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Daugherty v. KSP Medical Department

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

December 21, 2018


          William J. Daugherty, pro se



         This matter is before the Court on Defendants Correct Care Solutions and Dr. Shastine Tangilag's (“Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 60]. Plaintiff William Daugherty responded, [R. 64], and Defendants replied, [R. 66]. Fully briefed, this matter is now ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 60], is GRANTED.


         Plaintiff Daugherty alleges that on November 22, 2015, he heard that Dr. Tangilag “did not see color inmates or Hispanic inmates . . . only Cacaucasions [sic] . . ..” [R. 17 at 6 (Third Amended Complaint).] That day, Daugherty alleges that he went to see Dr. Tangilag on account of issues with his diabetes, but Dr. Tangilag would not see him. [Id.] In its previous Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court interpreted this as a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim against Dr. Tangilag in both her official and individual capacities. [R. 21 at 8.] Though, the Court noted that Daugherty's official-capacity claim is actually against her employer, Correct Care Solutions. [Id. at 9.] Subsequently, Defendants CCS and Dr. Tangilag filed the Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 60], that is currently before the Court.


         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).

         Additionally, the Court acknowledges that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The duty to be less stringent with pro se complainants, however, “does not require [the Court] to conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir.1979) (citation omitted), nor to create a claim for a pro se plaintiff, Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir.1975).

         Finally, it should be noted that “‘a verified complaint . . . satisfies the burden of the nonmovant to respond' to a motion for summary judgment, unlike ‘mere allegations or denials' in unverified pleadings.” King v. Harwood, 852 F.3d 568, 578 (6th Cir. 2017) (quoting Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 385 (6th Cir. 1999)) (en banc).


         Defendants' make four arguments in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment: (1) Daugherty failed to exhaust administrative remedies, (2) Daugherty's Fourteenth Amendment rights were not violated, (3) Daugherty's claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and (4) Dr. Tangilag and CCS are immune from suit in their official capacity. [See generally R. 60-1 (Summary Judgment Memorandum).] The Court agrees that Daugherty failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Even if Daugherty exhausted the available administrative remedies, the Court finds that Daugherty still failed to show that the Defendants purposefully discriminated against him in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, in the interest of efficiency and judicial economy, the Court does not find it necessary to analyze the Defendants' latter two arguments at this time.

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that on November 21, 2018, the Court ordered Defendants to file appropriate authentication of the grievance records and medical records cited in their Motion for Summary Judgment. [R.82.] On November 27, 2018, Defendants complied with this order. [R. 83.] Therefore, Defendants' Motion to Submit Grievance and Medical Record Certifications, [R. 83], is GRANTED.

         A. Failure to Exhaust ...

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