaldi alleges in the Amended Complaint that in December, 2016, he was placed on antibiotics because one of his teeth had become decayed and infected. Id. §IV p.l. A lump developed over his eye and a medical doctor prescribed a different antibiotic. After a day or two Garibaldi noticed he was getting worse and submitted emergency grievances and sick call slips, but he was not seen for several days. During this time he experienced hot flashes, dizziness, nausea, and "feverish feelings," and he "truly thought [he] was going to die in [his] cell." Id. Another inmate told him the bags under his eyes were turning purple, various parts of his face were swollen, and the space between his gums and cheeks were "filled by infectious tissus [sic]." Id. §IV p. 2.

         Despite the presence of infection Dr. Villasis extracted the tooth and told Garibaldi that he would continue to receive antibiotics and the hole would close over time. After "weeks" the hole stopped healing before it closed completely, and Garibaldi began to feel water in his nose. Id. §IV p. 3. Dr. Villasis stuffed the hole with gauze and stitched it up, but "weeks later" it still hadn't closed properly so Dr. Villasis administered five shots of a numbing agent that sent pain down the whole right side of Garibaldi's body and did further work to attempt to close the hole. Garibaldi requested to be seen by an oral surgeon but Dr. Villasis said "they don't do that outside medical thing any more." Id. Garibaldi also saw Dr. Haydu, who also denied him oral surgery and "lied" by saying no other treatment was available for Garibaldi's condition. Id. §IV p. 4.[2]

         After almost six months the hole at the extraction site had healed to the point that in Garibaldi's view, antibiotics wouldn't help. Id. Garibaldi alleges that food and water would travel up the hole into his sinuses and come out his nose, causing him great pain, discomfort, and elevated blood pressure. Id. Because he "got tired of them denying [him] outside surgery" Garibaldi stopped taking the antibiotics "in hopes to force there [sic] hands for outside treatment [but] it didn't work." Id.

         In June, 2017, Garibaldi started to have constant pain in the area of the extraction, which was discolored and "very tender." Id. He asked another inmate who had been called for dental to mention his situation, and two hours later Garibaldi also was called to dental. Id. Dr. Villasis stated that he appeared to have an infection at the extraction site, and he prescribed pain medication but no antibiotics because Garibaldi hadn't taken the antibiotics he previously had been offered. Compl. §IV p. 5. Garibaldi asserts that Dr. Villasis was "trying to punish [him] for not letting him poke around in [his] mouth and standing up for [him]self." Id. Garibaldi filed several sick call requests and grievances in June, 2017, and the medical department confirmed the presence of an infection but said it would have to be treated in the dental department. Id.

         When Garibaldi saw Dr. Haydu on June 29, 2017, he received antibiotics and pain medication and was sent to an oral surgeon. Id. §IV p. 6. He had oral surgery in July, 2017. Garibaldi asserts that for most of his eight (8) months at VBCC he had to deal with pain and discomfort due to Dr. Villasis' methods of treatment and "punishment." Garibaldi filed the instant lawsuit in September, 2017, seeking monetary damages. On April 4, 2018, defendants Villasis and Haydu filed a Motion for Summary Judgment with a supporting memorandum of law and exhibits, and supplied Garibaldi with the notice required by Roseboro v. Garrison. 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Civ. R. 7(J). [Dkt. No.19-21] Garibaldi has submitted no response. Accordingly, this matter is now ripe for disposition.

         II. Standard of Review

          Summary judgment shall be granted "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 movant bears the initial burden of showing that there are no genuine, material factual disputes and that it is entitled to judgment based on those facts. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett. 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant has met its initial burden, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to point out the specific facts which create disputed issues. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.. 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate only where no material facts are genuinely disputed and the evidence as a whole could not lead a rational factfinder to rule for the non-moving party. Matsushita. 475 U.S. at 587.

         III. Undisputed Facts

         The following material facts are undisputed.

         1. Both defendants are dentists licensed to practice in Virginia. Dr. Villasis obtained his degree in 2002, and Dr. Haydu has maintained a clinical practice in general dentistry since obtaining his degree in 1974. Def. Ex. A ¶1; Ex. B ¶1.

         2. Garibaldi was seen for the first time by either defendant on December 6, 2016, when Dr. Villasis prescribed an antibiotic for an ...


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