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Guilfoil v. Connections

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 4, 2019

DALE A. GUILFOIL, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNECTIONS, Defendant.

          Dale A. Guilfoil, Central Violation of Probation Center, Smyrna, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Dana Spring Monzo, Esquire, and Lindsey E. Imbrogno, Esquire, White & Williams, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CONNOLLY, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Dale A. Guilfoil ("Plaintiff'), an inmate at the Central Violation of Probation Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1](D.I. 3) Plaintiff was housed at the Sussex Correctional Center ("SCI") in Georgetown, Delaware when he commenced this case.[2] Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. (D.I. 66, 70) The matters have been fully briefed.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff began his incarceration as a pretrial detainee following his arrest on July 6, 2014.[3] See Guilfoil v. State, 135 A.3d 78 (Del. 2016) (table). He has a spinal cord stimulator implanted in his lower back and uses a cane. (D.I. 3 at 5; D.I. 68 at 307-308) During intake at SCI, Plaintiff informed the nurse about the stimulator, that he uses a cane, and was on a pain management regimen. (D.I. 3 at 5; D.I. 68 at 159-178) Medical personnel ordered pain medication for Plaintiff. (D.I. 68 at 306-307; D.I. 68-1 at 48)

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 14, 2014, he told a physician that he needed to charge the stimulator's battery and, on July 22, 2014, told a physician that he needed a stimulator charger. (D.I. 3 at 5) Plaintiff alleges that he was told it was his responsibility to charge the battery and that he needed approval from security. (Id. at 5-6) Plaintiffs public defender stepped in to assist him with the issue. (Id. at 6) On August 5, 2014, Plaintiff was called to the medical office to use a borrowed charger, but the battery would not take a charge. (Id.)

         In the meantime, pain medication was ordered for Plaintiff and initially he received it, but it stopped in late July 2014. (D.I. 3 at 6; D.I. 68-1 at 40-48) As alleged, when Plaintiff filed the Complaint in May 2016, he received medication sporadically. (D.I. 3 at 6) In some instances it was not given, and on occasion it was not available because Plaintiff did not timely request medication refills. (D.I. 67, Ex. C at ¶ 9, Ex. F at 65-67; D.I. 68-1 at 40-48)

         In February of 2015, Plaintiff saw a private pain management specialist and had a CT scan of his back. (D.I. 68-2 at 41-42, 73-74) Plaintiff was seen by Connections medical personnel for follow-up, administered trigger point injections and his pain medication was increased. (D.I. 68 at 303) Plaintiff continued to see a pain management specialist in 2015. (D.I. 68 at 301-302, 430-432; D.I. 68-2 at 44, 75-77). In addition, Connections medical personnel referred him to private orthopaedic and neurosurgical specialists who determined that Plaintiff was not a surgical candidate and, instead, recommended epidural injections and physical therapy. (D.I. 68 at 299, D.I. 68-2 at 30-39, 78-80)

         Plaintiffs criminal trial took place in June 2015. He found guilty on June 8, 2015, and sentenced on July 28, 2015.[4] See Guilfoil, 135 A.3d 78; Guilfoil v. Johnson, Civ. No. 16-291-CFC (Del. 2016) at D.I. 3, ¶ 2(b).

         In 2015, Plaintiff attended physical therapy, was instructed on home exercises, and received the maximum dose allowed for pain medications. (D.I. 68 at 293-297; D.I. 68-1 at 4973) Toward the end of 2015, medical providers decreased the dose of opioid medication Plaintiff was administered because he had exceeded the maximum dose. (D.I. 68 at 297-298) Plaintiff was told by medical providers that they could prescribe additional non-opioid pain analgesics if the decreased opioid medication dosage affected his pain relief. (Id.)

         In 2016, Plaintiff saw a private pain management specialist at the Sussex Pain Relief Center fifteen times and received multiple epidural injections in his back. (D.I. 68-1 at 294-297; D.I. 68-2 at 23-38, 49-56) Plaintiff continued to be administered pain medications including opioids, muscle relaxers, nerve medications, and sleeping pills. (D.I. 68-1 at 74-109) Plaintiff commenced this action in May 2016.

         Plaintiff fractured his foot in 2017. (D.I. 68 at 278-282) He received daily care for approximately two weeks following the injury that included immobilization of the foot by providing Plaintiff with a wheelchair, wrapping the foot, anti-inflammatories, and ice. (Id.) The treatment provided Plaintiff remained the same following the ...


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