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Mullins v. Johnston

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah

March 21, 2018

RUSSELL B. MULLINS, PLAINTIFF
v.
MATTHEW JOHNSTON, et al., DEFENDANTS

          Russell B. Mullins, pro se

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THOMAS B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter comes before the Court on Johnston's[1] Motion for Summary Judgment, filed on August 18, 2017. [R. 23.] On October 16, 2017, after Mullins had not responded, the Court published an order allowing him thirty more days to respond. [R. 26 at 2.] The Court also stated: “Should Plaintiff fail to file a response within the time allotted, the Court will take the motion under consideration without the benefit of Plaintiff's response.” [Id.] Five months later, the Court has still not received a response from Mullins. Thus, the Court will now take the Motion for Summary Judgment under consideration without the benefit of Mullins's response. For the reasons stated herein, Johnston's Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 23], is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Russell Mullins arrived at Christian County Jail as an inmate in January of 2016. [R. 7 at 4 (Amended Complaint).][2] On January 27, 2016, Mullins submitted a Sick Call Request Form, in which he requested diabetes and heart medications, as well as lotion for a vein issue with his left leg. [R. 23-2 at 1 (Sick Call Request Form).] Johnston submitted a Medical Progress Note, dated January 28, 2016, detailing what appears to be a visit by a nurse, [3] in which Mullins's blood pressure, pulse and temperature were recorded and the nurse confirmed his need for insulin, lotion, and other medications. [R. 23-3 (Medical Progress Note).] The form is signed by Matthew P. Johnston as the practitioner. [Id.]

         Mullins claims that Matthew Johnston has not given him a physical or performed blood work since Mullins first came to Christian County Jail in January of 2016. [R. 7 at 4.] Mullins states that both of these procedures are necessary for treating his type 2 diabetes. [Id.] Mullins recounts that on four different occasions, May 11, 2016, September 23, 2016, November 24, 2016, and December 24, 2016, his blood sugar levels fell to a life threatening range after he was administered “high dosages of R (rapid) type insulin” in the morning and sent back to his cell without being monitored afterwards. [Id. at 4-5.] Mullins states that Johnston never examined him after any of these incidents. [Id.]

         The Medication Log Forms and Medication Administration Records submitted by Johnston detail a procedure in which Mullins was seen twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. [See, e.g., R. 23-5 (January/February Medication Log Form); R. 23-6 (Medication Administration Records).] If Mullins allowed it, his blood sugar was tested and he was administered insulin and other medications. [Id.] According to the jail's records, Mullins refused either to have his blood sugar checked or to be administered a dose of insulin on many occasions from March of 2016 to January of 2017, including the morning of November 24, 2016, [R. 23-16 at 25 (November Refusal of Treatment Form)].[4] As of March of 2017, Mullins is no longer imprisoned at Christian County Jail. [R. 14 at 1 (Notice of Change of Address).]

         On January 30, 2017, Mullins filed a pro se, verified, Amended Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in which he made a claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. [R. 7.] On August 18, 2017, Johnston filed the Motion for Summary Judgment that is before the Court. [R. 23.]

         STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals “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). A genuine dispute of material fact exists where “there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court “may not make credibility determinations nor weigh the evidence when determining whether an issue of fact remains for trial.” Laster v. City of Kalamazoo, 746 F.3d 714, 726 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259 F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir. 2001); Ahlers v. Schebil, 188 F.3d 365, 369 (6th Cir. 1999)). “The ultimate question is ‘whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.'” Back v. Nestlé USA, Inc., 694 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52).

         As the party moving for summary judgment, the defendant must shoulder the burden of showing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact as to at least one essential element of the plaintiff's claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). Assuming the defendant satisfies his or her burden of production, the plaintiff “must-by deposition, answers to interrogatories, affidavits, and admissions on file-show specific facts that reveal a genuine issue for trial.” Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324).

         DISCUSSION

         Johnston provides three different reasons for why the Court should grant his Motion for Summary Judgment: First, Johnston argues that Mullins's claims are barred by the PLRA because he did not exhaust all available administrative remedies before he filed this action. [R. 23-1 at 4.] Second, Johnston argues that Mullins's claims are also barred by the PLRA because he did not identify a physical injury. [Id.] Lastly, Johnston argues that summary judgment should be granted because Mullins's Eighth Amendment rights have not been violated due to deliberate indifference by Johnston. [Id.][5] The Court will address each argument in turn.

         A. ...


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