Ellis v. Corizon, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-00304-BLW

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Idaho
Writing for the CourtB. Lynn Winmill Chief U.S. District Court Judge
Decision Date30 November 2018
Docket NumberCase No. 1:15-cv-00304-BLW

NP SHAFFER, Defendants.

Case No. 1:15-cv-00304-BLW


November 30, 2018



Before the Court is Defendant Rona Siegert's1 ("Siegert") Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 97. The Court will also consider Kent Richard Ellis' ("Ellis") Motion for Leave to File Under Seal Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Siegert's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 101. The Court GRANTS Siegert's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 97) and DENIES IN PART and GRANTS IN PART Ellis' Motion for

Page 2

Leave to File Under Seal Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Siegert's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 101).

Also before the Court is an Amended Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Corizon, LLC, Dr. Murray Young, Nurse Practitioner Christian Gelok, Nurse Practitioner Scott Schaffer2, and Physician's Assistant Michael Takagi (collectively, "Corizon Defendants"). Dkt. 99. The Court will also consider Ellis' Motion for Leave to File Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Corizon, Et. Als' [sic] Motion for Summar [sic] Judgment Under Seal. Dkt. 104. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the Corizon Defendants' Amended Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 99) and DENIES IN PART and GRANTS IN PART Ellis' Motion for Leave to File Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Corizon, Et. Als' [sic] Motion for Summar [sic] Judgment Under Seal. Dkt. 104.


This section includes facts that are undisputed and material to the resolution of the issues in this case. Pursuant to District of Idaho Local Civil Rule 7.1(b)(1), Siegert filed a Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("Siegert Statement"). Dkt. No. 97-2. The Corizon Defendants also filed an Amended Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Corizon Statement"). Dkt. No. 99-2. In response to the Siegert Statement, Ellis filed a Disputed

Page 3

Statement of Material Facts. Dkt. No. 102-12. And, in response to the Corizon Statement, Ellis filed a separate Disputed Statement of Material Facts. Dkt. No. 105-10. The Court will note the areas where Ellis disputes facts appearing in the Siegert Statement and the Corizon Statement. It will accept as true Ellis' version of the disputed facts for purposes of this decision.

1. Ellis' Patient History

Ellis complains that Siegert and the Corizon Defendants consistently ignored and misdiagnosed an injury to his lower back and right hip. Ellis was injured during a game of pick-up basketball in late November or early December of 2006, while he was an inmate at the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Texas. Dkt. 102-11 at ¶ 5; Dkt. 105-10 at ¶ 2. Ellis was transported to the medical unit at the time of his injury and was prescribed crutches, which he used for a couple of weeks. Dkt. 99-4 at 18, Deposition Transcript of Kent Ellis ("Ellis Depo."), p. 66:8-17. Ellis also received an x-ray. Dkt. 99-4 at 18, Ellis Depo., p. 66:18-67:23.

Roughly 20 months later, on August 27, 2008, Ellis complained to the medical staff in Texas about pain in his hip related to his basketball injury. Dkt. 99-9 at 17. The medical staff member noted that Mr. Ellis had tenderness along his right hip and pain associated with his full range of motion. Dkt. 99-9 at 17. The staff member ordered that Ellis be referred to a doctor3 for further evaluation and prescribed Tylenol for ten days.

Page 4

Dkt. 99-9 at 17. Ellis was transferred back to Idaho on September 30, 2008. Dkt. 99-8 at 35. No injury or issues related to Ellis' lower back or hip were noted on his Medical Information Transfer Form. Dkt. 99-9 at 39.

On October 15, 2008, just fifteen days after arriving in Idaho from Texas, Ellis complained to medical personnel about lower back pain related to his basketball injury. Dkt. 99-8 at 34. He was prescribed ibuprofen along with a muscle relaxer (Dkt. 99-8 at 34) and told to follow up in thirty days (Dkt. 99-8 at 34). Sixty-one days later, on December 2, 2008, Ellis was seen by Nurse Practitioner David Foss for complaints about lower back and right hip pain. Dkt. 99-8 at 33. N.P. Foss physically examined Ellis but did not find any abnormalities with Ellis' spine or reflexes. Dkt. 99-8 at 33. Nevertheless, N.P. Foss ordered an x-ray of Ellis' lumbar, spine, right hip, sacrum, and coccyx. Dkt. 99-8 at 33; Dkt. 99-9 at 12. Examining the x-ray, the radiologist found evidence of early degenerative articular cartilage loss, minimal disc space narrowing at L5-S1, and marginal osteophytosis at L4-5. Dkt. 99-9 at 12. The sacrum, pubic symphysis, and SI joints appeared normal. Dkt. 99-9 at 12.4

On August 2, 2009, roughly nine months after Ellis was examined by N.P. Foss, he filled out a health service request form asking for medication for his back pain. Dkt.

Page 5

99-7 at 22. Eleven days later, on August 13, 2009, Ellis was seen by P.A. Michael Takagi. Dkt. 99-8 at 32. During that visit, Ellis complained about back pain arising from a fall on the basketball court. Dkt. 99-8 at 32. P.A. Takagi examined Ellis and prescribed ibuprofen, after finding that Ellis had normal reflexes and appeared to be well functioning. Dkt. 99-8 at 32; Dkt. 99-9 at 10. P.A. Takagi offered to have Ellis relieved from work duty, but Ellis declined. Dkt. 99-8 at 32; Dkt. 97-5 at 30, Ellis Depo., p. 95:10-16.

