United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
S. Ballou United States Magistrate Judge
Eugene Bowles, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se,
filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Nurse Wells, the former Director of Medical Services
at River North Correctional Center (“RNCC”).
Plaintiff's only remaining claim alleges that Defendant
and/or her policies violated his Eighth Amendment rights.
Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, and Plaintiff
responded, making this matter ripe for disposition. After
reviewing the record, I will grant the motion for summary
Plaintiff's complaint, he asserts that Defendant was
deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need when she
violated the orientation manual policy by having nurses
administer him insulin after instead of before the morning
meal. In his response to Defendant's motion, Plaintiff
realleged claims that had already been dismissed and
generally argued - that Defendant was negligent, that he had
to “fight to get my insulin, ” and that not
having insulin for thirteen hours a day is “against the
law for diabetics.” Resp. to the Mot. for Summ. J. 1-3,
ECF No. 29; see Order, ECF No. 20.
alleges the following. Defendant was the Director of Medical
Services from May 2015 until May 2017 at RNCC. As Director,
she coordinated administration of insulin to diabetic
inmates, including Plaintiff. No. policy or procedure
required diabetic inmates to receive insulin prior to meals.
Defendant states that it was impossible to administer all
medicines before breakfast because the night-nurse performed
such duties, and RNCC only staffed one night-nurse at that
staff policy was to monitor diabetic inmates' blood sugar
levels and administer appropriate therapeutics, e.g.,
insulin, to maintain control of their blood sugar levels.
Policy did not require insulin administration prior to meals
to provide effective clinical blood sugar control. Instead,
it was acceptable to administer insulin before or after
admits that the inmate orientation manual mentioned sugar
checks occurring before meals: “Diabetic offenders that
require fasting blood sugar checks will be seen in the
housing units between 4:00 and 5:00 am by the night shift
nurse.” River North Corr. Ctr. Orientation Handbook, at
17, ECF No. 25-2. However, the handbook also noted there was
no requirement that insulin be administered before meals:
“All times listed in this manual are approximate and
subject to change at Security's discretion.”
Id. at 1.
alleges that the medical staff tried administering the
insulin before Plaintiff's meals on multiple occasions,
but that Plaintiff frequently refused to wake up. Defendant
asserts that Plaintiff outright refused insulin other times,
including on days when the nursing staff attempted to
administer insulin before the morning meal. Wells Aff. ¶
11, ECF No. 25-1; Exh. C, ECF No. 25-3 (excerpt from
Plaintiff's medical record detailing Plaintiff's many
refusals of insulin). Defendant also states that Plaintiff
refused to allow nurses to check his blood pressure on
multiple occasions and was often non-compliant with his diet
in addition to refusing insulin. Wells Aff. ¶ 12.
Defendant postulates that “his periodic refusals to
comply with his dietary restrictions and his refusing his
medications” caused “some variation in his blood
sugar readings.” Id. at ¶ 13.
asserts that the medical staff, including the nurses she
supervised, monitored Plaintiff's blood sugar levels,
diet, insulin administration, and his objective laboratory
results, and the records show that Plaintiff's diabetes
was not only under control, but showed “marked
improvement in 2016.” Id. at ¶ 15; Exh.
E, ECF No. 25-5. Specifically, Plaintiff's Hemoglobin
levels showed improvement in 2016, which was around the same
time that Plaintiff complains about post-meal insulin
Plaintiff was never referred to a specialist because his
sugar levels were stable. Wells Aff. ¶ 17. Referrals are
only clinically indicated when blood sugar levels cannot be
adequately controlled. Id. Plaintiff's medical
record demonstrates that his A1C level declined while at
RNCC, which indicated that his diabetes was controlled and
improving. Id. at ¶¶ 15, 18. Defendant
further asserts that during her time as supervisor, no
clinical evidence shows that post-meal, as opposed to
pre-meal, insulin administration harmed Plaintiff in any
manner. To any extent Plaintiff claims dizziness, agitation,
and nausea, Defendant blames Plaintiff's repeated
refusals of insulin and noncompliance with his diet.
Id. at ¶ 19.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that a court should
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.” “As
to materiality . . . [o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). In order to preclude summary judgment, the dispute
about a material fact must be “‘genuine,'
that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
However, if the evidence of a genuine issue of material fact
“is merely colorable or is not significantly probative,
summary judgment may be granted.” Id. at 250.
In considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must
view the record as a whole and draw all reasonable inferences
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See,
e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24
(1986); Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 798 (4th Cir.
must grant a motion for summary judgment if, after adequate
time for discovery, the nonmoving party 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, 477 U.S. at 322. The nonmoving party cannot
defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment with
mere conjecture and speculation. Glover v. Oppleman,
178 F.Supp.2d 622, 631 (W.D. Va. 2001). The trial judge has
an “affirmative ...