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Williams v. Robinson

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 18, 2018

DOCTOR ROBINSON, et al., Defendants.


          ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.


         Plaintiff, Willie Williams, is a former prisoner that was incarcerated in the Atlantic County Justice Facility (“ACJF”). He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint against Defendants Doctor Robinson and CFG Health Systems, LLC (incorrectly named as CFG Health Care Systems) alleging a violation of his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical treatment. Presently pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 32). Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion for summary judgment.[1] For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.


         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff, a diabetic, alleges that during his detention at the ACJF, Defendants Dr. Robinson and CFG Health Systems, LLC (“CFG”) failed to administer long-acting insulin (Lantus) to him. (See ECF No. 1 at p. 4). Plaintiff claims that the denial of insulin could have caused him to go into a diabetic coma or suffer a stroke or heart attack. (See id.).

         Plaintiff arrived at the ACJF on March 9, 2016. (See ECF No. 32, Ex. E at 67:22 to 68:1). Available medical records indicate that Plaintiff was evaluated by the medical department upon intake. (See ECF No. 32, Ex. D at 81-82). Plaintiff was identified as having Type 2 diabetes and his medications were noted to include Lantus, a long-lasting insulin. (See Id. at 78, 81-82). Plaintiff was ordered a special diet, laboratory tests, and low dose insulin on a sliding scale as chronic care for his diabetes. (See Id. at 88-89, 92).

         Beginning on March 10, 2016, Plaintiff's blood sugar levels were checked twice a day, during which time he received low dose insulin on a sliding scale. (See Id. at 166; ECF No. 32, Ex. E at 74:1-17, 96:1-5). On March 10 and March 11, 2016, medical department staff contacted multiple local pharmacies to confirm Plaintiff's medications, including Lantus. (See ECF No. 32, Ex. D at 102, 105). On March 12, 2016, Plaintiff was prescribed a reorder of Lantus. (See Id. at 102). Plaintiff began receiving Lantus on March 16, 2016. (See Id. at 166). Plaintiff claims that the only period he was without Lantus was from March 9 to 17, 2016. (See ECF No. 1 at 4; ECF No. 32, Ex. E at 95:14-24).


         Summary judgment is warranted only where “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 a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Conoshenti v. Public Serv. Electric & Gas Co., 364 F.3d 135, 140 (3d Cir. 2004). When the moving party has met this burden, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). The mere existence of some evidence favoring the non-moving party, however, will not defeat the motion. There must be enough evidence with respect to a particular issue to enable a reasonable jury to find in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); McGreevy v. Stroup, 413 F.3d 359, 363-64 (3d Cir. 2005). In evaluating the evidence at the summary judgment stage, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in its favor. Matreale v. New Jersey Dep't of Military & Veterans Affairs, 487 F.3d 150, 152 (3d Cir. 2007).


         A. Inadequate Medical Care Claims

         It is unclear whether Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee or a convicted prisoner during the course of the actions complained of in his complaint. Accordingly, the Court will examine Plaintiff's claims of inadequate medical care under both the Fourteenth Amendment's due process standard (applicable to pretrial detainees) and the Eighth Amendment standard (applicable to convicted prisoners).

         The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 1, guarantees that “[n]o State shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” U.S. Const, amend. XIV, § 1. The Fourteenth Amendment protects a pretrial detainee from “conditions of confinement, including his health care or lack thereof, that amounted to punishment.” Montgomery v. Aparatis Dist. Co., 607 Fed.Appx. 184, 187 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing Hubbard v. Taylor, 399 F.3d 150, 166 (3d Cir. 2005)). In the Third Circuit, the analysis of a pretrial detainee's claim of inadequate medical services is guided by the standard used for inadequate medical services claims by convicted prisoners under the Eighth Amendment. Id. Regardless, “[u]nder any standard ...

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