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Taylor v. Spraga

United States District Court, D. Delaware

February 22, 2017

JOHN A. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
LAURIE ANN SPRAGA, D.O., et al., Defendants.

          John A. Taylor, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware. Pro se Plaintiff.

          Daniel A. Griffith and Scott G. Wilcox, Esquires, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.C., Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants Laurie Ann Spraga, Edward Hendricks and Correct Care Solutions LLC.

          Dana Spring Monzo and Randall Shaw MacTough, Esquires, White & Williams, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.


          ROBINSON, Senior District Judge


         Plaintiff John A. Taylor ("plaintiff'), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC"), Smyrna, Delaware, proceeds pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. He filed this lawsuit in December 2014 raising medical needs claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 3) Presently before the court are plaintiff's motions to compel, a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Laurie Ann Spraga ("Dr. Spraga"), Edward Hendricks ("Hendricks") and Correct Care Solutions LLC ("CCS") (collectively CCS defendants), and a motion to dismiss filed by defendant Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. ("CCSP"). (D.I. 41, 45, 52, 64) The court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.


         When plaintiff commenced this action, CCS was the contract healthcare service provider for the VCC. Plaintiff has suffered from chronic and serious nerve pain for over 15 years. (D.I. 3, 34) He was prescribed Neurontin for neuropathic pain but, on February 27, 2013, Hendricks discontinued the medication. (D.I. 32 at 2) Plaintiff alleges that the medication was discontinued without a doctor's order or evaluation. (D.I. 3, 34) Medical records indicate that when it was discovered that plaintiff was hoarding his Neurontin instead of taking it as prescribed, the medication was discontinued. (D.I. 52, exs. A, B) Plaintiff's Neurontin regimen was replaced with Motrin. (Id. at ex. A)

         In 2013, medical personnel discussed with plaintiff his hoarding of medication, including on March 5, March 27, April 8, June 10, and August 20. (Id. at ex. B) Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Spraga on December 26, 2013, and the discontinuation of the Neurontin was again discussed. (Id. at ex. B) At that time, plaintiff told Dr. Spraga that Capsaicin cream relieved his pain, but Motrin did not. (Id.) Although Dr. Spraga wrote a prescription for Capsaicin cream, plaintiff then stated that it does not work either. (Id.)

         When plaintiff was seen in March 2014, his pain was evaluated and it was determined that Motrin was sufficient for pain control. (Id. at ex. C) In May 2014, plaintiff was in possession of a card of medication of Motrin that had been prescribed to another inmate. (Id. at ex. D) He advised medical that he had been taking that Motrin for several days. (Id.) On July 1, 2014, CCSP became the medical service contract provider for the VCC.


         A. Legal Standard

         "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 of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 n.10 (1986). A party asserting that a fact cannot be-or, alternatively, is-genuinely disputed must be supported either by citing to "particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for the purposes of the motions only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, " or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). If the moving party has carried its burden, the nonmovant must then "come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (internal quotation marks omitted). The court will "draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         At the summary judgment stage, the judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The judge must ask not whether the evidence unmistakably favors one side or the other, but whether a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the plaintiff on the evidence presented. Id. at 252. The court must not engage in the making of "[credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts" as these "are jury functions, not ...

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