Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Johnson v. Cheever

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

June 12, 2017

JASON JAMAR JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
KATHRYN CHEEVER, Defendant.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN United States District Judge

         The matter now comes before the court on defendant's motion for summary judgment (DE 27) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The issues raised have been fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the court grants defendant's motion.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         On February 20, 2015, plaintiff, a state inmate, filed a hand-written complaint seeking to bring a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On the same date, the clerk of court issued a notice of deficiency informing plaintiff that his complaint was not filed on the proper form for filing an action pursuant to § 1983. Plaintiff then filed his complaint on the proper form and alleged that defendants Nurse Cheever (“Cheever”), an unidentified Craven Correctional Institution Provider, and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) acted with deliberate indifference to a medical condition plaintiff contends began on March 9, 2012, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[1] Plaintiff alleged that the deliberate indifference resulted in permanent erectile damage and emotional discomfort. Plaintiff also alleged state law negligence-related claims. On April 16, 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to appoint counsel.

         On October 7, 2015, the court conducted a frivolity review of plaintiff's action and dismissed without prejudice plaintiff's claims against defendants DPS, an unidentified Craven Correctional Institution Provider, and Engleman. The court, however, allowed plaintiff to proceed with his Eighth Amendment claim against defendant Cheever. The court additionally denied plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel. Then, on May 2, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion for discovery, which was fully briefed. On May 20, 2016, the court denied plaintiff's motion for discovery and directed plaintiff to make his discovery requests directly to defendant Cheever.

         On September 29, 2016, defendant Cheever filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff is unable to establish a constitutional violation against herself or any other DPS medical professional. Alternatively, defendant Cheever asserts the affirmative defense of qualified immunity. As part of her motion, defendant Cheever filed a Statement of No Material Facts, as well as an Appendix, which included the following: affidavits from defendants Cheever and Engleman as well as Kim Hodges;[2] and excerpts from plaintiff's medical records. The motion was fully briefed. As part of plaintiff's response, he attached an appendix which included the following: a personal declaration; a personal affidavit; and a grievance response.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Plaintiff arrived at Craven Correctional Institution (“Craven”) on March 7, 2012, and was examined that same day by a practical nurse, Andrea Pino (“Pino”), after plaintiff complained of pain related to his sickle cell anemia condition.[3] (Engleman Aff. ¶ 7(b) and Ex. A). In the course of the examination, plaintiff stated that he had not received his pain medication that day. (Id.) The next day, Robert Lenn (“Lenn”), a registered nurse, saw plaintiff and noted that he was taking Naprosyn, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain. (Id. ¶ 7(c) and Ex. A).

         On March 10, 2012, a Saturday, plaintiff declared a medical emergency and was seen by Kathryn Burke (“Burke”), a registered nurse. (Id. ¶ 7(e) and Ex. B). In the course of the examination, plaintiff complained of pain related to his sickle cell anemia. (Id.) Plaintiff stated that he was taking Naprosyn, but requested Norco (a pain medication containing hydrocodone an opioid). Burke noted that plaintiff showed no obvious signs of discomfort, and that plaintiff had taken Advil that morning. (Id.) The nurse further noted that plaintiff spoke “quietly” and had “poor eye contact” when she attempted to get more information about plaintiff's sick cell anemia. (Id.) Burke assessed plaintiff with altered comfort related to his sickle cell anemia. (Id.) Burke ordered that plaintiff be given Naprosyn, and scheduled plaintiff to see defendant Engleman the following Monday- March 12, 2012. (Id.)

         On March 12, 2012, defendant Engleman examined plaintiff, and plaintiff reported that he had a priapism[4] for the prior 48 hours. (Id. ¶ 7(f) and Ex. D). Defendant Engleman noted that plaintiff declared a medical emergency on March 10, 2012, but had not informed the nurse of his priapism. (Id.) Defendant Engleman determined that plaintiff's condition required the expertise of an urologist and ordered that plaintiff be transferred to Carolina East Medical Center (“CEMC”) that same day. (Id.) At CEMC, medical staff treated plaintiff with “multiple installations of phenylephrine and Winter's shunts which provided partial detumescence, but [plaintiff] continually did not improve” and his condition persisted. (Id. ¶ 7(g) and Ex. E, p. 1). Because the initial course of treatment was unsuccessful, plaintiff had surgery to address the priapism on March 14, 2012. (Id.) Plaintiff's priapism persisted following the surgery. (Id.) As a result, plaintiff was transferred to the University of North Carolina Hospital (“UNC”) Urology Clinic for further evaluation and treatment. (Id.¶ 7(h) and Ex. E, p. 2). In its preliminary report, the UNC Urology Clinic noted that plaintiff's priapism began on March 10, 2012. (Id. Ex. E, p. 1). Plaintiff received treatment at the UNC Urology Clinic and ultimately was discharged on March 21, 2012. (Id. Ex. G). After discharge, plaintiff was returned to Craven and received continued treatment for his condition. (Id. ¶ 7(j), (k) and Exs. D, H, I).

         DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Summary Judgment

         1. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there exists no genuine issue of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of initially coming forward and demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party then must affirmatively demonstrate that there exists a genuine issue of material fact requiring trial. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.