United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robinson is a prisoner at the Federal Correctional
Institution (FCI) in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without
a lawyer, Robinson filed a complaint alleging that, after he
injured his ankle in July 2016, medical officials at the
prison provided him with legally inadequate medical care.
(Doc. # 1).
Court conducted an initial screening of Robinson's
complaint and dismissed some of his claims. That said, the
Court permitted Robinson to proceed on his claims against
Health Services Administrator (HSA) Angel Wilson and
Registered Nurse (RN) Randy Jackson in their individual
capacities. Robinson claims that these Defendants displayed
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and,
thus, violated his Eighth Amendment right not to have cruel
and unusual punishment inflicted upon him. The Court also
allowed Robinson to proceed on his Federal Tort Claims Act
(FTCA) claim against the United States of America. (Doc. #
Defendants responded to Robinson's Complaint by filing a
Motion to Dismiss his claims or, in the alternative, a Motion
for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 22). Ordinarily, Robinson would
have been required to file a response to the Defendants'
motion within 21 days. See Local Rule 7.1(c).
However, given Robinson's pro se status, the Court
extended that deadline. The Court ordered Robinson to file
his response to the Defendants' motion within 30 days,
and it specifically warned him that if he failed to do so,
the Court may dismiss his case. (Doc. # 23 at 2). Despite the
Court's warning, more than 60 days have now passed, and
Robinson still has not responded to the Defendants'
dispositive motion. This matter is now ripe for a decision.
initial matter, the Court will treat the Defendants'
motion as one for summary judgment because they have attached
and relied upon documents and declarations extrinsic to the
pleadings. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d); Wysocki v.
Int'l Bus. Mach. Corp., 607 F.3d 1102, 1104 (6th
Cir. 2010). Notably, when, as here, the nonmoving party
decides not to file a response, the Court still holds
“the moving party to the burden established by the
plain language of Rule 56.” Guarino v. Brookfield
Twp. Trustees, 980 F.2d 399, 410 (6th Cir. 1992). In
other words, the Court “cannot grant summary judgment
in favor of the movant simply because the adverse party has
not responded.” Carver v. Bunch, 946 F.2d 451,
455 (6th Cir. 1991). Instead, the Court “is required,
at a minimum, to examine the movant's motion for summary
judgment to ensure he has discharged [his] burden.”
Id. That said, the Court may “rely on the
moving party's unrebutted recitation of the evidence, or
pertinent portions thereof, in reaching a conclusion that
certain evidence and inferences from the evidence demonstrate
facts which are uncontroverted.” Guarino, 980
F.2d at 410 (internal quotation marks omitted).
this standard, the Court will not restate Robinson's
medical history at FCI Manchester. Instead, the Court will
rely on the Defendants' unrebutted recitation of the
evidence, which is clearly laid out in their dispositive
motion, see (Doc. # 22-1 at 6-11), and turn to its
analysis of Robinson's claims.
first asserts Eighth Amendment deliberate-indifference claims
against HSA Wilson and RN Jackson. Such a claim has two
components: one objective and one subjective. Johnson v.
Karnes, 398 F.3d 868, 874 (6th Cir. 2005). To satisfy
the objective component, the plaintiff must allege a
sufficiently serious medical need. Id. To satisfy
the subjective component, the plaintiff must allege facts
which “show that the official being sued subjectively
perceived facts from which to infer substantial risk to the
prisoner, that he did in fact draw the inference, and that he
then disregarded that risk.” Id. (quoting
Comstock v. McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 703 (6th Cir.
2001)). Here, even if the Court assumes that Robinson has
alleged a sufficiently serious medical need, he has not
demonstrated that either HSA Wilson or RN Jackson acted with
the culpable state of mind required to satisfy the subjective
component of a deliberate-indifference claim.
respect to HSA Wilson, the unrebutted evidence she submits
shows that she manages and directs the administrative
activities of a team of healthcare professionals at the
prison. See (Doc. # 22-12 at 1-2). However, this
same evidence also establishes that she neither treated
Robinson nor was directly involved in making decisions about
his medical care. See Id. at 2; (Doc. # 22-10).
Ultimately, since liability in a civil-rights action cannot
be based solely on a theory of respondeat superior and,
instead, must be premised on the personal involvement of the
named defendant, see Moore v. U.S. Dep't of
Agric., No. 6:14-cv-114-DLB, 2015 WL 65182, *3 (E.D. Ky.
