United States District Court, D. Oregon
Gene Dickson Pro Se Plaintiff
F. Rosenblum Attorney General Robert E. Sullivan Senior
Assistant Attorney General Department of Justice Attorneys
OPINION & ORDER
A. Hernández United States District Judge
Plaintiff Jack Gene Dickson brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Eighth
Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Defendants include: Rick Angelozzi, Superintendent of the
Columbia River Correctional Institution; C. Peters, Director
of the Oregon Department of Corrections; Sgt. Jackson; Lt.
Moack; Correctional Officer Elgin, Correctional Officer
Johnson, and Correctional Officer Schimschock, employees of
CRCI; and M.D. Greeder, M.D. Bristol, R.N. Woodruff, and R.N.
R. O'Brien, medical staff at CRCI. Defendants move
for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim. For the
reasons that follow, the Court grants Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment.
Jack Dickson entered the custody of the Oregon Department of
Corrections (“ODOC”) on May 5, 2015. Prior to his
incarceration, Plaintiff sustained multiple fractures to both
feet and legs. DiGiulio Decl. ¶ 7, ECF 47. As a result
of this injury, Plaintiff underwent surgery to place metal
plates in his feet. Id. Plaintiff also suffers from
chronic arthritic pain in his legs, shoulders, and back due
to his age and prior injuries. Id. at ¶ 50.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on August 14, 2015, he was
moved from a lower bunk to a top bunk in violation of medical
restrictions he had at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility
(“CCCF”) and Columbia River Correctional
Institution (“CRCI”). Compl. ¶ E, ECF 2. He
asserts that he fell off the top bunk twice four days later,
resulting in injury to his shoulder, back, and feet. Compl.
¶ F. Plaintiff alleges that he reported his injury to
Defendants Elgin, Schimschok, and Johnson on August 18,
August 20, August 21, and September 3, 2015. Compl. ¶ G.
Plaintiff asserts that x-rays during this time revealed
“a 4 mm fragment of bone from his (L) AC joint area,
[and] bone to bone sever [sic] damage to his L5 & S1
lumbar spine.” Compl. ¶ H. According to Plaintiff,
he complained of pain at several appointments and was denied
requests for an extra mattress to support his back by
Defendants Noack and R. O'Brien. Compl. ¶¶ I-J.
He also asserts that medical staff could have addressed his
pain by offering him medications to make him more
comfortable. Compl. § V.
records submitted by Defendants do not entirely support
Plaintiff's allegations. After a month at CCCF, Plaintiff
was transferred to CRCI. DiGiulio Decl. ¶¶ 15-17.
The intake paperwork and early medical records from both
facilities note Plaintiff's difficulties with his knees,
feet, and shoulder. DiGiulio Decl. Attach. 2 at 9, 14. But
they do not indicate that Plaintiff had any low bunk
restriction. Id. Nor did Plaintiff appear to request
one. Instead, a few days after he was transferred to CRCI he
reported pain in his feet and legs and requested medical
shoes. Id. at 14. Plaintiff was also seen numerous
times by CRCI Health Services between June and August of 2015
for unrelated medical issues.
Plaintiff's alleged fall on August 18, he had multiple
medical appointments but did not mention falling from his
bunk until November. On August 20 and 21, Plaintiff reported
increased pain in both feet and his knee, which he attributed
again his shoes. Id. at 17-18. X-rays of both feet
and his right knee were taken on August 28, 2015, and showed
old injuries and fusion of the left tarsometatarsal joints.
Id. at 104. On September 2, 2015, Plaintiff
requested a low bunk restriction, and he was issued a low
bunk order for one year by a medical provider two days later.
Id. at 41. On September 9, 2015, Plaintiff reported
chronic pain in his knee, feet, and shoulder but denied any
new injury. Id. at 19. Five days later, he reported
shoulder pain “since falling onto it ~2 wks ago.”
Id. at 20. On September 18, 2015, Plaintiff had a
left-shoulder x-ray, which also showed old injuries and
osteoarthrosis. Id. at 105. An x-ray of
Plaintiff's cervical and lumbar spine in October
similarly showed degenerative changes. Id. at 106.
On October 15, 2015, he requested continuation of the low
bunk order to prevent falls. Id. at 22.
November 5, 2015, Plaintiff saw his provider at a follow-up
appointment for his back pain and reported falling from a top
bunk. Id. at 23. He reportedly asked why it took so
long to get a lower bunk ordered. Id. His low bunk
restriction was continued due to both his back and leg pain.
Id. at 23, 43. On December 10, 2015, Plaintiff again
reported that his shoulders, knees, and feet were still
painful and that he thought it was all related to his fall
from the top bunk in August. Id. at 24. On May 19,
2016, Health Services again continued his lower bunk
restriction after he reported progressive knee, shoulder, and
low back pain and stiffness. Id. at 27.
27, 2016, Plaintiff reported his August 2015 fall from the
top bunk to an orthopedic specialist. Id. at 28. An
x-ray of his right shoulder demonstrated moderate
degenerative changes. Id. at 107. Plaintiff was then
seen in June, July, and August 2016 for his complaints of
chronic shoulder and back pain. Id. at 28-30.
was prescribed various medications by Health Services
providers to help manage his pain. In September, he was
prescribed Naproxen and Capsaicin after reporting knee,
shoulder, and foot pain. Id. at 19-20. After
reporting an increase in his low back pain in October, he was
prescribed Nortriptyline-a medication with pain control
properties-and given an order for an extra pillow. DiGiulio
Decl. ¶ 31; DiGiulio Decl. Attach. 2 at 21. On October
15, 2015, Plaintiff's prescription for Nortriptyline was
increased after he reported it was not improving his back
pain. DiGiulio Decl. Attach. 2 at 22. When Plaintiff
again reported that the Nortriptyline was ineffective, he was
prescribed Lodine, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
medication. DiGiulio Decl. ¶ 32; DiGiulio Decl. Attach.
2 at 23. When Lodine also proved to be ineffective, providers
started a trial of a different NSAID. DiGiulio Decl. ¶
37; DiGiulio Decl. Attach. 2 at 24. In May, his provider
ordered a consult with an orthopedic specialist, who he saw
on May 27. DiGiulio Decl. ¶ 41; DiGiulio Decl. Attach. 2
at 27. Between June and August of 2016, Plaintiff's
dosage of Neurontin was progressively increased to manage his
pain. DiGiulio Decl. Attach. 2 at 29-30. On August
23, 2016, Plaintiff reported fair pain relief for a week
following a shoulder injection. Id. at 30.
was released on post-prison supervision between October 21,
2016, and April 3, 2017. When he returned to the custody of
ODOC and was housed at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution,
he once again reported back and foot pain. Id. at 31
After evaluating Plaintiff, Plaintiff's provider
determined that he did not meet the criteria for a low bunk
restriction. Id. at 112. On May 3, 2017, Plaintiff
reported that he fell from his bunk when climbing down the
ladder and requested an assignment to a lower bunk.
Id. at 32-33. He was signed up for a clinical review
of lower bunk status and instructed to purchase cream for
sore muscles from the commissary. Id. at 33. In
June, Plaintiff was again provided an order for a lower bunk.
Id. at 52. In August and September, 2017, Plaintiff
received additional x-rays of his right shoulder, lumbar
spine, and thoracic spine due to his prior fall and
complaints of pain. Id. at 34-35, 108-10.