United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
R. Summerhays, United States District Judge.
the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 49] filed
pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
by defendants Jack Hurst, Nikki Davis, Ramona Poullard, and
Justin Deville. Defendants have also filed a Motion to Strike
[doc. 56] relating to several exhibits submitted in support
of plaintiffs opposition and plaintiff has filed a Motion to
Amend/Correct Response [doc. 60] to provide a corrected copy
of one of the objected-to exhibits. The motions relate to a
lawsuit brought by plaintiff Michael Wagner, an inmate in the
custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and
Corrections ("DOC"). Wagner, who is represented by
counsel, complains about medical care he received while
incarcerated at Allen Correctional Center ("ALC")
in Kinder, Louisiana.
allegedly injured his back in December 2015 at ALC, when
attempting to reach the top bunk on a bunkbed with no ladder.
Doc. 1, p. 3. In his complaint, he asserts as follows: He
sought care at ALC's medical unit on December 29, 2015,
where he informed the nurse that he was having lower back
pain and that his left leg felt as though it had fallen
asleep. Id. at 3-4. The nurse said he would be
referred to a nurse practitioner, but no follow-up
appointment occurred.Id. at 4. On March 24, 2016, he
returned to health services complaining of unbearable back
pain and a limp. Id. He was prescribed Motrin.
Id. He received a follow-up appointment with ALC
physician Jack Hurst on March 28, 2016, who diagnosed him
with a herniated disk, ordered an X-ray, and prescribed
naproxen and a cane. Id. at 4-5; see doc. 49, att.
6, p. 2 (X-ray request and radiologist report). Hurst failed
to follow up on his promise to order that Wagner be moved to
a dormitory closer to the cafeteria and "pill
shed," and when Wagner requested medication he was told
that none had been ordered. Doc. 1, pp. 4-6.
fell on March 31, 2016, after his leg gave out, but medical
personnel refused to transport him to the hospital.
Id. at 5-6. Instead, his naproxen prescription was
filled. Id. at 6. He returned to health services the
next day, complaining of excruciating pain, and was admitted
to the infirmary. Id. Hurst and Nurse Nikki Davis
refused to let him stay there despite excruciating pain and
had him charged with aggravated disobedience when he would
not return to his dormitory. Id. at 7-8. He returned
to the dormitory on crutches and fell again on April 14,
Id. at 8. Again, he was denied a wheelchair and trip
to the hospital. Id. Nurse Ramona Poullard told him
that his injury and pain were his fault, because he put
himself in prison, and returned him to his dorm with a
pamphlet on back pain. Id. at 8-9. ALC Health
Administrator Justin Deville contacted him shortly thereafter
about a grievance he had filed and told him he would see
about getting him a wheelchair. Id. Deville also
told him that Hurst was refusing to treat Wagner because of
his attitude. Id. at 9.
states that his pain medication was discontinued on May 5,
and that on May 7 the pain became so unbearable that he
attempted to hang himself in the shower. He continued to make
emergency sick calls over the next few days but Hurst refused
to see him. Id. at 9-10. He further alleges that he
fell twice on May 25, and made another sick call complaining
of pain the following day, but that nothing was done.
Id. at 10-11. Wagner continued to make sick calls
throughout June and July, but alleges that Hurst refused to
see him or to order a wheelchair. Id. at 11-12.
Instead, Wagner's unit captain authorized use of a trash
cart to pull Wagner around and Wagner used this method of
transport from July 6 through August 1, 2016. Id. at
medical records reflect that, on April 4, 2016, he was
examined by Hurst. Doc. 49, art. 3, p. 16. Hurst recorded
that Wagner was a "VERY difficult person to communicate
with" and ordered that he receive a CT scan and be
returned to his dorm, Id. Hurst ordered the CT scan
and an outside consult on April 6, 2016. Id. Wagner
received his CT scan on April 27, 2016. Id. at 13.
Hurst requested an outside consult with an orthopedist on May
31, 2016, noting Wagner's complaint of leg pain and
noting a diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy. Id. at
10-12. The consult was denied by the DOC on June 15 with the
explanation that back pain is part of routine primary care
and that the facility had the responsibility to obtain and
fund routine primary care. Id. at 9. On that date,
Hurst completed a referral form for the DOC Pain Management
Clinic, listing Wagner's diagnosis as suspected lumbar
radiculopathy. Id. at 7. Wagner returned to health
services on June 20, at which time he was seen by Hurst and
referred to a wellness program. Id. at 8.
employment with ALC ended on or about June 27, 2016. Doc. 49,
art. 3, p. 3. On August 1, Wagner returned to health services
and was prescribed moist heat, a walker, and ibuprofen.
Id. at 6. He was transferred to the pain management
clinic at another DOC facility on August 12, 2016, but
refused admission because he was still on suicide watch from
his May 7 attempt. Doc. 1, pp. 12-13; doc. 49, art. 3, p. 3.
Wagner complains that Poullard saw him at sick call on August
15, 2016, after he slipped in the shower, but refused to
refer him for further care. Doc. 1, pp. 13-14. He asserts
that Poullard told him to "stop crying like a
bitch," that he would receive no further care as long as
she was there, and that "that white boy needs an
attitude adjustment." Id. at 13. He also
alleges that he was told that Deville had determined he would
not receive any further treatment at ALC. Id. at
denies that she ever berated Wagner. Doc. 49, art. 4, pp.
1-2. Her records from the August 15 visit reflect that she
examined Wagner and consulted with the new ALC physician, Dr.
Chatman (who is not a party to this suit), over Wagner's
care. Id. at 4-5. Wagner was prescribed
acetaminophen for two weeks and encouraged to use an ice
pack. Id. Poullard's notes also reflect that
Chatman ordered an X-ray, despite believing there was no need
for one. Id. Wagner maintains that he continued to
suffer from his back, without treatment, until he was
transferred to David Wade Correctional Center on August 29,
2016. Doc. 1, pp. 13-14.
filed suit in this court on October 17, 2016, alleging
violation of his right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment under the Eighth Amendment and negligent medical
treatment under Louisiana tort law. As defendants he names
Deville, Hurst, Davis, and Poullard, all of whom now move for
summary judgment. Wagner opposes the motion, and defendants
move to strike several of the exhibits he uses in support of