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Goodwin v. Medpro Associates

United States District Court, D. Maine

September 9, 2014

MICHAEL R. GOODWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MEDPRO ASSOCIATES, Defendant.

DECISION ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JOHN C. NIVISON, District Judge.

In this action, Plaintiff Michael R. Goodwin contends that Defendants Loreen Maloney and Rhonda Walters acted with deliberate indifference regarding his serious medical needs while he was a pretrial detainee at the Somerset County Jail. The matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 73).[1]

After a review of the parties' summary judgment filings, and after consideration of the parties' arguments, as explained below, the Court denies the motion. The Court in part determines that a factual issue exists as to whether Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies, which issue must be determined before the matter proceeds to trial. Accordingly, the Court will conduct an evidentiary hearing on the exhaustion issue.

BACKGROUND FACTS

The Court determines the facts based on the parties' Local Rule 56 statements and the record materials attached thereto, including a partially stipulated record. Where the parties dispute the facts, the Court views the underlying record in the light most favorable to Plaintiff (the non-movant), draws all reasonable inferences in his favor, and resolves any evidentiary disputes in that light. Ahmed v. Johnson, 752 F.3d 490, 495 (1st Cir. 2014). The Court does not evaluate the credibility of witnesses or otherwise weigh the evidence. Id.

Medpro Associates is an independent contractor that provided health care services under contract with the Somerset County Jail ("SCJ"). Defendants Rhonda Walters and Loreen Maloney were at all relevant times employed by Medpro Associates to provide medical services to inmates at the Somerset County Jail - Walters as a nurse and Maloney as the nursing supervisor. Walters and Maloney are the only identified medical care providers that Plaintiff has named as Defendants.

Plaintiff arrived at SCJ, as a pretrial detainee, at approximately 3:35 p.m. on Friday, January 29, 2010. Shortly after his arrival, he went through the SCJ intake process. The jail records reflect that as part of the intake process, SCJ corrections officer Tara Hamlin and Medpro nurse Lisa Cates asked Plaintiff about his medical status and his health. One record, which Officer Hamlin prepared, reveals that Plaintiff responded in the negative when asked if he was suffering from a "sore throat, fever, or other infection" or if he had "any other medical problem that [Somerset County Jail] should know about." Despite this response, Plaintiff told Nurse Cates that he was experiencing burning when voiding since he had started new medication for the treatment of hepatitis C. At the time of his intake, Plaintiff was not suffering from abdominal pain.[2]

During the intake process, Plaintiff received a copy of the SCJ inmate handbook, which outlines the procedure for any medical complaints. Additionally, Plaintiff was also instructed that if he needed or wanted medical care, he had to complete a request form, which he could obtain from any SCJ corrections officer.

During the time period about which Plaintiff complains, Medpro staff nurses were scheduled to be at the SCJ every day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The schedule for Medpro staff nurses consisted of two shifts - one from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and another from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Defendant Walters worked the 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. shift at all pertinent times.

Plaintiff completed two separate medical request forms, one on January 31, 2010, and the other on February 1, 2010. On a form dated January 31, 2010, Plaintiff asserted that he was "having trouble urinating, burns when urine comes out, have to push very hard for urine to come out." In completing this medical request form, Goodwin checked the box labelled "EMERGENCY, " not the box labelled "ROUTINE." While the notations on the request do not reflect when Defendant Walters first received the request, in the section entitled "action taken, " Defendant Walters wrote, "I/M brought to medical for voiding issue. Issue resolved. I/M back to A pod." The entry was not dated.

On the morning of February 1, 2010, Plaintiff was transported to Somerset County Superior Court for arraignment by Sergeant Wayne Kline and Officers Andrews and Murray. Sometime after returning to the pod in the late afternoon, Plaintiff filled out a second medical request form. This form, dated February 1, 2010, was the second and final medical request form that Plaintiff completed during the relevant time period. On the medical request form, Plaintiff wrote, "I'm still having trouble urinating. In a lot of pain after trying to pee - need to see doctor ASAP." Plaintiff also checked the box marked "EMERGENCY" rather than the box marked "ROUTINE."

The Somerset County Sheriff's Department Daily Log records for the SCJ ("SCJ log") reflect that sometime after 5:58 p.m. and before 6:45 p.m. on February 1, Plaintiff complained to Corrections Officer Herrera that he was having difficulty urinating and that he had filed two related medical requests. After speaking with Plaintiff, Officer Herrera made a phone call, which Plaintiff believes was to the nurses' station. Upon completion of the call, Officer Herrera returned to Plaintiff's cell and told Plaintiff that a nurse suggested that Plaintiff take a shower because the hot water might help Plaintiff void. Officer Herrera also told Plaintiff that if the shower did not remedy his problem, Plaintiff would have to be catheterized. The SCJ log states that at 6:45 on February 1, Officer Herbest assisted Officer Herrera in moving Plaintiff from his cell to the shower area.

Plaintiff attempted to urinate while in the shower but collapsed due to severe pain. The SCJ log records a 6:58 p.m. "code blue" indicating a medical emergency regarding Plaintiff. Several corrections officers responded and transferred Plaintiff to the nurses' station. Defendant Walters attended to Plaintiff upon his arrival. According to Plaintiff, the medical attention provided by Defendant Walters was the first medical treatment that Plaintiff received following the submission of his two medical requests. While at the nurses' station, Defendant Walters telephoned Greg Ellis, a Medpro physicians' assistant, who, after a discussion regarding Plaintiff's situation, ordered Defendant Walters to catheterize Plaintiff. Defendant Walters performed the catheterization, which relieved Plaintiff's symptoms. The SCJ log notes that Plaintiff was returned to his cell on February 1.

Plaintiff disputes that the events occurred on February 1, 2010. He testified that they occurred on February 3 instead.[3] Plaintiff maintains that he spoke with Officer Fails (rather than Officer Herrera) at approximately 6:00 p.m. on February 1, 2010, while Officer Fails was doing his rounds in the A-pod housing unit. Plaintiff informed Fails that he was experiencing severe burning in his urethra and that he needed to see a nurse. Fails told Plaintiff that he would have to wait until the following day because there was no nurse on duty. Plaintiff responded, "okay."[4] The parties agree that Officer Fails and Officer Herrera do not work on the same day. Plaintiff's report of his symptoms to ...


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