United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DONALD P. BROWN, SR., Plaintiff,
KAREN MURPHY, Defendant.
Donald P. Brown, Sr., brings this prisoner civil rights
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the
defendant, Karen Murphy, acted with deliberate indifference
to his medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Because
there are no genuine issues of material fact and the
plaintiff has not put forth evidence sufficient for a
reasonable jury to reach a verdict in his favor, I will grant
the defendant's motion for summary judgment. This ruling
renders moot the defendant's motion to compel and the
plaintiff's requests for counsel and request for an
extension of time to obtain counsel. Since I have previously
dismissed the claims against all other defendants, this case
is now closed.
Brown fell from the top bunk of his bed at Chester County
Prison on June 15, 2015 and sustained injuries, including
“a concussion, sprained neck and shoulder as well as
the loss of two teeth and blood.” (Pl.'s Am. Compl.
1, Doc. No. 5.) He was transported to Chester County Hospital
for treatment. (Id.) At an unspecified time after
his return to prison from the hospital, Mr. Brown claims that
he requested medication from the defendant, who worked as a
prison nurse, but that she did not assist him. (Id.
at 3.) Mr. Brown asserts that Ms. Murphy's inaction
demonstrates deliberate indifference in violation of his
Eighth Amendment rights. (Id. at 3-4.)
time of her alleged indifference, the defendant was a nurse
employed by PrimeCare, a prison medical services contractor.
(Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ¶¶ 3-4, Doc. No. 35.)
In her motion for summary judgment, Ms. Murphy states that
she “had no interactions with Plaintiff” and bore
no responsibilities for his medical care during the relevant
time period. (Id. at ¶¶ 5, 69.)
Murphy avers that a physician's assistant at the prison
assessed Mr. Brown upon his return from the hospital on the
same day he suffered his injuries. (Id. at
¶¶ 22- 23 (referencing Ex. D).) During this
examination, according to prison medical records provided by
the defendant, Mr. Brown complained of minimal pain. He had
full range of motion, and the physician's assistant rated
his strength as a 4 out of 5. (Id. at ¶ 23
(referencing Ex. D).) The physician's assistant ordered
Ibuprofen. (Id. at Ex. D.)
Murphy additionally produced PrimeCare records of Mr.
Brown's sick call requests between June 15, 2015 (the
date of the incident) and his Sept.17, 2015 release from
prison. (Id. at ¶ 27 (referencing Ex. H).)
These sick call requests include: Mr. Brown's June 16
complaint of headache and right shoulder pain; a June 28
complaint of headache and neck and shoulder pain; a July 11
complaint of a broken tooth; a July 12 complaint of neck and
shoulder pain; an Aug. 15 complaint of neck and right
shoulder pain and headaches; an Aug. 24 headache complaint; a
Sept. 2 complaint of neck problems; a Sept. 10 complaint of a
bump on his head; and a Sept. 15 headache complaint.
(Id. at Ex. H.) All sick call requests were marked
as “tasked and triaged” by medical staff.
(Id.) Other defense exhibits provide more detailed
notations by medical caretakers regarding Mr. Brown's
condition and the medical care provided to him on at least
eight occasions within the three month period after his fall
from the top bunk. (Id. at Exs. G, K.) These records
collectively show that the plaintiff received extensive
medical care for his injuries after returning to prison from
the defendant states that in the course of the
plaintiff's medical care, “Nurse Murphy did not
have any interaction with Plaintiff and was not tasked with
providing Plaintiff care or treatment as it relates to his
alleged injury.” (Id. at ¶ 54.) Mr. Brown
does not provide any evidence to the contrary.
records provided by Ms. Murphy, her name is referenced only
one time-on a medical records request dated July 28, 2015, in
which the plaintiff stated that he previously made
“numerous” such requests for his records.
(Id. at ¶ 55, Ex. I.) Ms. Murphy states that
after his records request, the plaintiff was given a
memorandum, (Id. at Ex. I), outlining the procedure
for prisoners to obtain medical records and noting that
requests should not “go to Karen Murphy and/or any
other staff member in the medical department.”
(Id. at ¶ 54, Ex. I.)
Plaintiff initiated the present action by filing a complaint
against Chester County Prison, Terence Farrell, Edward
McFadden, Morgan Taylor, Karen Murphy, and PrimeCare Medical,
Inc. on June 27, 2016 (Doc. No. 4), followed by an amended
complaint on Aug. 1, 2016 (Doc. No. 5). On Aug. 15, 2016, I
dismissed any claims against Chester County Prison. (Doc. No.
6.) On Mar. 30, 2017, I dismissed with prejudice the claims
against Terence Farrell, Edward McFadden, and Morgan Taylor,
dismissed without prejudice the claims against PrimeCare
Medical, Inc., and denied Defendant Murphy's motion to
dismiss, leaving her as the sole remaining defendant in this
case. (Doc. No. 28.)
21, 2017, the defendant filed her motion for summary
judgment. (Doc. No. 35.) On Sept. 19, 2017, she filed a
motion to compel, stating that the plaintiff failed to
respond to multiple requests for information, including
requests for him to authorize his medical providers to
release his records. (Doc. No. 37.) On July 5, 2017 and Sept.
13, 2017, the plaintiff filed requests for counsel (Doc. Nos.
33, 36), though he remained on the Prisoner Civil Rights
Panel during that period of time. And on Oct. 5, 2017, the
plaintiff filed a request for an extension of time to obtain
counsel (Doc. No. 39).
shall grant summary judgment where “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). A
fact is “material” if it would affect the outcome
of the case under applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A disputed issue
is “genuine” if it would allow a reasonable
fact-finder to return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving
party. Id. Summary judgment is appropriate when the
nonmoving party fails to provide evidence “sufficient
to establish the existence of an ...