United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
CHARLES L. POWELL, Jr. PLAINTIFF
LEA HUMPHREY DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKINLEY, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the motion for summary judgment (DN 54) filed by
the only remaining Defendant in this action, Lea Humphrey.
Plaintiff Charles L. Powell, Jr., did not file a response.
Court by Order (DN 56) gave Plaintiff additional time to file
a response as well as guidance in responding to a motion for
summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
Plaintiff then asked for an extension of time to respond,
which this Court granted (DN 59). Plaintiff again did not
file a response. Instead, shortly after the 30-day period for
a response expired, Plaintiff filed another motion for
extension of time (DN 60), this time stating that he needed
additional time to find a lawyer because Henderson County
Detention Center (HCDC) does not have a legal aide. The Court
denied the motion for extension of time, noting that nothing
had prevented Plaintiff from seeking to engage counsel in the
over two years that this case has been pending; that the
Court had warned in its prior Order that further extensions
of time would not be granted; that in the approximately two
months since he filed his motion, no counsel had entered an
appearance for Plaintiff; and that Plaintiff still had not
responded to the summary-judgment motion filed over six
months earlier. The Court now takes the pending
summary-judgment motion under consideration.
complaint, Plaintiff alleged in pertinent part that he had
been denied pain and high blood pressure medication and a
medical mat while he was incarcerated at HCDC. Defendant
Humphrey was a nurse with Southern Health Partners employed
summary-judgment motion, Defendant Humphrey asserts that she
has reviewed Plaintiff's sick-call slips and affidavits
provided by Plaintiff which involve her. She argues that
based on these records there are no facts that Plaintiff
could bring forward to support his constitutional claim of
inadequate medical treatment.
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
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).
Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from the
“unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” U.S.
Const. amend. VIII. An Eighth Amendment claim requires a
plaintiff to prove two distinct components - one objective
and one subjective. First, the alleged deprivation must be,
objectively, “sufficiently serious, ”
i.e., the “official's act or omission must
result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities.” Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (citations and internal quotation
marks omitted). Second, the official must have been
“deliberately indifferent” to the inmate's
health or safety. Id.
pain and high blood pressure can be a “sufficiently
serious” medical need for purposes of a deliberate
indifference claim. See Boretti v. Wiscomb, 930 F.2d
1150, 1154-55 (6th Cir. 1991) (recognizing that “a
prisoner who suffers pain needlessly when relief is readily
available has a cause of action against those whose
deliberate indifference is the cause of his
suffering”); Hensley v. Dugger, No.
2:13-CV-76-JRG-DHI, 2014 WL 6982397, at *5 (E.D. Tenn. Dec.
10, 2014) (“A prisoner's heart problems, high blood
pressure, usage of a C-pap machine (presumably used to treat
a breathing disorder such as sleep apnea), and bowel
obstruction constitute serious medical needs.”).
second and subjective component of the Farmer test
is met “where a plaintiff demonstrates that prison
officials acted with ‘deliberate indifference' to a
serious medical need, ” which “is the equivalent
of ‘recklessly disregarding that risk.'”
McCarthy v. Place, 313 F.App'x 810, 814 (6th
Cir. 2008) (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 836). In
other words, “[s]atisfying the objective component
ensures that the alleged deprivation is sufficiently severe,
while satisfying the subjective component ‘ensures that
the defendant prison official acted with a sufficiently
culpable state of mind.'” Quigley v. Thai,
707 F.3d 675, 681 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Smith v.
Carpenter, 316 F.3d 178, 183-84 (2d Cir. 2003)).
Humphrey argues that Plaintiff received “thorough
medical treatment, medication, and prompt responses to all of
his complaints every time” he filled out a sick-call
slip. She further argues that “the majority of these
requests were addressed by non-party medical providers”
and that medical records show that Plaintiff “was
regularly refusing medications, hoarding medications,
exhibiting hostility ...