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MilGrim v. Clarke

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

July 9, 2019

HAROLD W. CLARKE, et al., Defendants.


          Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff William F. Milgrim, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1]The matter before the court is the motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Harold W. Clarke, Bernard Booker, Nurse Pamela Shipp, Stacy Meinhard, and Carmen Rodriguez. Upon review of the record, I conclude that the defendants' motion must be granted.


         Milgrim filed this § 1983 action against defendants Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") Director Clarke, Warden Booker, Nurse Shipp, Grievance Coordinator ("GC") Meinhard, and Regional Ombudsman ("RO") Rodriguez for alleged constitutional violations.[2]Milgrim seeks only injunctive relief. The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment and Milgrim has responded, making the matter ripe for disposition. Liberally construed, Milgrim's claims are that: (1) Nurse Shipp, Director Clarke, and Warden Booker acted with deliberate indifference to Milgrim's serious medical needs; (2) GC Meinhard and RO Rodriguez restricted his access to the courts; (3) defendants did not follow proper VDOC procedure with respect to Milgrim's grievances; and (4) the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") is unconstitutional.[3]


         Federal 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). The dispute over a material fact must be genuine, "such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id; see also JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001). As such, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment if the evidence supporting a genuine issue of material fact "is merely colorable or is not significantly probative." Anderson. 477 U.S. at 249.

         The moving party bears the burden of proving that judgment on the pleadings is appropriate. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett. 477 U.S. 317. 322-23 (1986). If the moving party meets this burden, then the nonmoving party must set forth specific, admissible facts to demonstrate a genuine issue of fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the record as a whole and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Celotex. 477 U.S. at 322-24; Shaw v. Stroud. 13 F.3d 791, 798 (4th Cir. 1994). However, the nonmoving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Baber v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). Instead, the nonmoving party must produce "significantly probative" evidence from which a reasonable jury could return a verdict in his favor. Abcor Corp. v. AM Int'l, Inc., 916 F.2d 924, 930 (4th Cir. 1990) (quoting Anderson. 477 U.S. at 249-50).

         Milgrim is proceeding pro se and, thus, entitled to a liberal construction of the pleading. See, e.g., Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 90-95 (2007). However, "[principles requiring generous construction of pro se complaints are not . . . without limits." Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). "A court considering a motion [for summary judgment] can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         "To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Notably, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege a defendant's personal act or omission leading to a deprivation of a federal right. See Fisher v. Washington Metro. Area Transit Author., 690 F.2d 1133, 1142-43 (4th Cir. 1982) (abrogated on other grounds by Cty. of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991)). Negligent deprivations are not actionable under § 1983. See, e.g., Daniels v. Williams. 474 U.S. 327, 330 (1986); Pink v. Lester. 52 F.3d 73, 77 (4th Cir. 1995).


         A. Medical Treatment

         The uncontested evidence establishes that Milgrim is confined at Buckingham, a prison facility operated by Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC"). Milgrim was transferred to Buckingham from Nottoway on January 29, 2016.

         Following Milgrim's transfer to Buckingham, on January 29, 2016, the medical staff conducted an Intrasystem Transfer Medical Review. (See Shipp Aff. 1, [ECF No. 59-1]). Milgrim receives treatment and medication for a chronic cardiac condition, hypertension, diabetes, allergies, and other ailments. (Id. at 2-3). Per VDOC Operating Procedure ("OP"), Milgrim has follow up appointments approximately every six months for his chronic care conditions. See VDOC OP 720.2(V)(2).

         On February 10, 2016, Milgrim was seen for his first chronic care appointment at Buckingham. (Shipp Aff. 3). Milgrim reported chest pains at that appointment and was transported to VCU Pauley Heart Center for evaluation and treatment. (Id.) At ...

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