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Jackson v. Corizon Health, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 16, 2019

TYREE JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          GENE E.K. PRATTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         July 16, 2019 Tyree Jackson is a prisoner with chronic intestinal illnesses. For five months in 2015, he was temporarily transferred from federal prison to city custody in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility ("CFCF"). Mr. Jackson alleges that Corizon Health, Inc., CFCF's medical provider, failed to address his medical needs because it had a policy or custom of delaying medical treatment when an inmate was about to be transferred out of CFCF. Mr. Jackson claims that these delays and his inadequate medical treatment caused him to suffer severe symptoms, lose 60 pounds, and undergo invasive surgery. He asserts one Eighth Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1]

         Corizon now moves for summary judgment, arguing that Mr. Jackson's § 1983 claim should be dismissed for four reasons:

1) Mr. Jackson cannot establish that Corizon maintained a policy or custom approved by a final policymaker concerning the delay of treatment to prisoners who were about to be transferred out of CFCF;
2) Mr. Jackson did not exhaust his claims as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act;
3) Mr. Jackson cannot establish deliberate indifference; and 4) Mr. Jackson cannot establish that the defendants' actions, or inactions, caused his constitutional injury.

         The Court need only address Corizon's first argument. To survive summary judgment on a § 1983 claim against a private health company providing services to inmates, like Corizon, a plaintiff must "provide evidence that there was a relevant... policy or custom, and that the policy caused the constitutional violation [he] allege[s]." See Natale v. Camden Cty, Corr. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 583-84 (3d Cir. 2003). As Mr. Jackson's counsel conceded during oral argument on Corizon's Motion for Summary Judgment, there is no evidence on the record suggesting that Corizon maintained a policy or custom of delaying treatment when an inmate was about to be transferred out of CFCF. Therefore, the Court will grant Corizon's Motion for Summary Judgment and dismiss Mr. Jackson's remaining claim.

         Background

         Mr. Jackson has suffered from Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and gastrointestinal reflux disease for over thirty years. Exh. D. to Corizon's Mot. for Sum. J. (hereinafter Mr. Jackson's Deposition Tr.) at 23:23-24:23. Prior to Mr. Jackson's relevant period of incarceration, gastroenterologist Dr. Farzana Rashid of the Perm Presbyterian Medical Center treated Mr. Jackson's conditions. Id. at 33:25-34:11.

         Mr. Jackson was placed in federal custody for aggravated identity theft and passport fraud in 2014. Id. at 19:23-23:22. He was transferred to CFCF, a Philadelphia County prison, on June 19, 2015 and remained there until November 12, 2015. See Exhibit C to Corizon's Mot. for Sum. J. (hereinafter Medical Records) at 1-2.

         While detained at CFCF, Mr. Jackson was seen by Corizon medical staff over twenty times concerning his intestinal issues, including for complaints of abdominal pain, constipation, and blood in his stool. The medical records show that Mr. Jackson was examined, given diagnostic tests-including x-rays and blood work-provided medications (although not always the medications he preferred), and sent out to hospitals for treatment and additional diagnostic testing on several occasions when his symptoms intensified. For example,

• Mr. Jackson was sent to Aria Hospital's emergency room following complaints of abdominal pain and vomiting on July 27, 2015. Mr. Jackson underwent a CT scan, the results were "unremarkable," and Mr. Jackson was discharged. See Medical Records at 135-43.
• After Mr. Jackson's July visit to the ER, Dr. Bruce Blatt-who was Mr. Jackson's primary treating physician within CFCF, see Mr. Jackson's Deposition Tr. at 132:8-20[2]-scheduled an appointment for Mr. Jackson to see Dr. Rashid at Perm Presbyterian on September 9. See Medical Records at 332.
• Mr. Jackson was sent to Perm Presbyterian after complaining of abdominal pain and constipation on August 25. After another CT scan and more "unremarkable" lab work, Mr. Jackson was discharged. The discharge papers state that Mr. Jackson was instructed "to follow up with his PCP and ...

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