Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Curanovic v. Houchin

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

August 15, 2019

EDWARD CURANOVIC, Plaintiff,
v.
JESSICA HOUCHIN, R.N., MS. WILSON, P.A., LT. DUVALL, DR. ANDERSON, M.D., M. WEAVER, Medical Administrator, ANGELA P. DUNBAR, Regional Director, JENNIFER SAAD, Warden and IAN CONNERS, Adm. National Inmate Appeals, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE, OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS AND DISMISSING CIVIL ACTION WITH PREJUDICE

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Background

         The pro se[1] plaintiff, Edward Curanovic, filed this civil action asserting claims under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against current FCI Gilmer employees Michael Weaver, Health Services Administrator; Lieutenant W. Duvall; Staff Physician Eddie Anderson; Physician Assistant (“P.A.”) Alicia Wilson; Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic Jessica Houchin; and FCI Gilmer Warden J. Saad. The plaintiff also names Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) staff members Angela Dunbar, who is BOP's Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, and Ian Connors, BOP's National Inmate Appeals Administrator.[2] ECF Nos. 7 and 10. In his complaint and amended complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants “violated [Bureau of Prisons] Policy and acted with ‘deliberate indifference' to a serious medical situation.” ECF No. 7-1 at 8-11, 12; ECF No. 10 at 8-9 (emphasis omitted). Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that defendant Weaver instructed defendant Houchin, a nurse, to give him a steroid shot after he fell off his bunk to the floor, and after he was later transported to receive medical treatment. Id. The plaintiff states that:

[w]hen the steroid shot did not help, Houchin and Weaver both refused further medical attention and did not take Plaintiff to the Hospital. Weaver ordered Plaintiff to get up, get in the wheelchair, and to go back to the housing unit. Because Plaintiff was unable to move, thus not complying with Weaver's order Weaver had Lt. Duvall and 3 other unknown officers take Plaintiff to solitary confinement [Special Housing Unit] (SHU). Weaver also filed an Incident Report against Plaintiff for failing to comply with a direct order . . . During the first three (3) days in the (SHU), Plaintiff due to severe back spasms, couldn't eat, sleep, and get up to receive medications. Plaintiff urinated and defecated on himself and was unable to clean himself. Roughly the Fifth day in the (SHU) Dr. Anderson visited Plaintiff and refused to take Plaintiff to the hospital. Plaintiff was released from the (SHU) 10 days after the medical emergency.

ECF No. 10 at 8-9.

         The plaintiff also makes another claim in his complaint based on an alleged delay in treatment. Id. at 9. Specifically, the plaintiff states that United States District Court Judge Vernon S. Broderick stated that the plaintiff needed to see a medical professional; however, the defendants did not schedule surgery for the plaintiff. Id. The plaintiff seeks “$5.7 million dollars in damages” and a back fusion. Id. at 10.

         The plaintiff then filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. ECF No. 37. In that motion, the plaintiff states that there is a strong likelihood that he will prevail in this action, and that he has met all the elements for a preliminary injunction. Id. at 2-4. Moreover, the plaintiff indicates that a final consultation to operate on his back has been scheduled, and that he has continued to suffer due to his back condition. Id. at 2-3. The plaintiff seeks an order that requires the BOP to perform the back operation. Id. at 3.

         The defendants filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, a motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 44. The defendants first contend that the plaintiff cannot establish that they were deliberately indifferent to his medical condition, because the plaintiff fails to establish the objective and subjective components of the deliberate indifference standard under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. ECF No. 45-1 at 16-22. Specifically, the plaintiff cannot show that his condition was not timely, properly treated, or the requisite culpable state of mind of any of the defendants. Id. Second, the defendants state that neither the plaintiff's placement in the SHU nor the conditions of the SHU violates the Eight Amendment since the plaintiff cannot establish that the conditions in the SHU resulted in serious physical or emotional injuries or the grave risk of such harm. Id. at 22-23. Third, the defendants assert that there is no due process violation since: (1) the plaintiff has no constitutional right to be free from administrative detention in the SHU and (2) the plaintiff's placement in the SHU is neither a condition which exceeded his sentence in an unexpected manner nor one which created an atypical or significant hardship in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life. Id. at 25-26. Fourth, the defendants note that the plaintiff makes no specific allegations against defendants Dunbar, Saad, or Connors; and therefore, they must be dismissed as defendants. Id. at 26. Fifth, the defendants assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity since the plaintiff failed to establish deliberate indifference on the part of the staff, but rather the plaintiff disagrees with the type of treatment he was provided. Id. at 27. Moreover, the defendants state that defendants Dunbar and Saad cannot be held liable based on a respondeat superior theory of liability, since the plaintiff fails to explain how they were directly involved in any alleged unconstitutional actions. Id. at 28. Further, the defendants indicate that just because the signatures of defendants Dunbar, Saad, and Connors appear on the BOP's responses to the plaintiff's administrative remedy requests does not mean that the plaintiff can sustain an action against them, since their involvement relates only to the administrative remedy process. Id. at 28-29.

         The plaintiff then filed what is titled as “Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Summary Judgement and in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement.” ECF No. 82. The plaintiff attaches what is titled as “Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts Genuinely in Dispute.” ECF No. 82-1.

         In that attachment, the plaintiff states that defendants Weaver, Anderson, and Houchin violated BOP policy and acted with deliberate indifference:

by intentionally denying the Plaintiff proper medical attention by refusing to take the plaintiff to the hospital because of staff shortage and when Weaver wrote an incident report and placed the plaintiff in the [SHU] for 10 days because the Plaintiff could not stand up and go back to his unit due to severe lower back spasms related to Plaintiff's significant back condition and worsening back pain . . . Clearly, this is intentional cruel and unusual punishment.

Id. at 6 (emphasis omitted).

         The plaintiff also attaches what is titled as “Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts as to which there is No. Genuine Dispute.” ECF No. 82-2. As a third attachment, the plaintiff filed what is titled as “Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Summary Judgement and in Opposition to Defendants Motion to Dismiss and to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgement.” ECF No. 82-3. In the memorandum, the plaintiff asserts that he has established deliberate indifference to his medical condition since the defendants “intentionally denied and delayed the plaintiff's access to proper medical care and Lumbar Fusion Surgery and intentionally interfered with treatment prescribed by Neurosurgeon Dr. Marsh.” Id. at 5 (emphasis omitted). The plaintiff states that he “could show that his serious medical condition was not timely or properly treated.” Id. at 7-9. The plaintiff then asserts that his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated when defendants Weaver, Anderson, and Houchin “acted with deliberate indifference by intentionally denying the plaintiff access to proper medical care as it relates to plaintiffs serious medical needs and by placing plaintiff in the SHU instead of taking plaintiff to the hospital.” Id. at 9 (emphasis omitted); see Id. at 9-16. Moreover, the plaintiff alleges that defendant Dunbar acted with deliberate indifference to his medical condition by indicating that the plaintiff was seen by medical personnel and that he refused to go back to his housing unit. Id. at 17. Similarly, the plaintiff states that defendant Saad showed deliberate indifference by failing to investigate his alleged medical emergency or any issues related to this medical emergency, noting that defendant Saad is “in charge of [ ] day to day operations.” Id. at 18. Moreover, the plaintiff states that defendant Connors was personally involved in the delay of medical treatment since he “concurred in the findings of [defendants] Saad and [ ] Dunbar's opinions.” Id. at 18-19.

         The plaintiff then filed a motion to intervene. ECF No. 83. In that motion, the plaintiff states that the defendants have refused to take him to surgery and that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.