United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Webster, United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants Joseph Valliere,
Catherine Brown, Mike Williams, Susan Glover, Kimberly Click,
and Deana Loflin's (hereinafter collectively
“Movant Defendants”) motion for summary judgment.
(Docket Entry 40.) Plaintiff Tommy Carver has filed a
response. (Docket Entry 47.) For the reasons stated herein,
the Court will recommend that Movant Defendants' motion
for summary judgement be granted.
is a pro se prisoner of the State of North Carolina.
(Amended Complaint ¶¶ III-IV, Docket Entry 24.)
While Plaintiff has been incarcerated in Harnett Correctional
Institute since December 2017, the facts here arise from a
prior period of incarceration in Piedmont Correctional
Institute (hereinafter “Piedmont”), a facility of
the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (hereinafter
“NCDPS”). (Am. Compl. ¶ IV.)
Valliere is the Correctional Facility Administrator of
Piedmont. (Affidavit of Joseph Valliere ¶¶ 3-4,
Docket Entry 41-1.) Defendant Brown is currently an Assistant
Superintendent IV at Piedmont, and during all relevant times
served in that capacity or as a Correctional Captain.
(Affidavit od Catherine Brown ¶¶ 3-4, Docket Entry
41-2.) Defendant Williams is an Assistant Superintendent of
Programs II at Piedmont. (Affidavit of Mike Williams
¶¶ 3-4, Docket Entry 41-3.) Defendant Glover is a
Nurse Clinician I at Piedmont. (Affidavit of Susan Glover
¶¶ 3-4, Docket Entry 41-4.) Defendant Click began
working at Piedmont in March 2014 as a contract nurse, but
later was hired full-time and became a Lead Nurse. (Affidavit
of Kimberly Click ¶¶ 3-4, Docket Entry 41-5.)
Defendant Loflin is a Nurse Supervisor at Piedmont.
(Affidavit of Donna Loflin ¶¶ 3-4, Docket Entry
following facts arise from the parties' affidavits and
suffers from a number of ailments, including bilateral knee
arthritis, lumbar degenerative disk disease, cirrhosis, and
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (Affidavit of Tommy
Carver ¶ 3, Docket Entry 48.) He has received several
surgeries, including cervical fusion and rotator cuff repair.
(Id.) He suffers from chronic severe pain in his
back, shoulders, and feet. (Id.)
issue at the core of Plaintiff's claims is whether Movant
Defendants improperly withheld or failed to renew methadone
prescriptions that he had used to treat his chronic
pain. Beginning in 2010, Plaintiff was
prescribed and received methadone to treat his pain. (Carver
Aff. ¶ 13.) However, on September 26, 2014, NCDPS issued
a policy, effective October 6, 2014, requiring all provision
of methadone to outpatients to be approved by the Utilization
Review Board (hereinafter “URB”). (Ex. September
26, 2014 Urgent Memo at 1, Docket Entry 41-13.) Plaintiff
appears to have continued to receive methadone after the
commencement of that policy, though the URB twice failed in
2017 to approve requests for renewal from one of
Plaintiff's providers. (See Ex. January 23, 2017
UR Review at 2, Docket Entry 41-28; Ex. February 13, 2017 UR
Review at 2, Docket Entry 41-32.) Plaintiff thereafter was
weaned off of methadone and received other pain medication
that he states was not effective. (Ex. March 24, 2017 UR
Review at 2, Docket Entry 41-33; Carter Aff. ¶¶
commenced the instant action on October 27, 2017 by filing a
complaint. (Docket Entry 2.) Plaintiff filed an amended
complaint on January 16, 2019 against Movant Defendants as
well as several others who have not received service of
process. (See Am. Compl. ¶ I(B); Docket Entries
32, 33.) On May 30, 2019, Movant Defendants filed the instant
motion for summary judgment (Docket Entry 40) as well as an
accompanying memorandum (Docket Entry 41). Plaintiff filed a
response on September 11, 2019. (Docket Entry 47.) Movant
Defendants did not file a reply. The matter is now ripe for
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(c); Zahodnick v.
Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 135 F.3d 911, 913 (4th Cir.
1997). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial
burden of coming forward and demonstrating the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Temkin v. Frederick
County Comm'rs, 945 F.2d 716, 718 (4th Cir. 1991)
(citing Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986)). Once the moving party has met its burden, the
non-moving party must then affirmatively demonstrate that
there is a genuine issue of material fact which requires
trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). There is no issue for
trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the
non-moving party for a fact finder to return a verdict for
that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 250 (1986); Sylvia Dev. Corp. v. Calvert
County, Md., 48 F.3d 810, 817 (4th Cir. 1995). Thus, the
moving party can bear his burden either by presenting
affirmative evidence or by demonstrating that the non-moving
party's evidence is insufficient to establish his claim.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 331 (Brennan, J., dissenting).
making the summary judgment determination, the Court must
view the evidence, and all justifiable inferences from the
evidence, in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Zahodnick, 135 F.3d at 913; Halperin v.
Abacus Tech. Corp., 128 F.3d 191, 196 (4th Cir. 1997).
However, the party opposing summary judgment may not rest on
mere allegations or denials, and the court need not consider
“unsupported assertions” or “self-serving
opinions without objective ...