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Deputy v. Conlan

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

August 6, 2013

KENNETH T. DEPUTY, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. CONLAN, Defendants.

Submitted: April 29, 2013

Kenneth T. Deputy, Pro Se, Plaintiff

Scott G. Wilcox, Esquire, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Defendant

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Honorable Mary M. Johnston J.

THE 2007 LAWSUIT

On January 18, 2007, plaintiff brought suit against "Dr. Conlon, James Welch and Thomas Carroll, " claiming that he received inadequate care and defendants acted with "deliberate indifference" towards his injury.[1]

On March 3, 2007, the Superior Court dismissed the case, finding that the complaint was legally frivolous and that Deputy failed to file an Affidavit of Merit, as require by 18 Del. C. § 6853. Plaintiff appealed. On October 22, 2007, the Supreme Court vacated the order and remanded the case to the Superior Court to address plaintiff's 8th and 14th Amendment claims. On remand, the Superior Court reinstated Deputy's 8th and 14th Amendment claims. On August 21, 2009, plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment.

On September 23, 2010, the Court issued an opinion denying plaintiff's motion. To succeed with a deliberate indifference claim, plaintiff had to show: (1) from an objective standpoint, his medical need is sufficiently serious;[2] and (2) the prison official had the culpable state of mind of "deliberate indifference" towards the plaintiff's health.[3] A medical need is sufficiently serious if a physician diagnoses it as requiring treatment, or the injury is so obvious that a layperson could identify it as requiring medical attention.[4] "Deliberate indifference" requires that a prison official must "both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.[5] Choosing a treatment plan other than what has been requested by an inmate, however, does not amount to deliberate indifference, provided that the treatment plan is reasonable.[6]

The Court found that plaintiff's injury was sufficiently serious as a matter of law. It is undisputed that a physician diagnosed plaintiff's injury as requiring treatment.[7] However, the Court found that genuine issues of material fact regarding whether defendants acted with "deliberate indifference" precluded summary judgment. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to defendants, it appeared that they believed that surgery was elective based on Dr. DuShuttle's October 21, 2009 letter. Further, the Court found that genuine issues of material fact exist as to the reasonableness of plaintiff's medical treatment. The Court denied plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

On September 30, 2010, plaintiff filed a Motion for Reargument. Plaintiff contended that CMS's medical treatment – the x-ray, MRIs, ibuprofen, and cortisone shot – afforded no relief. Plaintiff asserts that he received a single cortisone injection. The Court, however, in its opinion, stated that CMS administered more than one. Accordingly plaintiff argued that the Court misapprehended the law and the facts and his motion for reargument should be granted.

The Court ruled that it did not overlook plaintiff's assertions that CMS's medical treatment afforded him no relief. The Court considered that CMS administered x-rays, MRIs, ibuprofen, and cortisone shots. The Court found that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether defendants provided reasonable medical treatment, precluding summary judgment.

The Court held that plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that the Court overlooked a controlling precedent or legal principle, or misapprehended the law or facts in a matter which would affect the outcome of the decision. The Court denied plaintiff's Motion for Reargument of the Court's September 23, 2010 Decision Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

Between 2007 and 2011, Plaintiff filed numerous motions, including: a motion to compel; two motions for discovery; two motions for summary judgment; a motion for recusal; two motions for reargument; a motion for transcripts; and four motions for appointment of counsel. Additionally, Plaintiff filed two appeals and two petitions for writs of mandamus to the Delaware Supreme Court.

On February 7, 2011, Dr. Conlon filed a Motion to Dismiss. By Order dated August 15, 2011, the Court granted Conlon's Motion, and ...


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