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Noel v. Liu

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

August 30, 2013

PATRICK NOEL, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. SIJIA LIU et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, Senior District Judge.

Before the Court is the summary-judgment motion filed by Defendant Beehler (DN 46). For the following reasons, that motion will be granted.

I. FACTS

Plaintiff is currently an inmate at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex (LLCC). Previously, he was housed at the Roederer Correctional Complex (RCC). He sued, among other Defendants, Brenda Beehler, whom he identified as the RCC nurse administrator, in her individual and official capacities.

Plaintiff alleged that in August 2011, while housed at RCC, he filled out a sick-call slip requesting medical attention for his right eye. He stated that RCC "medical" indicated that he would be seen by an eye doctor. After several more days, he was taken to the eye clinic at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR), was given some eye ointment, and told he had an eye infection. He alleged that, starting on August 29, 2011, RCC medical staff applied the ointment to both his eyes when it had been prescribed for only one eye. He alleged that on or about September 6, 2011, he "experienced a big massive flash of light in [his] left eye." He went to "medical" and the nurse said that she did not know what that meant but she stopped the use of the ointment. He stated that he was taken to the eye doctor the next day. While at the KSR eye clinic, KSR staff arranged to have him taken to the Bennet & Bloom Eye Center within one and one-half hours, where he was scheduled for eye surgery the following Tuesday. He stated that he has lost all sight in his left eye because Defendants prescribed him the wrong medication and applied it incorrectly. He also alleged that he will lose sight in his right eye if prompt treatment is not provided.

II. ANALYSIS

Summary-judgment standard

Summary judgment is proper "if 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(a). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

The moving party's burden may be discharged by demonstrating that there is an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the nonmoving party's case for which he or she has the burden of proof. Id. Once the moving party demonstrates this lack of evidence, the burden passes to the nonmoving party to establish, after an adequate opportunity for discovery, the existence of a disputed factual element essential to his case with respect to which he bears the burden of proof. Id. If the record taken as a whole could not lead the trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, the motion for summary judgment should be granted. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).

Where the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, "a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The nonmoving party must do more than raise some doubt as to the existence of a fact; the nonmoving party must produce evidence that would be sufficient to require submission of the issue to the jury. Lucas v. Leaseway Multi Transp. Serv., Inc., 738 F.Supp. 214, 217 (E.D. Mich. 1990). The moving party, therefore, is "entitled to a judgment as a matter of law because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of [his] case with respect to which [he] has the burden of proof." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

Defendant Beehler's motion

Defendant Beehler, who is identified by Plaintiff in the complaint as RCC's nurse administrator, argues that she was not serving as the Nurse Service Administrator at RCC at the time of Plaintiff's incarceration there and she had no knowledge of his issues until he filed a grievance in April 2012. She states that her employment as the Nurse Service Administrator at RCC ended three weeks before Plaintiff arrived there. She further argues that no Eighth Amendment violation occurred since Plaintiff was seen by medical personnel, was prescribed medication, and was seen by an eye expert. She also argues that she is entitled to qualified immunity and that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.

Defendant Beehler attaches various medical records relating to Plaintiff. None of those records shows that he received any medical attention from her. She also attaches her affidavit. She avers that she has not worked as the Nurse Service Administrator at RCC since July 1, 2011; instead, at that time she began working as Acting Nurse Executive for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Her duties included attending meetings throughout Kentucky and serving on the Health Care Grievance Committee. She avers that another nurse was appointed to assume her duties as Acting Nurse Service Administrator at RCC. She also ...


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