Williams v. Bailey

Decision Date01 February 2021
Docket NumberNO. 0:19-CV-131-DCR-MAS,0:19-CV-131-DCR-MAS
PartiesRODERICK WILLIAMS, Plaintiff, v. JARROD BAILEY, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Kentucky

This matter is before the undersigned pursuant to the district court's referral under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) to prepare proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law on any dispositive motion. [DE 28]. The remaining defendant in this case, Jarrod Bailey ("Bailey"), filed a motion for summary judgment on November 11, 2020. [DE 35]. Despite the Court's warning in its August 7, 2020 Order that "[f]ailure to respond to a motion shall be grounds for the Court to conclude that any arguments in opposition to the motion have been waived[,]" pro se Plaintiff Roderick Williams ("Williams") failed to respond to the motion for summary judgment. [DE 34 at Page ID # 276]. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends Bailey's motion be granted.


This case arises from Williams' claims that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated during his incarceration at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex ("EKCC"). Williams alleges he injured his knee playing basketball at EKCC on November 28, 2018. [DE 1 at Page ID # 4]. He states EKCC subsequently sent him to Morgan County ARH Hospital, where he had an X-ray and hospital staff told him he had a "facture[d] chip bone." [DE 1 at Page ID # 4]. Williams alleges Bailey, a physical therapist assistant at EKCC, provided him physical therapy twice per week at EKCC. [DE 1 at Page ID 5]. Williams' physical therapy began on January 10, 2019, after an evaluation on January 8, 2019. [DE 35-1 at Page ID Williams claims that while he told Bailey he "felt progress", he repeatedly asked for Bailey to "put [him] in for [an] MRI to see" if Williams had "any ligament damage or joint damage and his response was, 'you only dealing with "arthritis" that what happen when you a [sic] injury.'" [DE 1 at Page ID # 5]. Williams attended physical therapy with Bailey until his discharge from treatment by Bailey's supervisor on March 5, 2019. [DE 37 at Page ID # 509]. Williams' discharge from physical therapy reflected he had "met all goals" and had current pain at "0/10" with the pain at the worst being "3-4/10." [DE 37 at Page ID # 509].

Between March and September 2019, Williams had fallen again and re-injured the same knee. Ultimately, Williams did obtain magnetic resonance imaging ("MRI") of his knee on September 11, 2019, that revealed a tear in his lateral meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament. [DE 37 at Page ID # 524]. Williams filed a grievance on September 24, 2019, asking that he receive more medical treatment for his injured knee. The grievance was informally resolved when EKCC referred Williams to an orthopedic surgeon in October 2019. [DE 35-3 at Page ID # 323]. Williams filed this lawsuit in December 2019. [DE 1].

Defendant Bailey now moves the Court for judgment as a matter of law on the claims against him because Williams failed to administratively exhaust them, and even if he did, Bailey was not deliberately indifferent to Williams' serious medical needs.


Summary judgment is appropriate when citation to facts in the court record, including depositions, documents, affidavits, admissions, and other material, demonstrate there are nogenuine issues of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1987). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. The non-moving party may not "rely on subjective beliefs to show a genuine dispute" nor may they "defeat summary judgment by conclusory responses." ACLU v. Mercer County, 240 F. Supp.2d 623, 625 (E.D. Ky. 2003). Moreover, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). In determining whether the "evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law[,]" the Court must review the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Booker v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., 879 F.2d 1304, 1310 (6th Cir. 1989); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.


Bailey argues Williams failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), because Williams did not specifically name Bailey in his prison grievances. Thus, according to Bailey, he was deprived fair notice of Williams' complaints against him. In support of this argument, Bailey attached Williams' grievance form and EKCC's grievance policy. [DE 35-2, 35-3, and 35-4]. EKCC's grievance policy requires the aggrieved prisoner to "include all aspects of the issue and identify all individuals [. . .] so that all problems concerning the issue or individuals may be dealt with during step 1." [DE 35-4 at Page ID # 334].

Williams did not specifically mention Bailey in his grievance. Williams' only potential reference to Bailey was in the following sentence: "I been going to medical letting it be knownthat my knee is still giving me problem and also talk to the physical therapy letting them know it's not getting any better and their response was 'that it's arthritis' which not true from the results from my MRI." [DE 35-3 at Page ID # 323]. This statement was insufficient to put Bailey on notice that Williams was making allegations against him, individually. See Vandiver v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., 326 F. App'x 885, 890 (6th Cir. 2009) (affirming district court's dismissal of claims against defendants not named in prison grievance where prison policy required each defendant to be named specifically in the grievance); Cf., Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218-19 (2007)(concluding "that exhaustion is not per se inadequate simply because an individual later sued was not named in the grievances" where the prison grievance procedures "make no mention of naming particular officials" because "it is the prison's requirements, and not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper exhaustion.").

Accordingly, the Court finds that Williams' claims against Bailey should be dismissed for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the PLRA. Because the Court also—and alternatively—finds Williams' claims against Bailey substantively lacking, the Court provides an analysis of his deliberate indifference claims below.


"[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,' proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976) (quoting Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 173 (1976)). Such a claim states a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. "To succeed on such a claim, a plaintiff must show: 1) he had a serious medical need; and 2) a defendant was aware of that need, and acted with deliberate indifference to it." Shough v. Management &Training Corp., 2018 WL 295576, at *8 (N.D. Ohio 2018).

1. Serious Medical Need

A "serious medical need" is an objective component to an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim. "A serious medical need is one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention." Gunther v. Castineta, 561 Fed. App'x. 497, 499 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting Harrison v. Ash, 539 F.3d 510, 518 (6th Cir. 2008)). Stated differently, "a medical need is serious if the average person would surely deem it to be one that required professional treatment." Id. at 500.

Bailey only argues that he did not act with deliberate indifference. The fact that EKCC sent Williams to the hospital immediately after his injury, kept him in medical housing for a approximately one moth after his release from the hospital, and provided him physical therapy appointments twice per week for about seven weeks, plus Bailey's apparent concession of the point, leads the Court to conclude that Williams had a serious medical need that had been diagnosed by a physician. Consequently, the Court finds that Williams satisfied this prong of the deliberate indifference analysis.

2. Deliberate Indifference

In contrast to the objectivity that applies to whether an inmate had a "serious medical need," the "deliberate indifference" prong of Williams' claim is measured subjectively. "Deliberate indifference requires a degree of culpability greater than mere negligence, but less than acts or omissions for the very purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm will result." Miller v. Calhoun Cty., 408 F.3d 803, 813 (6th Cir. 2005) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

Bailey supported his motion for summary judgment with Williams' medical records from the relevant period. [DE 37]. These records reveal Bailey administered physical therapy on Williams on ten occasions between January 10, 2019, and February 28, 2019. [DE 37]. Inaddition, Bailey evaluated Williams on January 8, 2019, prior to commencing treatment, and Bailey's supervisor assessed and discharged Williams from physical therapy on March 5, 2019. [DE 37 at Page ID # 509]. Williams avers that during these physical therapy appointments, he repeatedly requested that Bailey refer him for an MRI and that Bailey was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs by failing to do so. Bailey does not contest Williams' allegation that he requested an MRI, but rather that Bailey did not deny or delay providing Williams adequate medical treatment. The Court agrees.

Williams, by his failure to respond to the motion for summary judgment, has not offered any facts or...

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