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Wilson v. Pierce County

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

September 5, 2017

PIERCE COUNTY, a municipal corporation organized under the laws of the State of Washington, PIERCE COUNTY JAIL, PIERCE COUNTY JAIL CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS JOHN DOE 1 and JANE DOE 1, Nurses STEVE CARVER RN, KRISTIN BERRES, RN, Defendants.



         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Steve Carver and Kristin Berres' Motion for Summary Judgment Dismissal of All Claims. Dkt. 46. The Court has considered the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the file herein.

         In this case, Plaintiff, a former prisoner, alleges that Defendants Carver and Berres, nurses at the Pierce County, Washington jail, violated his federal constitutional rights when they showed deliberate indifference to his serious medical need regarding a leg lesion and were negligent. Dkt. 26. Defendants Carver and Berres now move for summary dismissal of the claims against them. Dkt. 46. Plaintiff did not respond. For the reasons stated below, the motion (Dkt. 46) should be granted, and the claims dismissed.

         I. FACTS

         On June 19, 2014, Plaintiff made a healthcare request, which stated, “I have a zit like soar [sic] on my right leg. It started out itching but now its [sic] grown and its [sic] very red and its [sic] painful, and it keeps growing.” Dkt. 47, at 8. The next day, he was seen by Defendant Berres, who diagnosed Plaintiff with a lesion, thought to be an insect bite, and prescribed oral antibiotics. Id., at 15.

         On June 22, 2014, Plaintiff made a second healthcare request, stating, “[t]he so called bug bite on my [right] leg has gotten worse and [now] is a throbbing pain. I can't sleep cause [sic] just the slightest touch send horrible pain, and it hurts to walk.” Dkt. 47, at 9. The response states only “Seen by SCarver DNP on 6/20/14.” Id.

         On June 23, 2014, Plaintiff sent a third healthcare request form, which provided, “I now believe I have merca on my [right] leg. It has more than tripled its size since I saw the doctor and my lower leg is completely swollen. This is the 3rd [request] I've put in. Can someone please help me!” Dkt. 47, at 10.

         On June 24, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Carver, who noted that the lesion had grown. Dkt. 47, at 15. Defendant Carver incised and drained the lesion, gave Plaintiff an injection of antibiotic, and placed him on additional antibiotics. Id. The fluid drained from the lesion was sent for culture, Dkt. 47, at 18, and his antibiotics were changed as a result. Id.

         Plaintiff was seen again on July 10, 2014, and the lesion was noted to be healing slowly. Id., at 16. He was given an additional antibiotic. Id. On August 5, 2014, Plaintiff was again seen and reported that he lesion was “just about healed.” Id. He sought no further treatment.

         In connection with the treatment of his leg lesion, Plaintiff makes claims against Steve Carver RN and Kristin Berres, RN, for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983, and negligence. Dkt. 26. Plaintiff also asserts a claim for negligence against Pierce County, Washington regarding the leg lesion treatment, but that claim is not the subject of this motion.



         Summary judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1985). There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)(nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative evidence, not simply “some metaphysical doubt.”). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute, requiring a judge or jury to resolve the differing versions of the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 .S. 242, 253 (1986); T.W. Elec. Service Inc. v. Pacific Electrical Contractors Association, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

         The determination of the existence of a material fact is often a close question. The court must consider the substantive evidentiary burden that the nonmoving party must meet at trial - e.g., a preponderance of the evidence in most civil cases. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254, T.W. Elect. Service Inc., 809 F.2d at 630. The court must resolve any factual issues of controversy in favor of the nonmoving party only when the facts specifically attested by that party contradict facts specifically attested by the moving party. The nonmoving party may not merely state that it will discredit the moving party's evidence at trial, in the hopes that evidence can be developed at trial to support the claim. T.W. Elect. Service Inc., 809 F.2d at 630 (relying on Anderson, supra). ...

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