2015) (internal citations omitted), Robinson's
Eighth-Amendment claim against HSA Wilson is simply
true that Robinson alleges in his complaint that HSA Wilson
“fail[ed] to timely respond to [his] serious medical
need.” (Doc. # 1 at 7). Specifically, Robinson alleges
that he complained about his ankle to HSA Wilson during the
afternoon meal on July 26, 2016, and, “[a]t that time,
. . . Wilson told me to return to the housing unit and come
to sick call the next day.” Id. at 5. Robinson
then claims that, the next day, he “hobbled to Health
Services with the aid of another prisoner.”
Id. HSA Wilson's sworn declaration, however,
contradicts Robinson's allegations, see (Doc. #
22-12 at 2), and HSA Wilson's other evidence makes it
clear that Robinson reported to the prison's Health
Services Department just five minutes after he allegedly hurt
his ankle on July 26, 2016, and, at that time, a nurse
assessed him, scheduled him for an x-ray, and gave him
crutches. (Doc. # 22-8 at 2). Thus, despite Robinson's
allegations to the contrary, the evidence in the record shows
that HSA Wilson was not responsible for a delay in his
treatment or otherwise deliberately indifferent to his
medical needs. Thus, the Court will grant HSA Wilson's
motion for summary judgment.
has also not established that RN Jackson acted with
deliberate indifference to his medical needs. To be sure,
Robinson alleges that, on July 27, 2016, RN Jackson
“threatened to have me placed in the hole (a.k.a.
Special Housing Unit/SHU) if I had someone else call Health
Services or if I came back to Health Services again
concerning my right ankle.” (Doc. # 1 at 5-6). However,
RN Jackson moves for summary judgment and, in support his
motion, he puts forth a sworn declaration which directly
contradicts Robinson's bare allegation. (Doc. # 22-11 at
1-2). Indeed, RN Jackson specifically states that he did not
threaten Robinson for seeking medical services for his ankle,
was not involved in treating Robinson on July 26 or 27, 2016,
and did not even find out about Robinson's ankle injury
until September 1, 2016, after other medical professionals
examined Robinson and treated his ankle on multiple
occasions. See Id. RN Jackson also submits other
evidence which further indicates that he first examined
Robinson on September 1, 2016, see (Doc. # 22-8 at
3); (Doc. # 22-10 at 22), and there is no evidence in the
record that Robinson was ever punished for seeking medical
light of RN Jackson's summary judgment motion and
supporting evidence, Robinson “cannot rest on [his]
pleadings but must come forward with some probative evidence
to support [his] claim.” Lansing Dairy, Inc. v.
Epsy, 39 F.3d 1339, 1347 (6th Cir. 1994); see also
United States v. WRW Corp., 986 F.2d 138, 143 (6th Cir.
1993) (“A trial court is not required to speculate on
which portion of the record the non-moving party relies, nor
is there an obligation to ‘wade through' the record
for specific facts.”). Robinson, however, did not file
any response whatsoever. Ultimately, the Court has fully
examined RN Jackson's Motion for Summary Judgment and
supporting evidence, and it is clear he has discharged his
burden. Therefore, the Court will grant RN Jackson's
Motion for Summary Judgment.
Robinson has also not made out a FTCA claim against the
United States. Robinson claims that the prison staff provided
him with medical care that fell below the applicable standard
of care and caused his injuries, and therefore the United
States is liable pursuant to the FTCA. Robinson cannot,
however, survive the Defendants' Motion for Summary
FTCA does not create liability, it merely waives
sovereign immunity to the extent that state-law would impose
liability on a ‘private individual in similar
circumstances.”' Myers v. U.S., 17 F.3d
890, 899 (6th Cir. 1994) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2674).
Here, because the United States would not be liable under
Kentucky law, Robinson has not made out a FTCA claim that
would survive a motion for summary judgment. Under Kentucky
law, a plaintiff is generally required to put forth expert
testimony to establish the relevant standard of care, any
breach of that standard, causation, and the resulting injury.
See Blankenship v. Collier, 302 S.W.3d 665, 667, 675
(Ky. 2010); Jackson v. Ghayoumi, 419 S.W.3d 40, 45
(Ky. Ct. App. 2012). Moreover, the Kentucky courts have
clearly said that, “[t]o survive a motion for summary
judgment in a medical malpractice case in which a medical
expert is required, the plaintiff must produce expert
evidence or summary judgment is proper.” Andrew v.
Begley, 203 S.W.3d 165, 170 (Ky. Ct. App. 2006). Here,
Robinson has not provided any expert testimony and, thus, he
has failed to establish a prima facie case of medical
Court recognizes that there is a “common
knowledge” exception to the expert witness rule. This
exception provides that, under certain limited circumstances,
expert testimony may not be required in a medical malpractice
case. See Id. That exception only applies in a
situation in which “any layman is competent to pass
judgment and conclude from common experience that such things
do not happen if there has been proper skill and care,
” and it is “illustrated by ...