From August 13, 2009 to October 21, 2011, the only specific complaint made by Ellis regarding pain in his lower back or hip came on September 21, 2010 when he reported on a facility transfer form that he had chronic pain in his back, which he rated as 6/10. Dkt. 99-6 at 5. During that period, he attempted to continue to "play several sports [after] the injury" even though his ability to do so was "diminished in a lot of ways." Dkt. 97-5 at 30, Ellis Dep. 96:23-97:13. During a softball game in June 2011, Ellis tore his rotator cuff, for which he underwent surgery on October 3, 2012. Dkt. 99-7 at 43.

At the same time he was receiving treatment for his shoulder, Ellis completed a health service request regarding pain in his lower back and hip on October 21, 2013. Dkt. 99-7 at 15. After being seen by a nurse practitioner on November 4, 2013, an x-ray of Ellis' pelvis and right hip was ordered, along with physical therapy. Dkt. 99-8 at 22. Ellis continued to receive physical therapy, and on December 13, 2013, N.P. Schaffer followed up with Ellis about his x-ray results, which showed mild degenerative change in

Page 6

Ellis' right hip, but little interval change compared to the x-ray performed on Ellis in 2008. Dkt. 99-6 at 6; Dkt. 99-8 at 20.

Ellis subsequently complained on March 2, 2014 that he was continuing to experience pain in the right side of his back and right hip despite physical therapy and the medications he had been prescribed. Dkt. 99-7 at 13-14. Ellis received a steroid injection on March 21, 2014, Dkt. 99-8 at 16, and, despite reporting some initial relief, subsequently complained again on May 19, 2014 that he was still in pain. Dkt. 99-6 at 46. On May 30, 2014, Ellis saw N.P. Schaffer, who referred Ellis for an appointment with Regional Medical Director Dr. Murray Young. Dkt. 99-8 at 14-15.

Dr. Young examined Ellis on June 11, 2014. Dkt. 99-8 at 13. Noting that Ellis was experiencing pain in his hip area, Dr. Young referred Ellis to Dr. Roman Schwartsman, an offsite orthopedic surgeon. Dkt. 99-8 at 13. Dr. Schwartsman examined Ellis on June 30, 2014. Dkt. 99-7 at 38. After noting that the x-rays in Ellis' right hip and pelvis showed moderate degenerative changes, Dr. Schwartsman recommended an MRI. Dkt. 99-7 at 38. The MRI was subsequently requested by N.P. Gelok after a follow-up appointment with Ellis on July 11, 2014. Dkt. 99-7 at 36-37. Initially, Dr. Young denied the request for an MRI on July 24, 2014. Dkt. 99-7 at 36. But, the MRI was approved less than a month later (Dkt. 99-2 at ¶ 30) and was completed on September 18, 2014. According to Dr. Dallas Peck, the first radiologist to review the MRI, the MRI revealed "moderate right hip joint degenerative change" but no evidence of a ligament tear. Dkt. 99-7 at 35.

Page 7

Ellis subsequently met with N.P. Gelok on October 1 and December 4, 2014. Dkt. 99-8 at 9, 11. On February 5, 2015, Dr. Schwartsman wrote a note indicating that he disagreed with Dr. Peck's assessment of the damage in Ellis' hip as "moderate." Dkt. 99-7 at 26. In Dr. Schwartsman's opinion, the degenerative change was severe, and a labral tear was present. Dkt. 99-7 at 26. Dr. Schwartsman subsequently spoke with a different radiologist, Dr. Shane McGonegle, who agreed with Dr. Schwartsman's diagnosis. Dkt. 99-7 at 28-29. On February 5, 2015, Dr. McGonegle prepared an addendum to the original MRI report stating that the MRI showed severe degeneration in the right hip and a significantly torn labrum. Dkt. 99-7 at 28-29. On April 30, 2015, N.P. Gelok met with Ellis to inform him about the addendum and ordered a total right hip arthroplasty, which Dr. Schwartsman performed on June 8, 2015. Dkt. 99-6 at 34; Dkt. 99-8 at 7.

2. Siegert's Job Responsibilities And Oversight Of The Corizon Defendants' Treatment Of Mr. Ellis

Siegert is a registered nurse with over 40 years of experience. Dkt. 97-6 at ¶ 2. For the last ten years Siegert has been employed as the Health Services Director by the Idaho Department of Corrections ("IDOC"). Dkt. 97-6 at ¶ 2, 3. As Health Services Director for IDOC, Siegert does not provide direct medical care to inmates (Dkt. 97-6 at ¶ 4, 9), except in the event of "fire, riot, or similar disturbances" in which case she is responsible for "direct[ing] and coordinat[ing]" emergency medical services. Dkt. 102-2. Instead, Siegert oversees and assesses the effectiveness of IDOC's delivery of healthcare services to inmates. Dkt. 102-12 at ¶ 3; Dkt. 102-2. The majority of medical care provided to inmates by IDOC is delivered through Corizon. Dkt. 97-6 at ¶ 3.

Page 8

As part of her supervision of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT