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Carter v. Lake County

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

June 23, 2017

DONISE CARTER, as Administratrix of the Estate of Dondrea Lanise Carter, Plaintiff,
LAKE COUNTY, Defendants.


          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #59) of Defendants, Marc J. McNaughton, M.D. and Prime Health, Inc., d/b/a Lake County Family Practice, for Partial Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.


         This civil rights and wrongful death action was initially filed on January 8, 2015 against Lake County, Lake County Sheriff Daniel A. Dunlap, Nita L. Brickman, Marc J. McNaughton, M.D. and Prime Health, Inc. An Amended Complaint was filed on July 27, 2016. On August 16, 2016, Defendants Brickman, Lake County and Dunlap were dismissed with prejudice from the lawsuit pursuant to Stipulation (ECF DKT ##54 & 55).

         Plaintiff's decedent, Dondrea Carter, was an inmate at the Lake County Adult Detention Facility (“LCADF”) in May of 2014 when she complained of chest pain, jaw pain, dizziness, nausea and anxiety. Nurse Brickman administered an EKG, provided Dondrea with four packets of Pepto Bismol and returned Dondrea to her cell. Brickman informed Dr. McNaughton, the jail physician, when he arrived later, of Dondrea's medical complaints and that the results of the EKG were normal. Dr. McNaughton did not see Dondrea nor did he review the EKG results. A short time afterward, Dondrea was found unresponsive in her cell. She was transported to the local ER where she died on May 26, 2014, from a heart attack due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.

         Donise Carter, Dondrea's mother and administratrix of her estate, brings this action for wrongful death, malpractice, negligence and violation of the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to provide adequate medical care to Dondrea Carter, an inmate in the LCADF.

         Defendants move for judgment in their favor arguing that Plaintiff is unable to satisfy her burden of proof on any of her § 1983 claims. Defendants contend that Plaintiff has no evidence that McNaughton acted with deliberate indifference nor that he was a policy-maker for LCADF or for Prime Health. Additionally, the only policy identified by Plaintiff is the Inmate Medical Service Policy (ECF DKT #59) which belongs to the jail and not to Prime Health. Finally, the failure to train claim fails because McNaughton was not obligated by the Agreement for Professional Services (ECF DKT #62-2) to provide training; nor is there evidence that he was involved in any training of nurses or other jail staff.

         Plaintiff opposes with the argument that McNaughton's inaction amounted to deliberate indifference to Dondrea's serious medical needs. Plaintiff also insists that McNaughton was responsible for promulgating medical policy for Prime Health at the jail. Moreover, Plaintiff contends that Prime Health was responsible for providing necessary, regular and routine medical services to the LCADF inmates; yet Prime Health maintained a “policy” of non-existent training and supervision.


         Standard of Review

         Summary judgment shall be granted only 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.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The burden is on the moving party to conclusively show no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Lansing Dairy. Inc. v. Espy, 39 F.3d 1339, 1347 (6th Cir. 1994). The moving party must either point 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 show “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.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). A court considering a motion for summary judgment must view the facts and all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Once the movant presents evidence to meet its burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on its pleadings, but must come forward with some significant probative evidence to support its claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Lansing Dairy, 39 F.3d at 1347.

         This Court does not have the responsibility to search the record sua sponte for genuine issues of material fact. Betkerur v. Aultman Hospital Ass 'n., 78 F.3d 1079, 1087 (6th Cir. 1996); Guarino v. Brookfield Township Trustees, 980 F.2d 399, 404-06 (6th Cir. 1992). The burden falls upon the nonmoving party to “designate specific facts or evidence in dispute, ” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986); and if the nonmoving party fails to make the necessary showing on an element upon which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Whether summary judgment is appropriate depends upon “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Amway Distributors Benefits Ass 'n v. Northfield Ins. Co., 323 F.3d 386, 390 (6th Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52).

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