United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OSTEEN, JR., District Judge
before this court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant Shonicia Jones (“Defendant”) Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. 74.) Defendant has filed a brief in
support of her motion, (Doc. 75 (corrected)), and Plaintiff
Robbie Sherron (“Plaintiff”) has responded, (Doc.
108). This matter is ripe for adjudication and,
for the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's motion will
facts underlying this dispute, presented in the light most
favorable to Plaintiff, are as follows: Plaintiff is a
former detainee at the Durham County Detention Center who, on
March 3, 2015, suffered a broken tooth, missing filling, and
multiple cavities while in custody which caused him great
pain. (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Attach. 1, Aff. of
Gerald Edwin Welch, M.D., (“Welch Aff.”), Ex. 3
(Doc. 74-1) at 30-38.) After submitting a sick call request
on March 3, Plaintiff was examined on March 4 by a nurse who
observed the missing filling and visual evidence of decay and
referred Plaintiff to a dental provider for evaluation.
(Id.) This referral placed Plaintiff on a wait-list
in which patients are seen in the order they are put on the
list, except in emergency situations. (Def.'s Mot. for
Summ. J., Attach. 2, Aff. of Shonicia Jones, RN (Doc. 74-2)
¶ 6; Attach 1, Welch Aff. (Doc. 74-1) ¶ 8.) After
the referral, Plaintiff filed a number of medical grievances,
which reflect, among other things, that Plaintiff never saw a
dentist at the Durham County Detention Center. (See, e.g.,
Exs. 6-8 attached to Welch Aff. (Doc. 74-1) at 76-84.) In May
2015, Plaintiff was transferred to another facility where he
saw a dentist who pulled one of his teeth and later treated
him for a broken tooth. (Declaration by Robbie Sherron
(“Pl.'s Decl.”), Ex. A, Medical Records (Doc.
109-1) at 21, 24.)
Defendant's brief points to various unrelated medical
attention Plaintiff received at the detention center and
disputes as to a co-pay stemming from Plaintiff's initial
sick call request regarding his dental problems, (Mem. of Law
in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. (Doc. 75) at 8-11.),
it is unclear why Plaintiff never saw a dentist while
detained at the Durham County Detention Center. For the
reasons outlined below, this court finds this evidence to
give rise to a genuine issue as to a material fact.
judgment is appropriate where an examination of the
pleadings, affidavits, and other proper discovery materials
before the court demonstrates that no genuine issue of
material facts exists, thus entitling the moving party to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The
moving party bears the burden of initially demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323.
moving party has met that burden, then the nonmoving party
must persuade the court that a genuine issue remains for
trial. However, this requires “more than simply
show[ing] that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts”; the “nonmoving party must come
forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87
(1986) (citations omitted). In considering a motion for
summary judgment, the court is not to weigh the evidence, but
rather must determine whether there is a genuine dispute as
to a material issue. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).
court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, drawing inferences favorable to that party
if such inferences are reasonable. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
However, there must be more than a factual dispute; the fact
in question must be material, and the dispute must be
genuine. Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A
dispute is only “genuine” if “the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
outlined in detail by the Magistrate Judge's October 17,
2016 Memorandum Opinion, Order, and Recommendation, Plaintiff
asserts an Eighth Amendment claim of wrongful medical
treatment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Mem. Op., Order,
& Recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge (“Mem.
Op.”) (Doc. 30) at 1, 3.) To establish this claim,
Plaintiff must show that Defendant “acted with
‘deliberate indifference' (subjective) to the
inmate's ‘serious medical needs'
(objective).” Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 241
(4th Cir. 2008) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 107 (1976)); accord Adams v. Ferguson, 884 F.3d
219, 227 (4th Cir. 2018).
official is deliberately indifferent to an inmate's
serious medical needs only when he or she subjectively
‘knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety.'” Jackson v. Lightsey,
775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014) (citing Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994)). Deliberate
indifference “is a higher standard for culpability than
mere negligence or even civil recklessness, and as a
consequence, many acts or omissions that would constitute
medical malpractice will not rise to the level of deliberate
indifference.” Id. (citing Estelle, 429 U.S.
at 106). “A delay in treatment may constitute
deliberate indifference if the delay exacerbated the injury
or unnecessarily prolonged an inmate's pain.”
Abraham v. McDonald, 493 Fed.Appx. 465, 466 (4th
Cir. 2012) (quoting McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636,
640 (7th Cir. 2010)); see also Berry v. Peterman,
604 F.3d 435, 437, 441-44 (7th Cir. 2010) (finding summary
judgment in favor of a defendant inappropriate where a
reasonable jury could find that a two-month delay in dental
care which ultimately required a root canal constituted
deliberate indifference); Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966,
969 (8th Cir. 1995) (finding summary judgment in favor of a
defendant to be inappropriate where a genuine issue of
material fact existed as to whether a three-week delay in
dental care constituted deliberate indifference); Stack
v. McCotter, 79 Fed.Appx. 383, 387, 392 (10th Cir. 2003)
(finding a genuine issue of material fact to exist as to
whether a seven-month delay in dental care constituted
it is undisputed that Plaintiff was referred to a dentist and
placed on a waiting list, a genuine issue of material fact
exists as to why Plaintiff never saw a dentist at the Durham
County Detention Center. For this reason, this court will
deny Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.