United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
EDWARD B. ATKINS, Magistrate Judge.
This matter has been referred to the undersigned to manage discovery and to enter a report and recommendation on any dispositive motions. [R. 34]. The matter is currently before the undersigned on the pro se Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 32], and the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 30]. For the reasons stated herein, it is recommended that the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 32] be DENIED and the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 30] be GRANTED.
II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Plaintiff, Charles Edward Adams, Jr. ("Adams"), is federal inmate currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Canaan, in Waymart, Pennsylvania. [R. 1]. The Plaintiff is serving a forty eight month sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1513(b)(2), retaliating against a witness. [R. 45]. Prior to his incarceration at Canaan, he was incarcerated at the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Detention Center ("Fayette County Detention Center"). This action arises from an incident that occurred at the Fayette County Detention Center on December 8, 2012, when Plaintiff slipped and fell on a slick spot on the floor of a common area, causing him to chip his tooth. [R. 1]. Plaintiff alleges that the wet floor should have had a posted warning sign. Id. at 1-2.
After his slip and fall, Plaintiff claims that he informed the unit officer of the accident. Id . The officer then contacted the medical department, filled out an incident report and advised the Plaintiff to fill out a "sick call slip." [Rs. 1, 35-1]. Approximately one week later, the Plaintiff was seen by the medical staff and was told by the attending dentist that nothing could be done about his chipped tooth because the facility was not equipped to handle cosmetic dental work. [R. 1 at 2-3]. Plaintiff claims that he filed numerous grievances were filed, yet was consistently told that no cosmetic dental work was available. Id. at 3.
On May 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky against the Jailer, Head of the Medical Department, Inmate Service Counselor, Captain, Fayette County Detention Center, and the U.S. Marshal Service for negligence and violations of his Due Process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments along with violations of his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. [R. 1].
On October 28, 2013, the Court dismissed all parties, except for the Head of Medical, Gary Blair, the Inmate Service Counselor, Rosita Rodriguez, the Fayette County Detention Center, and the Captain, Robert Simpson. [R. 9]. The order further stated that these named individuals could only be sued in their individual capacities and not as representatives of the detention center. Id. at 8. On June 25, 2014, the Defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that the Plaintiff's claims did not amount to a deprivation of rights and even so, they are entitled to qualified immunity. [R. 30]. On November 21, 2014, the Plaintiff filed his own motion for summary judgment. [R. 32]. Now ripe for consideration, the Court will examine each claim on its merits.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Also, the trial court is not required to "search the entire record to establish that it is bereft of a genuine issue of material fact." Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1479-80 (6th Cir. 1989). Having reviewed the record, and the pleadings submitted by the Plaintiff, and the moving Defendants, the Court finds that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the Plaintiff's claims.
A. Defendants are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff has failed to establish a question of fact regarding an Eighth Amendment violation.
Defendants are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff has failed to show that a question of fact exists regarding whether the conditions at the Fayette County Detention Center rise to the level of a an Eighth Amendment violation. Eighth Amendment claims challenging conditions of confinement are subject to a two-part test, containing an objective component, as well as a subjective component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). To succeed on a claim under the Eighth Amendment, a plaintiff must show that there was a serious medical need and the prison official, subjectively, had a "sufficiently culpable state of mind." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Here, the record fails to show that a question of fact exists regarding either the objective and subjective components.
1. Plaintiff's chipped tooth is not a sufficiently serious medical condition to satisfy the objective component of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim.
Viewing the evidence before the Court in the light most favorable to Plaintiff and accepting his factual allegations as true, Plaintiff has failed to establish that his chipped tooth was a sufficiently serious medical condition, which failure to remedy, would constitute a violation his Eighth Amendment rights. As noted above, the objective component of the deliberate indifference standard requires "the existence of a sufficiently serious medical need." Blackmore v. Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 895 (6th Cir. 2004). When an Eighth Amendment claim is based on an obvious medical need that has been "left completely untreated, the delay alone in providing medical care creates a substantial risk of serious harm.'" Cobbs v. Pramstaller, 475 F.Appx. 575, 580 (6th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). By contrast, when an Eighth Amendment claim is "based on a prison's failure to treat a condition adequately ... a plaintiff must ...