United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report
has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen
(14) days after being served with the attached Report to file
written objections to the proposed findings of fact,
conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to
file written objections to the proposed findings,
conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being
served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from
attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual
findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which
have been accepted by the District Court.
NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN
OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed on behalf of defendant Dr. Rani Whitfield (R.
Doc. 184). This Motion is opposed. See R. Doc.
pro se plaintiff, an inmate previously confined at
the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison (“EBRPP”),
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against numerous defendants alleging that
is constitutional rights were violated due to deliberate
indifference to his health and serious medical conditions.
Defendant Dr. Rani Whitfield now moves for summary judgment
relying upon the pleadings, a Statement of Undisputed Facts,
the plaintiff's responses to discovery requests, and Dr.
Whitfield's affidavit. The plaintiff opposes the
defendant's Motion relying upon the pleadings, and a
Statement of Undisputed Facts.
to well-established legal principles, summary judgment is
appropriate where there is no genuine disputed issue as to
any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56, Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
(1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242 (1986). A party moving for summary judgment must inform
the Court of the basis for the motion and identify those
portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories and admissions on file, together with
affidavits, if any, that show that there is no such genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
supra, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party carries
its burden of proof under Rule 56, the opposing party must
direct the Court's attention to specific evidence in the
record which demonstrates that the non-moving party can
satisfy a reasonable jury that it is entitled to a verdict in
its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
supra, 477 U.S. at 248. This burden is not satisfied
by some metaphysical doubt as to alleged material facts, by
unsworn and unsubstantiated assertions, by conclusory
allegations, or by a mere scintilla of evidence. Little
v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994). Rather, Rule 56 mandates that summary judgment be
entered against a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case and on which that party will bear
the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, supra, 477 U.S. at 323. Summary
judgment is appropriate in any case where the evidence is so
weak or tenuous on essential facts that the evidence could
not support a judgment in favor of the non-moving party.
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., supra, 37 F.3d
at 1075. In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the
Court must review the facts and inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, and the Court may not
evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or
resolve factual disputes. International Shortstop, Inc.
v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263
(5th Cir. 1991).
Complaint, the plaintiff alleges the following with regards
to Dr. Whitfield: Due to overcrowding at the EBRPP, the
plaintiff was temporarily housed at the Pine Prairie
Correctional Center (“PPCC”) between August 20,
2013 and February 4, 2014. While housed at PPCC, the
plaintiff was forced to consume water that was contaminated
with unsafe levels of arsenic, as evidenced by an EPA
notification posted at PPCC. The plaintiff exhibited
persistent cold symptoms, and on or about February 4, 2014,
the plaintiff noticed a lump in his left calf. The lump was
evaluated by a doctor at PPCC but no testing or treatment was
provided. The plaintiff was diagnosed with a blood clot. The
plaintiff was subsequently transferred back to the EBRPP, and
on February 17, 2014 the plaintiff was seen by defendant Dr.
Whitfield. The plaintiff was returned to his cell without any
tests, lab work, or treatment being performed. Dr. Whitfield
knew that EBRPP prisoners were being exposed to contaminated
water at PPCC and that PPCC had been fined by the
Environmental Protection Agency due to the same, but failed
to order tests, lab work and provide treatment in order to
avoid the costs of his care.
September of 2014, the plaintiff lost vision in his right
eye. On October 3, 2014, the plaintiff sought treatment due
to several painful and discolored lumps on his legs, arms,
back, stomach and chest. The plaintiff was examined by
defendant Dr. Whitfield on October 13, 2014. Dr. Whitfield
ordered lab work which later revealed that the
plaintiff's white blood count was extremely high. The
plaintiff was transported to Tulane University Medical Center
on November 4, 2014 and the plaintiff was diagnosed with
chronic myelogenous leukemia (“CML”) on November
plaintiff asserts that Dr. Whitfield's failure to order
basic lab work or tests for eight months constitutes medical
malpractice and deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs, evidenced by the intentional denial of testing
and treatment undertaken to avoid the astronomical costs
associated with cancer treatment. The plaintiff further
asserts that the delay in care eliminated available early
treatments by the time the cancer was finally diagnosed in
November of 2014.
response to the plaintiff's Complaint, defendant Dr.
Whitfield contends in the instant motion that the plaintiff
cannot meet his burden of proof at trial with regards to his
claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs
asserted against Dr. Whitfield. Specifically, the defendant
contends that the plaintiff has failed to present facts
sufficient to show that the defendant has violated the
plaintiff's constitutional rights through deliberate
indifference to the plaintiff's serious medical needs.
prison official violates the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment if the official
shows deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious
medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
103-06 (1976). The official must “know[ ] of and
disregard[ ] an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety” and “be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists”. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
837 (1994). The official also must draw that inference.
treatments, negligence, and medical malpractice are
insufficient to give rise to a claim of deliberate
indifference. Gobert v. Caldwell, 463 F.3d 339, 346
(5th Cir. 2006). A prisoner who disagrees with the course of
treatment or alleges that he should have received further
treatment also does not raise a claim of deliberate
indifference. Domino v. Tex. Dep't of Criminal
Justice, 239 F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir. 2001). Instead, an
inmate must show that prison officials denied him treatment,
purposefully provided him improper treatment, or ignored his
medical complaints. Id. A delay in treatment may
violate the Eighth Amendment if the delay was the result of