United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge.
Lashawn Claiborne, Sr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action. In his "PARTICULARIZED COMPLAINT FOR
CIVIL ACTION NUMBER 3:17CV556" ("Particularized
Complaint," ECF No. 17), the Court construes Claiborne
to allege that Dr. Inder Jeet Singh Gujral, a physician at
Sussex II State Prison ("Sussex II"), denied him
adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment
with respect to the removal of the cast on his broken foot.
(Part. Compl. 1-2.)
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 28) filed by Dr. Gujral. Claiborne has filed a
response to the Motion for Summary Judgment, entitled
"Re: MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT" ("Response," ECF No. 34).
For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion
for Summary Judgment and will dismiss the action.
SUMMARY OF CLAIBORNE'S CLAIM
contends that Dr. Gujral denied him adequate medical care
with respect to his broken foot. Claiborne faults Dr. Gujral
because, upon Claiborne's insistence that Dr. Gujral
remove the cast because Claiborne believed it had gotten wet
and mildewed, Dr. Gujral removed the cast, and thereafter,
refused to place a new cast on Claiborne's foot. (Part
Compl. 1-2.) 'Claiborne asked for a foot brace, but Dr.
Gujral gave him ace bandages instead. Claiborne contends that
due to Dr. Gujral's refusal to recast Claiborne's
foot, his foot healed "irregularly and [he] now [has] a
permanent limp." (Id. at 2.) As relief,
Claiborne seeks monetary damages. (Id. at 3.)
STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
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)).
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
(citing Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14
Wall.) 442, 448 (1871)). "'[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.7"
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 . . . .").
support of his Motion for Summary Judgment, Dr. Gujral has
submitted his own declaration (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A
("Gujral Decl."), ECF No. 29-1), and
Claiborne's medical records (ECF Nos. 29-2, 29-3). 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. Although, Claiborne
filed a response, he has not cited any evidence that he
wishes the Court to consider in opposition to the Motion for
Summary Judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3)
(emphasizing that Mt]he court need consider only the cited
materials" in deciding a motion for summary
judgment). Therefore, the Court may rely solely on
Dr. Gujral's declaration and the supporting medical
records in deciding the Motion for Summary Judgment. See
Forsyth v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1994)
(“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.'" (quoting Skotak v. Tenneco Resins,
Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915 & n.7 (5th Cir. 1992))).
the following facts are established for the Motion for
Summary Judgment. The Court draws all permissible inferences
in favor of Claiborne.
Claiborne's Interactions With Dr. Gujral
Gujral was employed as the medical director at Sussex II from
March 2013 until August 23, 2016. Dr. Gujral is a
board-certified physician and due to extensive training and
experience in orthopedics, is board-eligible in orthopedic
surgery. (Gujral Decl. ¶¶ 1, 3.) Claiborne has a
history of foot pain that predates the incident that gave
rise to this action. (Id. ¶¶ 5-7.)
20, 2016, Dr. Gujral examined Claiborne's right foot.
(Id. ¶ 9.) Claiborne indicated that he injured
the foot when he fell playing basketball in the recreation
yard. (Id.) Dr. Gujral observed swelling on the
outer side of the foot with accompanying tenderness, and an
X-ray "demonstrated a displaced fracture at the base of
5th metatarsal." (Id.) Dr. Gujral
placed a short cast on Claiborne's foot “to
immobilize the fracture, provided instructions to [Claiborne]
regarding cast care and ambulation with crutches, prescribed
ibuprofen for pain, and ordered [Claiborne] be placed in the
[Sussex II] infirmary on 23-hour observation to confirm
[Claiborne] was keeping the right leg elevated and doing well
with the treatment . . . ." (Id.) Dr. Gujral
ordered a follow-up appointment in one week. (Id.)
21, 2016, Claiborne was evaluated by a different healthcare
provider who instructed Claiborne to keep the follow-up
appointment in one week, to "keep the cast dry at all
times, to use a black plastic bag to cover the cast when
showering, use crutches and continue with no weight bearing
on the effected extremity." (Id. ¶ 10.)
Claiborne was discharged back to general population.
27, 2016, Dr. Gujral saw Claiborne for the follow-up
appointment. (Id. ¶ 11.) Claiborne complained
of foot pain; however, an examination revealed the cast was
intact and his foot was not swollen. (Id.) Dr.
Gujral advised Claiborne to continue to use crutches and
begin partial weight bearing on his foot, prescribed
additional ibuprofen to treat Claiborne's discomfort, and
ordered that Claiborne be scheduled for a follow-up