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Drewry v. Correct Care Solutions

United States District Court, D. Maine

November 28, 2016




         In this action, Plaintiff Brandon Drewry, currently an inmate at the Maine State Prison, alleges Defendants acted with deliberate indifference toward his medical needs in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

         The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 162) and Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement. (ECF No. 167.) Through his summary judgment motion, Plaintiff requests judgment against Defendants Elisabeth Lamson and Dana Webster. Through his motion to supplement, evidently in support of the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff seeks to introduce certain facts regarding his need for a vaporizer to treat a medical condition.

         Following a review of the pleadings, summary judgment filings, and the parties' arguments, I grant Plaintiff's motion to supplement. In addition, I recommend the Court deny Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement

         Shortly after filing his motion for summary judgment, and before Defendants filed their opposition to the motion, Plaintiff moved to supplement the record with certain facts regarding Defendants' decision to deny Plaintiff the use of a vaporizer. A vaporizer was apparently part of the treatment an outside provider recommended for one of Plaintiff's medical conditions. (Motion to Supplement, ECF No. 167; April 5, 2011, Letter of Robert Dixon, M.D., to Maine State Prison, ECF No. 169.) As part of the motion to supplement, Plaintiff filed eight exhibits. (Additional Attachments, ECF No. 169.) Because Plaintiff filed the motion to supplement before Defendants responded to the motion for summary judgment, Defendants were aware of the additional alleged facts when they filed their response to the motion. I cannot, therefore, discern any prejudice to Defendants if the motion is granted. Accordingly, I grant the motion to supplement.[1]

         II. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “After the moving party has presented evidence in support of its motion for summary judgment, ‘the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, with respect to each issue on which he has the burden of proof, to demonstrate that a trier of fact reasonably could find in his favor.'” Woodward v. Emulex Corp., 714 F.3d 632, 637 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Hodgens v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 144 F.3d 151, 158 (1st Cir. 1998)).

         A court reviews the factual record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, resolving evidentiary conflicts and drawing reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Perry v. Roy, 782 F.3d 73, 77 (1st Cir. 2015). If the court's review of the record reveals evidence sufficient to support findings in favor of the non-moving party …, a trial worthy controversy exists and summary judgment must be denied …. Id. (“The district court's role is limited to assessing whether there exists evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).[2]

         B. Standard of Proof for Deliberate Indifference

         Plaintiff contends Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Defendants' obligation to Plaintiff regarding medical care is governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, the Due Process Clause imposes on the states the “substantive obligation” not to treat prisoners in their care in a manner that reflects “deliberate indifference” toward “a substantial risk of serious harm to health, ” Coscia v. Town of Pembroke, 659 F.3d 37, 39 (1st Cir. 2011), or “serious medical needs, ” Feeney v. Corr. Med. Servs., 464 F.3d 158, 161 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 - 106 (1976)). To be actionable, a deliberate indifference claim must satisfy both an objective and a subjective standard. Leavitt v. Corr. Med. Servs., 645 F.3d 484, 497 (1st Cir. 2011).

         The objective standard evaluates the seriousness of the risk of harm to one's health. For a medical condition to be objectively “serious, ” there must be “a sufficiently substantial ‘risk of serious damage to [the inmate's] future health.'” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 843 (1994) (quoting Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 35 (1993)). A medical need is serious if it has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment, or is so obvious that even a lay person would recognize a need for medical intervention. Leavitt, 645 F.3d at 497; Gaudreault v. Mun. of Salem, 923 F.2d 203, 208 (1st Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 500 U.S. 956 (1991)).

         The subjective standard concerns the culpability of the defendant. There must be evidence that a particular defendant possessed a culpable state of mind amounting to “deliberate indifference to an inmate's health or safety.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834 (internal quotation marks omitted). Deliberate indifference is akin to criminal recklessness, “requiring actual knowledge of impending harm, easily preventable.” Feeney, 464 F.3d at 162 (quoting Watson v. Caton, 984 F.2d 537, 540 (1st Cir. 1993)). The focus of the deliberate ...

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