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Wood v. Galef-Surdo

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 16, 2014

BRUCE WOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. LINDA GALEF-SURDO, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

GREGORY M. SLEET, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The plaintiff, Bruce Wood ("Wood"), an inmate at the at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC"), Smyrna, Delaware, proceeds prose and has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of fees. He filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Before the court is a motion for summary judgment filed by the remaining defendants Dr. Linda Galef-Surdo ("Dr. Surdo"), Ihouma Chuks ("Chuks") and Corizon Medical Services, Inc. f/k/a Correctional Medical Servics, Inc. ("CMS") and Wood's opposition thereto, as well as Wood's motion to amend the complaint, opposed by the defendants. (D.1. 92, 100.) For the reasons that follow, the court will grant both motions.

II. MOTION TO AMEND

Wood raises medical needs claims against Dr. Surdo, Chuks, and CMS. Upon initial screening, the court dismissed all claims that accrued prior to August 31, 2009 as well as claims against the defendants Perry Phelps, Chris Kline, Michael Meloy, and James Welch. ( See D.I. 8, 9.)

In the original complaint, Wood complained of numerous medical issues and alleges that he was not provided medical care. Wood has a knee condition that required surgery. The complaint alleges that between July 20, 2009 through July 20, 2011, Dr. Surdo did not order appropriate medical tests, prescribe pain medication, physical therapy, or a cane to aid Wood in walking. Wood also suffers from a skin condition and alleges that Dr. Surdo did not treat the rashes, and she refused to refer Wood to an orthopedist or a dermatologist. (D.I. 3, ¶IV. l.) Wood alleges that between April 11, 2008 through July 20, 2011, Chuks, a nurse practitioner, refused to treat Wood's knee or his toe nail fungus despite his complaints. ( Id. at¶ IV.2.) Finally, Wood alleges that between February 3, 2006 through approximately July 2010, CMS failed to provide him physical therapy following knee surgery, failed to provide follow-up care with the surgeon, and failed to provide pain medication. In addition, CMS denied Wood's requests to see an orthopedist and for physical therapy, pain medication, and a cane. ( Id. at¶ IV.3.)

Wood moves to amend the ad damnum clause of the complaint and to remove surplusage from the complaint. (D.I. 100.) The proposed amended complaint makes no real changes to the substance of Wood's claims, but does clarify his request for relief. Therefore, the motion will be granted and the Clerk of Court will be directed to file instanter the amended complaint that is attached to the motion to amend.

III. MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

A. LegalStandard

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter oflaw." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Wishkin v. Potter, 476 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2007). The moving party has the initial burden of proving the absence of a genuinely disputed material fact relative to the clams in question. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986). Material facts are those "that could affect the outcome" of the proceeding, and "a dispute about a material fact is genuine' if the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Lamont v. New Jersey, 637 F.3d 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)); see also See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-587 (1986) ("Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.'").

The burden then shifts to the non-movant to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue for trial. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. 574; Williams v. Borough of West Chester, Pa., 891F.2d458, 460-461 (3d Cir. 1989). Pursuant to Rule 56(c)(l), a non-moving party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed must support such an assertion by: "(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations..., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited [by the opposing party] do not establish the absence... of a genuine dispute..." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(l). If the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.

The defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that: (1) the documented medical care received by Wood precludes a finding of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need; and (2) Wood failed to put forth evidence supporting the claim that he had a serious medical condition or that the treatment he received amount to deliberate indifference.

B. Relevant Facts

The relevant time-frame in this case is August 31, 2009 to September 2, 2011. Dr. Surdo and Nurse Practitioner Chuks worked at the VCC and treated Plaintiff. (D.I. 3, §IV¶¶ 1-3.) CMS was the contract healthcare provider for the Delaware Department of Correction ("DOC) from July 1, 2005 through July 1, 2010. See Jackson v. Ivens, 2012 WL 4498054 (D. Del. Sept. 12, 2012). During the relevant time-frame, Wood presented ...


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