United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MONNIE LOUIS BEARD, Sr.
CORIZON HEALTH, INC. et al.
plaintiff was imprisoned in the Philadelphia prison system,
with which defendant Corizon Health, Inc. contracts to
provide health care, he underwent a biopsy of his prostate
for diagnostic purposes. He then waited three-and-a-half
months before defendants scheduled him a follow-up visit with
the surgeon who had performed the biopsy. Plaintiff brings a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Corizon and
Elmeadas Frias, a health care administrator employed by
Corizon, for violation of his Eighth Amendment right to
medical care, Dkt. No. 21 (First Am. Compl.), and defendants
move for summary judgment, Dkt. No 30. Plaintiff, now
proceeding pro se, has not filed a response. I will grant
defendants' unopposed motion because, on the record
before me, there is no dispute about any material fact
relating to plaintiff's medical treatment and no
reasonable jury could find that it amounted to a violation of
plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights.
incarcerated in the Philadelphia prison system from April 5,
2012 to July 18, 2013, plaintiff had a series of health
issues related to his prostate. Dkt. No. 30, Ex. B (Beard
Dep.) at 7:3-6 (giving the dates of his incarceration in
Philadelphia). After several in-prison doctors' visits
and an appointment with a urology specialist outside the
prison, plaintiff was scheduled to receive a biopsy on his
prostate with Dr. Walter Gerber of the Urological Consultants
of Southeastern Pennsylvania at Einstein
Hospital. On March 12, 2013, Dr. Gerber performed a
surgical biopsy. Dkt. No. 30, Ex. C, 50-56 (Prison Medical
Records March 12, 2013); Beard Dep. at 81:15-18.
the biopsy, plaintiff attempted to learn the results of the
test. Beard Dep. at 54:21- 18; 46:18-47:3. He requested the
results on April 23, 2013 by submitting a sick call request.
Beard Dep. at 55:2-18; Dkt. No. 30, Ex. E (Sick Call Request,
April 23, 2013). He saw a nurse two days later and again
inquired about the biopsy result. Dkt. No. 30, Ex. C, 66
(Prison Medical Record April 25, 2013). He was told that his
biopsy showed that his tissue was noncancerous. Id.;
Beard Dep. at 55:19-20.
3, 2013, plaintiff received a letter from Urological
Consultants of Southeastern Pennsylvania which stated that
the organization had been trying to get in touch with him by
phone. Beard Dep. at 49:4-10; Dkt. No. 30, Ex. F (Letter from
Urologic Consultants to Beard, May 24, 2013). The letter-a
form letter with blanks for plaintiff's name and the date
filled in by hand-explains that “[i]t is important to
be followed after a surgical procedure to prevent any
complications. Please call the office as soon as possible to
schedule a follow up appointment.” Id. On June
4 and 6, plaintiff managed to confront defendant Elmeada
Frias, a health services administrator, and show her the
letter. Dkt. No. 30, Ex. G, 1 (Phila. Prison System Inmate
Grievance Form, June 20, 2013). He asked her why he had not
been sent back to the hospital for his follow-up visit.
Id. She told him she would get back to him.
Id. On June 20, having still not received notice
that a follow-up appointment had been scheduled, plaintiff
filed an inmate grievance describing his encounters with
Frias and requesting to be seen by Dr. Gerber. Id.;
Beard Dep. at 14:9-20; 48:15-49:9.
2, Frias met with plaintiff to discuss his grievance. Dkt.
No. 30, Ex. G, 2 (Phila. Prison System Finding of the Inmate
Grievance, July 2, 2013); Beard Dep. at 14:20-15:19. She told
him she already had a copy of Dr. Gerber's letter
describing his need for a follow-up appointment. Beard Dep.
at 12:6-13. She claimed to have spoken with plaintiff's
doctor and told plaintiff that it might be difficult to
schedule his follow-up visit because he was soon to return to
state jail. Phila. Prison System Finding of the Inmate
Grievance, July 2, 2013; Beard Dep. at 14:20-15:1. The same
day, Dr. Blatt completed a referral form to request
plaintiff's follow-up appointment with Dr. Gerber. Dkt.
No. 30, Ex. C, 84 (Utilization Management Referral Review
Form, July 2, 2013).
appointment was scheduled for July 22, 2013. Dkt. No. 30, Ex.
C, 85 (Utilization Management Referral Form with Note, July
22, 2013). This was four days after plaintiff's scheduled
transfer out of the Philadelphia prison system. Beard Dep. at
100:6-11. Plaintiff was not told about this appointment.
Beard Dep. 97:20-98:2. After leaving the Philadelphia prison
system-and therefore leaving Corizon's care-plaintiff was
transferred to several different state and county jails and
prisons. Beard Dep. at 32:16-20, 100:12-15, 106:21-107:10,
108:10-19. On August 16, 2013, he met with a nurse and
explained that he had had prostate surgery and had not had a
follow-up appointment. Dkt. No. 30, Ex. H, 2 (Pa. Prison
System Medical Records, August 16, 2013). He ultimately
underwent prostate surgery on October 20, 2014. Beard Dep. at
109:8-110:6; Dkt. No. 30, Ex. H, (Pa. Prison System Medical
defendants' motion is unopposed, I must review the merits
of its motion to determine whether the defendants are
entitled to summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 56(c);
Blasi v. Attorney Gen., 30 F.Supp.2d 481, 484 (M.D.
Pa. 1998) (“[T]he district court may not grant a motion
for summary judgment . . . solely because the motion is
unopposed; such motions are subject to review for
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of
demonstrating that “there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary judgment
will be granted “against a party who fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A dispute as
to a material fact is genuine if “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Id. A fact is
“material” if it might affect the outcome of the
case under governing law. Id.
establish “that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed, ” a party must:
(A) cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) show[ ] that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce ...