United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
VAN MEERVELD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Howard Junior Jacks, a state inmate, filed this pro
se federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He sued Sheriff Newell Normand, Chief Monfra, Dr.
Walter Smith, Joann Johnson, Charlene Johnson, and Kelly
Harris. In this lawsuit, plaintiff claims that he was denied
proper medical care during his former confinement at the
Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.
complaint, plaintiff states his claims as follows:
In April of 2016, I started seeking medical treatment while I
started noticing steady pain to my left hand. Fearing it was
broken, I request medical to see if a X-ray could be perform
which I was denied by “L.P.N. Charlene Johnson”
solely because she personal felt I only want to see medical
to take a walk and stated “If you can move your hand
and wrist it's not broken.[”] Still in pain I
continued to complain and plead to medical and Correctional
Administration till a X-ray was ordered, but then reviewed by
“Ms. Johnson” who still said your hand is fine it
may just be stiff, and to try to work it out. Still in pain
“2 month” later I was brought to New Orleans
University Medical Center for a unrelated incident, but
informed “E.R.” staff of the long standing
condition of my hand. After a X-ray it was quickly determined
I had a broken bone in my wrist which was the cause of my
steady discomfort. Hospital staff inquired as to how long
since injurie occur. When informed of the delayed time
period, I was told because of delayed treatment and continued
usage of injurie it was highly likely bone would not heal
naturally, and most likely require future surgery which was
the result on “June 19, 2017” and that if surgery
was performed it can cause future medical problems such as
long-term joint complications, limited mobility of the wrist.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff “Newell Normand” is the
top official over Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, and
contracts the medical services provided by
“CorrectHealth.” “Chief Monfra” is
under Sheriff Normand, and acts as Correctional Centers
“warden” and administrator over all departments
in the jail. “M.D. Mr. Smith” is
“CorrectHealths” medical director for the
correctional center medical department. “Ms.
Joann”-R.N. is the departments head nurse, and reviews,
and approves needed procedures. “Charlene
Johnson”-L.P.N. is the medical provided who denied me
treatment, misdetermined results. Multiple personel was
involved at different stages of review such as sick calls
reviews, vital checks. R.N. K. Harris was working at the time
I was being seen by “Charlene
Claims Against Dr. Walter Smith,
Joann Johnson, Charlene Johnson, and Kelly
Dr. Walter Smith, Joann Johnson, Charlene Johnson,
Kelly Harris filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. However, because the defendants presented
matters outside of the complaint for the Court's
consideration, the parties were notified that the motion
would be treated as one for summary judgment pursuant to Rule
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). Plaintiff has opposed the
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court may grant
the motion when no genuine issue of material fact exists and
the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). There is no “genuine issue”
when the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the nonmovant. Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
the party moving for summary judgment bears the initial
burden of informing the district court of the basis for its
motion, and identifying those portions of the record which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Taita Chemical Co., Ltd. v.
Westlake Styrene Corp., 246 F.3d 377, 385 (5th Cir.
2001) (quotation marks and brackets omitted). The party
opposing summary judgment must then “go beyond the
pleadings and by [his] own affidavits, or by the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 324 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted);
accord Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co. v. Goel,
274 F.3d 984, 991 (5th Cir. 2001). The Court has no duty to
search the record for evidence to support a party's
opposition to summary judgment; rather, “[t]he party
opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific
evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner
in which the evidence supports his or her claim.”
Ragas v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455,
458 (5th Cir. 1998). Conclusory statements, speculation, and
unsubstantiated assertions are not competent summary judgment
evidence and will not suffice to defeat a properly supported
motion for summary judgment. Id.; Douglass v.
United Services Auto. Ass'n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1429 (5th
plaintiff alleges that he had a painful broken wrist which
went without appropriate medical treatment and, as a result,
he will suffer life-long complications. Obviously, all
inmates, regardless of whether they are pretrial detainees or
convicted prisoners, have a right to medical care in jail.
However, that right is a limited one, and an inmate's
federal constitutional right to medical care is violated only
if his “serious medical needs” are met with
“deliberate indifference” on the part of penal
authorities. See Thompson v. Upshur County, Texas,
245 F.3d 447, 457 (5th Cir. 2001); Harris v.
Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 159 (5th Cir. 1999).
