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Miles v. Kentucky Department of Corrections

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

February 5, 2019

DARRELL L. MILES, PLAINTIFF
v.
KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants Shastine Tangilag and Karen Vickery's (“Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 98]. Plaintiff Darrell Miles responded, [R. 99], and Defendants replied, [R. 100]. Subsequently, Miles filed a Response to Deny Defendants' Summary Judgment, [R. 101], and a Reply in Opposition of the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 104].[1] Full briefed, this matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 98], is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Darrell Miles is an inmate confined with the Kentucky Department of Corrections who suffers from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly known as GERD. [R. 97 at 5 (Miles Sealed Medical Records).] On April 22, 2015, Dr. Angela Clifford recommended that Miles have an endoscopy (EGD) after he complained of “regurgitating stomach contents, some dark blood, & what appears to be tissue daily.” [R. 101-2 at 1 (Dr. Clifford Notes).] She noted that Miles “had been on Prilosec & using a wedge without help, ” but that Miles mentioned that “he does not have that much pain.” [Id.] On May 18, 2015, Dr. Mark Spurlin performed an endoscopy (EGD) on Miles. [R. 97 at 2.] About a month later, June 12, 2015, Miles met with Tyara Hughes, APRN, to discuss the EGD results, recent lab work, and medications. [Id. at 5.] In a letter to Miles dated June 20, 2015, Dr. Spurlin wrote that the results of the EGD showed a condition that predisposes the esophagus to cancer and a repeat endoscope was needed in one year. [R. 99-1 at 1 (Spurlin Letter).] On January 18, 2016, Miles saw Dr. Shastine Tangilag regarding his reflux. Tangilag noted in Miles's medical records that she had a “long discussion with the inmate regarding the plan of care.” [R. 97 at 10.] Furthermore, Tangilag noted that Miles “insisted that the GI specialist wanted to re-scope him this year. I will have to review the records from the outside hospital.” [Id.] One month later, February 8, 2016, Miles saw Karen Vickery, APRN, regarding his GERD. [Id. at 12.] According to the medical records, Vickery noted that Miles complained of “sensation of FOB in throat on wakening every morning, ” “vomiting after brushing his tongue, ” and feeling that “his ‘trap' is eroded causing his sxs.” [Id.] Vickery further noted that Miles was to continue his medications as ordered, that she would review his records from the gastroenterologist, and that the goal was for Miles to have improved side effects. [Id.]

         Dr. Tangilag then saw Miles again on September 6, 2016, due to complaints of sore throat, a feeling like “there is a beefy red tissue that is stuck in his throat, ” dry mouth, and possible sleep apnea. [R. 97 at 14.] She again noted a “long discussion with the inmate regarding plan of care.” [Id. at 13.] She further noted that his condition, i.e., “Barrett's esophagus, ” needed to be treated with a certain medication but Miles refused to take that medication, so she gave him something different instead. [Id.] Lastly, Tangilag wrote that Miles was “under the impression that he needs to go back for another endoscopy in a year due to his Barrett's, ” but “[p]er American College of Gastroenterology recommendations, non dysplastic BE should undergo surveillance no more frequently than every 3-5 years.” [Id.]

         In May and June of 2016, Miles filed a Complaint and two supplemental complaints. [R. 6; R. 22; R. 24.] After the Court conducted an initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court allowed the following claims to go forward: “the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Defendants Shastine Tangilag and Karen Vickery in their individual capacities for compensatory and punitive damages and in their official-capacities for injunctive relief only based on Plaintiff's allegations that they refused to refer Plaintiff for an endoscopy as directed by a physician.” [R. 31 at 1.]

         According to Miles's medical records, Miles underwent another endoscopy, performed by Dr. Elizabeth Holt, on March 13, 2017. [R. 97 at 16.] Afterwards, Dr. Holt recommended a “[r]epeat EGD in 3-5 years if no dysplasia on biopsies.” [Id.] The results of the biopsies showed no dysplasia. [Id. at 17.]

         Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 98].

         LEGAL 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).[2]

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants move for summary judgment regarding Miles's claim that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Specifically, Miles alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent when they refused to refer Plaintiff for an endoscopy as directed by a physician. As Miles was eventually referred for an endoscopy, the Defendants emphasize that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Miles “cannot satisfy the objective component of the Eighth Amendment's deliberate indifference standard where the material facts establish that Plaintiff did not suffer any detrimental effect from the temporary delay in the preventive EGD testing.” [R. 100 at 4.] The Court agrees with Defendants.

         A. The Dual Components of ...


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