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Ames v. Sidi

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

October 31, 2019

CHAPPELL L. AMES, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBIN SIDI, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT E. PAYNE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Chappell L. Ames, Sr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Robin Sidi, R.N.[2] Ames has not responded. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46) will be granted.

         I. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         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 (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.'" 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 her Motion for Summary Judgment, Nurse Sidi submitted her declaration ("Sidi Decl.," ECF No. 47-1), and Ames's medical records ("Medical Records," ECF No. 47-2). Although Ames did not respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment, his Amended Complaint appears to be verified. (ECF No. 22-2, at 19.) Accordingly, the following facts are established for the Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court draws all permissible inferences in favor of Ames.

         II. PERTINENT, UNDISPUTED FACTS

         In 2014, Nurse Sidi worked as a charge nurse at Sussex II State Prison ("SUSP"). (Sidi Decl. ¶ 4.) SUSP is a "high security prison that houses approximately 1500 offenders." (Id.) One of Nurse Sidi's "administrative duties was to triage emergency grievances submitted by offenders." (Id.) Nurse Sidi notes that "[a]s a registered nurse, [she] work[s] exclusively under the supervision of a physician and [does] not have the independent authority to order referrals for treatment." (Id. ¶ 10.)

         On Friday, September 19, 2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Ames injured his knee while playing basketball at SUSP. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1.) Ames was taken to the infirmary where he was examined by Nurse Street. (Id. ¶¶ 4-7.) Ames told Nurse Street that he was in a lot of pain and wanted to go to the hospital. (Id. ¶ 7.) Nurse Street told Ames that only Dr. Gujral could authorize emergency treatment outside of SUSP and he was not currently at SUSP. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) Nurse Street contacted Dr. Gujral and informed him of Ames's injury. (Id. ¶ 12.) Dr. Gujral refused to approve Ames for outside emergency care. (Id. ¶ 13.) Dr. Gujral. ordered Nurse Street to schedule Ames for x-rays and an appointment with Dr. Gujral on Monday. (Id.) Nurse Street wrapped the knee in an ace bandage (Medical Records 1), and provided Ames with crutches and pain reliever.[3] (Am. Compl. ¶ 15.)

         On Monday, September 22, 2014, Ames asked Correctional Officer Weatherby to check whether Ames was on the list to see the doctor. (Id. ¶ 24.) Nurse Sidi received a call from Weatherby and informed him that Ames was not on the list and directed Ames to submit a sick call request if he would like to be assessed. (Sidi Decl. ¶ 6.)

         Thereafter, Weatherby informed Ames that he was not on the list to see the doctor. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) Ames showed Weatherby his injured knee and asked Weatherby to call the medical department so that they would provide emergency care. (Id. ¶ 26.) Upon seeing Ames's injured knee, Weatherby's eyes "bulged ... in disbelief and concern, and immediately called the medical department in [Ames's] presence." (Id. ¶ 27.) After the conclusion of the phone call, Weatherby told Ames, "that he had just spoken with . . . Nurse Sidi, and that she said he was not oh the list for medical, she would not call him over, and that he needed to submit a sick call slip." (Id. ¶ 31.)

         Weatherby told Ames to submit a Medical Emergency Grievance Slip and he would deliver it to the Medical Department. (Id. ¶ 32.) At 1:30 p.m., Ames submitted his Medical Emergency Grievance Slip, which explained that he had been "seriously injured" and had been told he would see the doctor on Monday and have x-rays taken. (Id. ¶ 33.) Upon receipt of the Medical Emergency Grievance Slip in the medical department, "Ames's chart was brought to Dr. Gujral, who was advised about the emergency grievance and the injury assessment done by the nurse on September 19, 2014." (Sidi Decl. ¶ 7 (citation omitted).)

         Ultimately, given

the non-life threatening nature of Mr. Ames's complaint, the emergency grievance was deemed 'non-emergent' and the grievance was returned to [Ames] indicating that his chart had been left for the doctor to review. Thereafter, Dr. Gujral signed off on the chart indicating that he had reviewed the injury ...

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