United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained
that “[a] serious medical need is one for which
treatment has been recommended or for which the need is so
apparent that even laymen would recognize that care is
required.” Gobert v. Caldwell, 463 F.3d 339,
345 n.12 (5th Cir. 2006). The Fifth Circuit has held that
“non-life-threatening injuries are a serious medical
need where the injuries induced severe pain.”
Thomas v. Carter, 593 Fed. App'x 338, 342 (5th
Cir. 2014). The undersigned finds that plaintiff's broken
bone in his wrist constituted a “serious medical
need.” See Gray v. Dorning, No. 99-5212, 1999
WL 1336118, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 20, 1999) (“We find
that [plaintiff's] broken wrist constituted a serious
medical need.”); cf. Watkins v.
Lancor, 558 Fed. App'x 662, 666 (7th Cir. 2014)
(holding that an inmate alleging that he was in
“extreme pain” from a broken finger had alleged
the existence of a serious medical need); Hunt v.
Sandhir, 295 Fed. App'x 584, 586 (4th Cir. 2008) (a
“fractured elbow” which caused “terrible
pain” was a serious medical need); Brown v.
Hughes, 894 F.2d 1533, 1538 (11th Cir. 1990) (finding
that a broken foot was a serious medical need); Sears v.
Gusman, Civ. Action No. 16-2935, 2016 WL 4991539, at *2
(E.D. La. Aug. 31, 2016) (“[A] ‘broken ankle'
causing ‘severe pain' can constitute a
‘serious medical need.'”), adopted,
2016 WL 4942845 (E.D. La. Sept. 16, 2016).
in order to prevail, plaintiff must additionally show that
his serious medical need was met with deliberate
indifference. The United States Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals has explained:
Deliberate indifference is an extremely high standard to
meet. It is indisputable that an incorrect diagnosis by
prison medical personnel does not suffice to state a claim
for deliberate indifference. Rather, the plaintiff must show
that the officials refused to treat him, ignored his
complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged
in any similar conduct that would clearly evince a wanton
disregard for any serious medical needs. Furthermore, the
decision whether to provide additional treatment is a classic
example of a matter for medical judgment. And, the failure to
alleviate a significant risk that the official should have
perceived, but did not is insufficient to show deliberate
Domino v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 239
F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir. 2001) (quotation marks, brackets, and
citations omitted). “Deliberate indifference
encompasses only unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain
repugnant to the conscience of mankind.” McCormick
v. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir. 1997); see
also Stewart v. Murphy, 174 F.3d 530, 534 (5th Cir.
defendants have supplied voluminous medical records which
they contend disprove any allegation of deliberate
indifference. See Banuelos v. McFarland, 41 F.3d
232, 235 (5th Cir. 1995) (“Medical records of sick
calls, examinations, diagnoses, and medications may rebut an
inmate's allegations of deliberate indifference.”).
Those records reveal:
(1) Plaintiff was seen by Nurse Charlene Johnson on March 21,
2016, complaining of back pain and limited range of motion in
his left hand. Although he was provided with diagnostic
testing for his back problem, such testing
apparently was not ordered with respect to his hand
problem - a fact consistent with plaintiff's
assertion that Johnson believed that the hand was not broken.
(2) On May 22, 2016, plaintiff was again examined, his left
hand and wrist were swollen, and he was prescribed pain
(3) For reasons not readily apparent from the records,
plaintiff was transported to a hospital emergency room on
June 12, 2016. During that emergency room visit, an x-ray
apparently revealed that he had a fractured bone in his
wrist, and his wrist was put in a cast.
(4) Later that month, plaintiff was transferred to East
(5) Plaintiff was subsequently transferred back to Jefferson
Parish. On March 21, 2017, the intake screening record noted
“broke thumb bone to wrist of left hand, six months,
” and he was examined the following
(6) On March 27, 2017, plaintiff submitted a request for
medical services complaining that he had been transferred
back to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with a
broken wrist and was not ...