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Gladu v. Correct Care Solutions

United States District Court, D. Maine

February 14, 2018

NICHOLAS A. GLADU, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE RECOMMENDED DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         A prisoner in Maine custody brought suit challenging the decisions of correctional staff and medical providers concerning his bilateral hip pain. The Court affirms the Magistrate Judge's recommended decision and grants summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 23, 2015, Nicholas A. Gladu filed a complaint with this Court against Correct Care Solutions and a number of individual defendants, alleging that while confined in the Maine State Prison and Maine Correctional Center, he did not receive proper medical treatment for bilateral hip pain and that the Defendants retaliated against him for filing grievances within the prison system. Verified Compl. for Damages and Inj. Relief (ECF No. 1). On December 21, 2015, Correct Care Solutions, Robert Clinton, M.D., George Stockwell, D.O., and Wendy Riebe (collectively CCS) answered the Complaint, denying its essential allegations and raising affirmative defenses. Answer, Defenses and Affirmative Defenses of Defs. Correct Care Solutions, Robert Clinton, M.D., George Stockwell, M.D. and Wendy Riebe, HSA to Pl.'s Verified Compl. (ECF No. 61).

         On December 5, 2016, Mr. Gladu filed an amended complaint in which he added Susan Carr and the Maine Department of Corrections as Defendants (collectively DOC), alleging that the Defendants violated the Rehabilitation Act, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and analogous claims under the Maine Human Rights Act. First Am. Compl. (ECF No. 251). On January 3, 2017, DOC filed a motion for summary judgment together with a statement of material facts in support of the motion. Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 261); Statement of Material Facts (ECF No. 262) (DOC Mot.). On January 4, 2017, the CCS moved for summary judgment. Defs. Correct Care Solutions, Robert Clinton, M.D., George Stockwell, D.O. and Wendy Riebe's Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 266) (CCS Mot.). On March 29, 2017, Mr. Gladu filed responses to the motions for summary judgment, Pl.'s Br. in Resp. to Defs.' Mots. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 341) (Gladu Opp'n), and a statement of disputed factual issues. Pl.'s Statement of Disputed Factual Issues (ECF No. 342) (PRDSMF). On April 7, DOC replied. Reply to Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 353) (DOC Reply). On April 12, 2017, CCS replied and filed a reply to Mr. Gladu's statement of facts. Defs. Correct Care Solutions, Robert Clinton, M.D., George Stockwell, D.O., and Wendy Riebe's Reply to Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 358) (CCS Reply); Defs. Correct Care Solutions, Robert Clinton, M.D., George Stockwell, D.O. and Wendy Riebe's Consolidated Statement of Material Facts (ECF No. 357) (DRPSMF).

         On December 18, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a recommended decision in which he recommended that the Court grant CCS's and DOC's motions for summary judgment and he granted in part and denied in part a number of then pending motions. Recommended Decision of Defs.' Mots. for Summ. J. and Order on Pl.'s Record-Related Mots. (ECF No. 512) (Recommended Decision). On January 2, 2018, Mr. Gladu objected to the recommended decision. Pl.'s Objection to Recommended Decision (ECF No. 520) (Gladu Obj.). On January 5, 2018, Mr. Gladu filed a notice to the effect that he was objecting to the Magistrate Judge's recommended decision “in whole, even though Plaintiff only responded to specific portions.” Additional Attach. (ECF No. 521). On January 16, 2018, CCS responded to Mr. Gladu's objection. Defs.' Correct Care Solutions, Robert Clinton, M.D., George Stockwell, D.O., and Wendy Riebe's Resp. to Pl.'s Obj. to Report and Recommended Decision (ECF No. 525) (CCS Resp. to Gladu Obj.). DOC did not respond to Mr. Gladu's objection to the recommended decision.

         II. THE PARTIES' POSITIONS

         A. CCS's Motion for Summary Judgment

         CCS framed its motion for summary judgment as testing whether an inmate has the constitutional right to direct his own care against the professional judgment of his medical providers. CCS Mot. at 1-20. Despite the fact that Mr. Gladu believes he has a serious medical condition, CCS maintains that he does not have the constitutional right to control his own medical treatment and that CCS is entitled to summary judgment. Id.

         B. DOC's Motion for Summary Judgment

         As DOC sees it, the focus of Mr. Gladu's complaint against DOC is that it failed and refused to issue him a second mattress to alleviate pain in both hips. DOC Mot. at 1-5. DOC contends that it has acted in accordance with its policies in issuing Mr. Gladu one mattress and in following the advice from its medical providers in denying Mr. Gladu a second one. Id.

         C. Nicholas Gladu's Opposition

         Nicholas Gladu opposes the motions for summary judgment. Gladu Opp'n at 1-29. Mr. Gladu states that he was examined by an orthopedic surgeon and was thought to suffer from “possible bilateral trochanteric bursitis with rule out differential diagnosis sought for osteonecrosis by undergoing a recommended MRI.” Id. at 2. However, Mr. Gladu says that the recommended MRI was denied by the Defendants and the “differential diagnosis was never ruled out.” Id. Mr. Gladu says that his “pain and systemic symptoms have persistently worsened and he has not received adequate medical treatment.” Id.

         III. THE RECOMMENDED DECISION

         The Magistrate Judge framed the issue as follows:

Plaintiff Nicholas Gladu alleges that Defendants have acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, discriminated against him on the basis of disability, retaliated against him for engaging in conduct protected under the First Amendment, and breached duties owed to him under Maine law.

Recommended Decision at 1.

         Regarding CCS's motion for summary judgment, the Magistrate Judge set forth the undisputed material facts. Id. at 4-15. Turning to DOC's motion for summary judgment, the Magistrate Judge then set forth the undisputed facts in that motion. Id. at 15-16. The Magistrate Judge also reviewed Mr. Gladu's statements. Id. at 16-18.

         The Magistrate Judge then turned to the legal standards to make out a case for a deliberate indifference claim under § 1983. Id. at 20-22. Applying the law to the undisputed facts, the Magistrate Judge concluded that “the record fails to reveal an objectively serious, undiagnosed medical condition that poses a serious risk of harm to Plaintiff's health.” Id. at 22. The Magistrate Judge drew this conclusion despite Mr. Gladu's “concerns that he might suffer from a number of serious, potentially life-threatening diseases that have not been diagnosed.” Id. The Magistrate Judge wrote that the “record lacks any admissible evidence that would support such a finding.” Id. The Magistrate Judge also rejected Mr. Gladu's claims about his need for an ...


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