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Taplin v. Multnomah County Health Services

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 29, 2017

DANTE LAMON TAPLIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MULTNOMAH COUNTY HEALTH SERVICES, DR. OLE ERSSON, MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, UNITED STATES MARSHALL SERVICE, DAVE BROWN, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Ann Aiken, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Dante Taplin, an inmate formerly in the custody of Multnomah County and appearing pro se, brings suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD), Dr. Ole Ersson, and the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office. Taplin alleges that defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by refusing to provide adequate medical treatment for his chronic ankle condition. Taplin seeks compensatory damages and injunctive relief requiring defendants to provide ankle surgery.

         Defendants now move for summary judgment on all claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2014, Taplin was housed at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail (MCIJ) while in the custody of the U.S. Marshal and awaiting federal charges. First Seale Decl. at 3 (ECF No. 57). On May 8, 2014, Taplin sustained a right ankle injury playing basketball. According to his medical records and self-reports, Taplin has had a history of ankle injuries and resulting instability for several years. Id. at 3, 5 & Ex. 1 at 1-7, 17, 24.

         After Taplin's injury on May 8, 2014, MCHD staff ordered an x-ray which showed evidence of chronic injuries and an avulsion fracture, with symptoms and treatment similar to those associated with an ankle sprain. Id. at 4 & Ex. 1 at 8-10.

         On May 9, 2014, Dr. Ersson wrote to Taplin and stated, "Your foot xray is normal. Your ankle xray showed a small avulsion fracture on the inside of the ankle. This is like a bad sprain as no large bones are broken. Avoid weight bearing for a few days. I am scheduling an appointment to discuss this." Id. at 4 & Ex. 1 at 12; Ersson Decl. at 2. Dr. Ersson ordered Taplin to be placed on a lower bunk in a lower tier, extra blankets for elevation, and a wheelchair for several days to be followed by crutches. First Seale Decl. at 4 & Ex. 1 at 11, Ersson Decl. at 2.

         On May 13, 2014, Taplin had additional x-rays of his ankle, which showed findings similar to those observed on May 8, 2014. First Seale Decl. at 4 & Ex. 1 at 15.

         On May 14, 2014, Physician Assistant (PA) Brook Holter examined Taplin. Seale Decl. at 5; Holter Decl. at 2. Holter ordered a CT scan, copies of Taplin's prior x-rays for comparison, and a cane for Taplin to use. Holter Decl. at 2. Holter sought the CT scan to further evaluate Taplin's ankle and assess the possibility of a talar bone collapse. Id. Holter also ordered a cane for Taplin's use and a follow-up appointment. Id; First Seale Decl. at 5 & Ex. 1 at 14.

         On May 27, 2014, Taplin had another x-ray of his ankle. The next day, Taplin was transported to Portland Adventist hospital for the CT scan. First Seale Decl. at 5. The reviewing physician found the May 27 x-rays consistent with Taplin's x-rays from May 8 and 13. Id. & Ex. 1 at 18-19. The reviewing physician at Portland Adventist found the CT scan compatible with "old" injuries and mild degeneration and not suggestive of avascular necrosis or collapse of the talar bone. Id. at 6 & Ex. 1 at 20.

         On May 28, 2017, Holter reviewed Taplin's most recent x-rays and also found them consistent with his previous x-rays. Holter Decl. at 2.

         On June 4, 2017, Holter reviewed Taplin's CT scan. Holter noted that the scan indicated a possible osteochondral lesion in the tibia, and not the talus, "which would not cause a talar bone collapse." Id. Although such an injury "can heal on its own, " Holter recommended referral to an orthopedic specialist. Id. Dr. Ersson ordered the referral, pending approval by the U.S. Marshals Service. First Seale Decl. at 6 & Ex. 1 at 14.

         On July 17, 2014, Taplin was seen by Dr. Ersson, who prescribed a walking boot and a cane. Id. at 6 & Ex. 1 at 22. Taplin complained about the efficacy of his pain medication, and Dr. Ersson prescribed Flexeril, a muscle relaxant. Ersson Decl. at 3.

         On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Marshals Service approved Taplin's referral to an outside specialist for evaluation. First ...


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