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Hollyfield v. Hurst

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

May 13, 2019


         SECTION P




         Before the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 27] filed pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by defendants Jack Hurst, Justin Deville, and Porchea Jackson. This motion is filed in response to the lawsuit brought by plaintiff Richard Hollyfield, an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (“DOC”). Hollyfield, who is represented by counsel, complains about medical care he received while incarcerated.



         Hollyfield complains about medical care received during his incarceration at Allen Correctional Center (“ACC”), from May 31 to September 18, 2016. Doc. 15. Specifically, he alleges that he was injured on May 13, 2016, when a medical resident at the University of New Orleans Medical Center “grabbed his scrotum during a medical examination for a hernia repair issue and crushed it.” Doc. 34 at 7. On May 31, he was transferred from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center to ACC. Id. At ACC, medical staff discontinued the pain medication prescribed by his surgeon even though Hollyfield repeatedly complained of pain and requested that the surgeon's orders be followed. Doc. 15 at 3. Medical staff also refused to provide the scrotal device prescribed by Hollyfield's surgeon in May 2016 to prevent further injury, until July 29, 2016. Id. at 3-4. Hollyfield requested to be moved to a dormitory closer to the cafeteria because of the pain he experienced while walking. Id. at 4. ACC physician Jack Hurst and ACC health services administrator Justin Deville refused this request, and Hurst told Hollyfield he “would have more than just his nuts hurting” if he brought it up again. Id. Hollyfield states that he made several sick calls through the month of June relating to the pain he was experiencing, but that Hurst and Nurse Porchea Jackson refused to see him even though his unit captain supported his claim of severe pain and need for medical assistance. Id. at 4-7. Hollyfield maintains that ACC medical personnel refused to treat his pain or otherwise give medical attention for the remainder of his time at that facility. Id. at 7-8.

         Hollyfield's medical records show that he was assessed by Hurst on May 31 and June 2, 2016. Doc. 27, att. 4, pp. 2-14. As a result of those assessments Hurst created a Chronic Care Treatment Plan for Hollyfield, which included a referral to psychiatry. Id. at 14. Hurst discontinued Hollyfield's Neurontin prescription but renewed other medications and prescribed a support device, which Hollyfield filled on June 4, 2016. Id. at 6, 14, 56-57. Following sick calls made by Hollyfield on June 7 and 8, 2016, Hurst also prescribed a 30-day course of naproxen for pain relief starting on June 8. Id. at 17-18, 22, 58. Hollyfield made further sick calls complaining of pain on June 9, in response to which a chest X-ray was ordered, and June 30, in response to which Hollyfield was prescribed ice packs and Tylenol. Id. at 23-28. Hollyfield made another sick call for testicular pain on July 17. Id. at 30. The nurse who examined him noted some swelling to one testicle, ordered a course of Motrin, and referred Hollyfield to the physician for evaluation of his chronic complaint. Id. at 30-31. Hollyfield saw the physician, Dr. Chatman, on July 19. Id. at 32. Chatman granted Hollyfield's request for another kind of support device, made a referral for a urology consult, and ordered another course of naproxen.[1] Id. at 32-34. Hollyfield made sick calls on July 31 and August 3, still complaining of testicular pain. Id. at 35-36. At the second visit Chatman noted that Hollyfield might be better served by a transfer, given the limited options for treating his pain at ACC. Id. at 36. He was taken to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (“EHCC”) for a consult at their surgical clinic on August 8, after which a course of ibuprofen was prescribed, and ACC personnel completed a medical transfer request for him on August 15. Id. at 40-44. Hollyfield was transferred to Robert LaSalle Correctional Center on or around September 19, 2016. See doc. 1, p. 1 (complaint); doc. 27, att. 4, pp. 52-53 (medical records transfer and DOC email about EHCC follow-up appointment).

         After unsuccessfully pursuing administrative remedies against ACC personnel, Hollyfield filed suit in this Court on January 18, 2017, against Hurst, Jackson, and Deville. Doc. 1. He alleges violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and negligent medical care under Louisiana law. The defendants now move for summary judgment.


         Legal Standards

         A court should grant a motion for summary judgment when the movant shows “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The party moving for summary judgment is initially responsible for identifying portions of pleadings and discovery that show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Tubacex, Inc. v. M/V Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1995). The court must deny the motion for summary judgment if the movant fails to meet this burden. Id.

         If the movant makes this showing, however, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (quotations omitted). This requires more than mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings. Instead, the nonmovant must submit “significant probative evidence” in support of his claim. State Farm Life Ins. Co. v. Gutterman, 896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th Cir. 1990). “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations omitted).

         A court may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence in ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). The court is also required to view all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Clift v. Clift, 210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). Under this standard, a genuine issue of material fact exists if a ...

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