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Kyam v. Hudson County Jail

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 17, 2019

TARIQ KYAM, Plaintiff,
v.
HUDSON COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Tariq Kyam (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against several defendants, including CFG Health Systems, LLC (“CFG”) and Paul Ittoop (“Ittoop” and with “CFG, ” “Defendants”). Am. Compl., ECF No. 32. He alleges, among other things, Defendants provided inadequate medical care while he was a pretrial detainee at Hudson County Jail. Defendants moved for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 77. The Court decides the matter on the papers without need for oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); Local Civ. R. 78.1(b). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are drawn from Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (“SMF”) and supporting exhibits attached in Defendants' Motion, including a copy of Plaintiff's deposition transcript, entries of Plaintiff's medical records, Defendants' medical export report, and Defendant Ittoop's sworn declaration of non-treatment. See Defs.' SMF, ECF No. 77-27; Defs.' Cert. of Counsel (“Defs.' Cert.”), Exs. A-I, ECF No. 77-2.[1] Although the Court extended the deadline for filing opposition, ECF Nos. 82, 84, 86, Plaintiff filed no responsive motion papers.

         The facts are not in dispute here. From May 29 to October 2, 2014, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Hudson County Jail (the “Jail”) in Kearny, New Jersey. Defs.' Cert., Ex. E at 71-72, 78; Am. Compl. ¶ 10. CFG is a health services provider at the Jail. Defs.' Answer ¶ 10, ECF No. 49.

         Plaintiff arrived from Essex County Correctional Facility with orders for medications to treat constipation and to take fluids. Defs.' Cert., Ex. E at 5, 8. During the intake process on May 29, 2014, Plaintiff advised medical officials on his Jail medical history and screening questionnaire of an injured Achilles tendon, constipation, use of a cane, and use of prescribed medications. Id. at 5. That same day, a nurse ordered Plaintiff be admitted to the Jail's infirmary, id at 32, 68, to take medications for treatment of his pre-existing constipation and Achilles tendon pain, id. at 32-33, and to be placed on fall precautions, id. at 33. Plaintiff then entered the Jail's infirmary. Id. at 9, 33.

         On May 30, 2014, Dr. Ittoop wrote Plaintiff an order for a lower bunk assignment and for Plaintiff's continued use of a cane to aid in walking. Id. at 32. On June 2, 2014, Plaintiff left the infirmary and arrived at his cell in the Jail's special needs medical unit (A1 West) on “lock up” status. Id. at 9; Defs.' Cert., Ex. H (Deposition of Tariq Kyam) (Pl.'s Dep.”), Oct. 4, 2018, 42:5-10, 106:1-21, 140:24-25.

         On or around June 2, 2014, Plaintiff became injured while climbing down from a top bunk. Pl.'s Dep. 36:8-22; 37:15-38:5. Nobody witnessed the fall; his cellmate was asleep. Id. at 38:6-16. While getting up from the floor, Plaintiff “was in some pain and a little shocked.” Id. at 38:20.

         Jail inmates must submit written requests for medical care. Plaintiff submitted a medical request slip on July 6, 2014, requesting medical care to treat backside pain and inflammation; medication for headaches, backaches, and shoulder pain; and, specific to his fall, Plaintiff was experiencing dizziness and wanted his right hand and arm examined. Defs.' Cert., Ex. E (Pl.'s Jail Medical Records) at 50. He complained the fall aggravated his previously diagnosed anal fistula and an undiagnosed injury to his right pinky finger. Pl.'s Dep. 46:3-48:16, 92:14-19; 155:4-7.

         Plaintiff received treatment for his anal discharge related to his backside pain. Ex. E at 51. Just over two weeks later, Plaintiff submitted a medical slip requesting treatment for dizziness and a medical provider made notations acknowledging the treatment request. Id. at 52-54. Two days later, medical professionals evaluated Plaintiff and checked his blood pressure daily for a week. Id. at 27. Plaintiff had a follow-up visit on August 12, 2014. Id. at 34. Medical professionals continued monitoring Plaintiff's blood pressure, prescribed medication for dizziness (Antivert), and entered orders for diagnostic testing (an EKG) and lab work, id. at 11-14, 15, 34. Plaintiff's interdisciplinary progress notes contained orders for a follow-up appointment. Id. at 34, 47-48. Apart from planned treatments, Jail medical staff also responded, on August 13, 2014, to a “Code White” when Plaintiff complained of experiencing a racing heartbeat and dizziness while showering. Id. at 42. Plaintiff was then assigned to the cardiac chronic care clinic and prescribed HCTZ (a diuretic) for hypertension. Id. at 35, 43; Pl.'s Dep. 69:23-71:22. He remained there through his time at the Jail until October 2014.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A court must grant summary judgment when “there is no genuine issue of material fact and if, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Pearson v. Component Tech. Corp., 247 F.3d 471, 482 n.1 (3d Cir. 2001) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)); accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). There is a genuine issue of material fact when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” which “might affect the out-come of the suit under governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. If the movant meets this burden, it then shifts to the non-moving party who must produce evidence sufficient to satisfy the elements of the claim. See United States v. Donovan, 661 F.3d 174, 185 (3d Cir. 2011). “A nonmoving party may not ‘rest upon mere allegations, general denials, or . . . vague statements.” Trap Rock Indus., Inc. v. Local 825, Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, 982 F.2d 884, 890 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting Quiroga v. Hasbro, Inc., 934 F.2d 497, 500 (3d Cir. 1991)). When the non-moving party cannot show a genuine dispute about a necessary element of a claim on which it bears the burden of proof at trial, then the court must grant the moving party summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.

         III. ...


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