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Dickson v. Angelozzi

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 4, 2019

JACK GENE DICKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
RICK ANGELOZZI, C. PETERS, SGT. JACKSON, LT. NOACK, C/O ELGIN, C/O JOHNSON, R. O'BRIEN, C/O SHIMSHOCK, MD GREEDES, RN WOODRUFK, MD BRISTOL, Defendants.

          Jack Gene Dickson Pro Se Plaintiff

          Ellen F. Rosenblum Attorney General Robert E. Sullivan Senior Assistant Attorney General Department of Justice Attorneys for Defendants

          OPINION & ORDER

          Marco A. Hernández United States District Judge

         Pro Se 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.[1] Defendants move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff 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.

         In his 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.

         Medical 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.

         After 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.

         On 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.

         On May 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.

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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. ...


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