United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION AND ORDER 
Paradise Baxter United States Magistrate Judge
Relevant Procedural History
20, 2015, Plaintiff Tyree Lawson, an inmate incarcerated at
the State Correctional Institution at Forest in Marienville,
Pennsylvania ("SCI-Forest"), filed this
pro se civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, against Defendant Doctor Biggins, a dentist at
SCI-Forest [ECF No. 3]. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
refused to provide medical treatment for an abscess on the
upper gum line of his mouth that "would erupt throughout
the day causing a yellowish-white liquid matter to discharge
into his mouth and involuntarily swallowed." (ECF No. 3,
Complaint, at ¶ 6). As a result, Plaintiff claims that
Defendant was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical
needs in violation of his rights under the eighth amendment
to the United States Constitution. As relief for his claims,
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
filed an answer to the complaint on December 11, 2015, and
the parties completed discovery on March 31, 2016. On August
2, 2016, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment [ECF
No. 19] arguing that Plaintiff has failed to state an Eighth
Amendment claim as a matter of law. In response, Plaintiff
has filed an "objection" to Defendant's motion
and a counter-motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 25], as
well as a brief in opposition to Defendant's motion and
in support of Plaintiff's counter-motion [ECF No. 26].
This matter is now ripe for consideration.
Relevant Factual History 
January 11, 2012, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant for a sick
call, complaining that a root canal he had done in 2004 was
acting up. (ECF No. 21, Defendant's Concise Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts, at ¶ 5). Defendant conducted
an oral examination and took x-rays, which revealed that the
former root canal on "tooth #13" was failing
"due to appearance of apical abscess and a fistulous
tract relieving that abscess." (Id. at ¶
6). Defendant recommended extraction of the tooth, but
Plaintiff insisted that he wanted to keep it, so Defendant
offered to redo the root canal in an effort to resolve the
abscess. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-8). Plaintiff agreed
to have the root canal redone, and the procedure was
performed on January 31, 2012. (Id. at ¶¶
September 10, 2013, x-rays of Plaintiff's teeth were
taken, which revealed that tooth #13 had a small fistula
remaining from the axillary canal laterally to the back of
the root; thus, a curette of the area was recommended.
(Id. at ¶¶ 27, 29-30). On September 23,
2013, the small fistula of tooth #13 was curetted and
Plaintiff was advised by Defendant that if pain symptoms
persisted, extraction of the tooth was recommended.
(Id. at ¶¶ 32-34). Plaintiff had a
follow-up visit with Defendant on October 9, 2013, at which
time the fistula was gone and was not symptomatic.
(Id. at ¶ 36).
October 11, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request
stating that he had been suffering from irritating pain and a
"puss [sic] bump which constantly drain[ed] into [his]
mouth from [his] upper left gum line…." (ECF No.
28-2 at p. 2). Plaintiff was seen by Defendant on October 16,
2014, at which time Plaintiff reported "a bump above
root canal had pus and now it is gone." (ECF No. 21, at
¶ 38). Defendant ordered an x-ray of tooth #13 which
showed good resolution; tooth #13 was found asymptomatic and
the fistulous tract was healed and did not exist.
(Id. at ¶¶ 39-40). Defendant advised
Plaintiff that extraction of the tooth was the next course of
action if Plaintiff experienced problems in the future, and
Plaintiff reiterated that he did not want to lose the tooth.
(Id. at ¶ 41). Although Plaintiff claims that
he continued to experience pain and symptoms from the abscess
through March 2015, he never submitted another sick call
request for dental care after his appointment on October 16,
2014. (Id. at ¶ 46).
Standards of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
shall be granted if the “movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Under Rule
56, the district court must enter summary judgment 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). Summary judgment may be granted
when no “reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (19896). “[A] party
seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at
323 quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
moving party has the initial burden of proving to the
district court the absence of evidence supporting the
non-moving party's claims. Celotex, 477 U.S. at
330. See also Andreoli v. Gates, 482 F.3d 641, 647
(3d Cir. 2007); UPMC Health System v. Metropolitan Life
Ins. Co., 391 F.3d 497, 502 (3d Cir. 2004). When a
non-moving party would have the burden of proof at trial, the
moving party has no burden to negate the opponent's
claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The moving party
need not produce any evidence showing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 325.
“Instead, … the burden on the moving party may
be discharged by ‘showing' - that is, pointing out
to the district court - that there is an absence of evidence
to support the nonmoving party's case.”
Id. After the moving party has satisfied this low
burden, the nonmoving party must provide facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial to avoid summary judgment.
Id. at 324. “Rule 56(e) permits a proper
summary judgment motion to be opposed by any of the kinds of
evidentiary materials listed in Rule 56(c), except the mere
pleadings themselves.” Id. See also
Saldana v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir.
2001); Garcia v. Kimmell, 2010 WL 2089639, at * 1
(3d Cir. 2010) quoting Podobnik v. U.S. Postal
Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 594 (3d Cir. 2005) (the non-moving
party “must present more than just bare assertions,
conclusory allegations or suspicions to show the existence of
a genuine issue.”).
considering these evidentiary materials, “courts are
required to view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in
the light most favorable to the party opposing the summary
judgment motion.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 378 (2007) (internal quotation marks and alterations
omitted). See also Doe v. Cnty. of Centre, Pa., 242
F.3d 437, 446 (3d Cir. 2001) (when applying this standard,
the court must examine the ...