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May v. Jones

December 7, 2009

WALTER MAY, II, PLAINTIFF
v.
P.A. JONES, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner United States District Judge

(Judge Conner)

MEMORANDUM

Walter May, II ("May"), a Pennsylvania state inmate who, at all times relevant, was incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill (SCI-Camp Hill), filed this civil rights complaint (Doc. 1) alleging that Ronald Jones, a physician's assistant, was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the eighth amendment. Presently before the court are cross motions for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Docs. 97, 111.) For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion (Doc. 97) and defendant's motion (Doc. 111) will be denied and the matter will be set for trial.

I. Statement of Material Facts

May began suffering from migraine headaches in 1995.*fn1 (Doc. 112-3, Deposition of Walter May, II ("May Dep."), at 6, pp. 11-12.) At times, it has been necessary for him to go to the emergency room for shots of Toradol.*fn2 (Id.) He has been receiving pain treatment for headaches on an as needed basis from the Department of Corrections ("DOC") for almost ten years. (Id. at 12, p. 36.)*fn3

While imprisoned at SCI-Camp Hill, May was classified as a Level 5 inmate and housed in the Special Management Unit ("SMU"). (Doc. 112-3, May Dep., at 7, pp. 15-16; at 8, p. 19). On May 27, 2007, he began experiencing pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, light sensitivity and an inability to sleep, all of which were exacerbated by the conditions in the SMU.*fn4 (Doc. 112-3, May Dep. at 11, pp. 32-33.) He had no access to the commissary or to pain relievers such as Ibuprofen or Motrin. (Doc. 112-3, May Dep. at 8, pp. 18-19.) On May 29, 2007, he submitted a request for sick line request. (Doc. 100, Declaration of Walter May, II (May Decl.), at 4, ¶ 3.)

Although he did not recall being seen (Doc. 112-3, May Dep. at 11, p. 32), defendant Jones entered the following remark into his medical file on May 29, 2007:

Seen for sick line today. Despite many warnings to fill out sick line request, he has again submitted altered form. Was given form back and copy put on chart. Told we [sic] will be seen when he stops crossing out charge areas. Told we will be happy to see him when he submits properly completed sick call form. (Doc. 112-2, at 20.) He indicates that he signed up for sick call three times during the week at issue and was denied all three times by defendant Jones. (Doc. 100, May Decl, at 3, ¶ 5.) According to the record, on May 29, and May 30, 2007, May was seen for sick call but was not treated because he refused to complete and sign the medical cash slip. (Doc. 112-2, at 21.) Defendant Jones informed him that he would be treated when he completed the required paper work. (Id.) May indicated that he understood the instructions. (Id.) On June 4, 2007, a properly completed cash slip was submitted, so he was seen during sick call. (Doc. 112-2, at 21.) Jones inquired how May was feeling and he responded "I'm good, good" and refused services. (Doc. 112-2 at 21.) Although he has no recollection of this conversation with defendant Jones, he acknowledges that it was around this time that he correctly completed the cash slip. (May Dep., Doc. 112-3, at 15, p. 47.) He was also seen by defendant Jones on June 7, 2007. (Doc. 112-2, at 21). He requested, and was prescribed, Tylenol and a multivitamin and an Oscal prescription was renewed. (Id., at 21, 27.) As a result of defendant's conduct, May states that he "was forced to suffer in pain for a total of eleven days after P.A. Jones was first made aware of [his] condition, because of his refusal to treat [him]." (Doc. 100, May, Decl, at 5, ¶ 6.)

He filed a grievance on May 30, 2007, complaining as follows:

On 5/29/07 I signed up for sick call and pa Jones brought my sick call slip to me and said since I refused to authorize him to take money from my account he wouldn't treat me for severe pain in my head or refill my medication to help with the pain. The pain was so bad I was throwing up couldn't sleep and could not stand light. I am still in pain and being refused treatment. (Doc. 112-2, at 36.) May received the following response to his grievance:

I have read your chart and PA Jones['] comments. You are not to alter the sick call form or the cash slip. You may not cross out the charges on the sick call slip or cash slip. It is not for you to decide if you are charged for a visit. The PA in conjunction with the DOC regulations determines the charges for the sick call visit. Please understand that even if you do not sign a cash slip, but are treated, you will be charged for the visit. This is in accordance with DOC policy. (Id. at 35.) In his appeal to the facility manager, May contends that the grievance officer failed to address the issue of refusal of treatment. He states that he "was in severe pain from a serious medical condition and [ ] was refused medical treatment because [he] refused to pay $4.00. . . ." (Id. at 34.) The appeal was denied for the reasons set forth below:

Based on my review you were informed of the process of Sick Call and that you had to sign a Sick Call slip in order to be examined. You refused to sign the slip and/or altered it thus indicating your refusal to comply with the orders/procedures for obtaining Sick Call. As you refused to comply, you were not examined. Sick call, Mr. May, is like any other process in the Department of Corrections. Failure to comply with the process for accepting Sick Call, like yards, showers, and meals, results in you not been [sic] seen.

As you refused to comply with procedure, you were not examined. As the SMU staff members make rounds in the Housing Unit and can summon the Medical Department in the event you required emergency treatment, I find your appeal is denied.

(Id. at 33.) He then pursued the appeal to final review. On August 24, 2007, he was informed that his ...


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