United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
MICHAEL A. BROWN, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL MCCLURE, M.D., PhD, BRYN MARCUS, and K. JOHNSON, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. BARBER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Defendants Michael
McClure, Bryn Marcus, and Kelly Johnson's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. #92) filed on January 11, 2019.
Plaintiff filed his Opposition Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. #107) on April 26, 2019. For the reasons set forth
below, the Motion is granted.
judgment is appropriate only when the Court is satisfied that
"there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "An issue of fact is
'genuine' if the record taken as a whole could lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party."
Baby Buddies, Inc. v. Toys "R" Us, Inc.,
611 F.3d 1308, 1314 (11th Cir. 2010). A fact is
"material" if it may affect the outcome of the suit
under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "A court must
decide '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.'" Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm
Co., Inc., 357 F.3d 1256, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251).
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court views all
evidence and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380
(2007); Tana v. Dantanna's, 611 F.3d 767, 772
(11th Cir. 2010). However, "if reasonable minds might
differ on the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then
the court should deny summary judgment." St. Charles
Foods, Inc. v. America's Favorite Chicken Co., 198
F.3d 815, 819 (11th Cir. l999)(quoting Warrior Tombigbee
Transp. Co. v. M/V Nan Fung, 695 F.2d 1294, 1296-97
(11th Cir. l983)(finding summary judgment "may be
inappropriate even where the parties agree on the basic
facts, but disagree about the factual inferences that should
be drawn from these facts")). "If a reasonable fact
finder evaluating the evidence could draw more than one
inference from the facts, and if that inference introduces a
genuine issue of material fact, then the court should not
grant summary judgment." Allen v. Bd. of Pub.
Educ, 495 F.3d 1306, 1315 (11th Cir. 2007).
who is incarcerated within the Florida Department of
Corrections, initiated this action by filing a pro
se civil rights complaint form under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Doc. #1). Plaintiff is proceeding on his Second
Amended Complaint (Doc. # 60), filed on January 26, 2016.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants McClure, Marcus, and
Johnson violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from
cruel and unusual punishment by knowingly and intentionally
failing to treat his depression and suicidal tendencies.
(Id. at 13). Plaintiff attempted suicide on three
different occasions. (Id. at 13-14). Defendants
McClure, Marcus, and Johnson were healthcare providers at
Charlotte Correctional Institution (CCI) during Plaintiffs
attempted suicides. (Id. at 13).
brings three counts against all Defendants alleging that
Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights: Count I,
deliberate indifference to Plaintiffs medical needs; Count
II, discrimination against Plaintiff by deliberate
indifference to his medical needs while under close
management; Count III, pain and suffering caused by
Defendant's deliberate indifference to suicidal
tendencies. Defendants argue they are entitled to summary
judgment because Plaintiff merely disputes Defendants'
I Deliberate Indifference
have the right "to receive medical treatment for illness
and injuries, which encompasses a right to psychiatric and
mental health care, and a right to be protected from
self-inflicted injuries, including suicide." Cook ex
rel. Estate of Tessier v. Sheriff of Monroe County,
Fla., 402 F.3d 1092, 1115 (11th Cir.2005) (quoting
Hamm v. DeKalb County, 114 F.2d 1567, 1574 (11th
Cir.1985)). "Because jail suicides are analogous to the
failure to provide medical care, deliberate indifference has
become the barometer by which suicide cases involving
convicted prisoners as well as pretrial detainees are
tested." Rolle v. Brevard Cty., Fla., No.
606CV-714-ORL-19JGG, 2007 WL 328682, at *6 (M.D. Fla. Jan.
31, 2007) (quoting Edwards v. Gilbert, 867 F.2d
1271, 1274-75 (11th Cir.1989). To establish an Eighth
Amendment violation for failure to protect against
self-inflicted injuries, a prisoner must show that the prison
official(s) displayed deliberate indifference to the
prisoner's threat of taking of his own life. Cook ex
rel. Estate of Tessier, 402 F.3d at 1115.
establish deliberate indifference, a plaintiff must show that
he had an "objectively serious medical need."
Id. 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."
Id. (citations omitted). "The medical need must
be one that, if left unattended, pos[es] a substantial risk
of serious harm." Id.
"to establish a defendant's deliberate indifference,
the plaintiff has to show that the defendant had '(1)
subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm; [and] (2)
disregarded]... that risk; (3) by conduct that is more than
mere negligence.'" Cagle v. Sutherland, 334
F.3d 980 (11th Cir.2003) (quoting McElligott v.
Foley, 182 F.3d 1248, 1255 (11th Cir.1999)).
"Whether a particular defendant has subjective knowledge
of the risk of serious harm is a question of fact
'subject to demonstration in the usual ways, including
inference from circumstantial evidence, and a factfinder may
conclude that a prison official knew of a substantial risk
from the very fact that the risk was obvious.'"
Goebert v. Lee County, 510 F.3d 1312, 1327 (11th
Cir. 2007) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
842 (1994)). "A difference in medical opinion does not
constitute deliberate indifference so long as the treatment
is minimally adequate." Whitehead v. Burnside,
403 Fed.Appx. 401, 403 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Harris v.
Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1504-05 (11th Cir. 1991)). A
doctor's decision about the type of medicine that should
be prescribed is generally "a medical judgment"
that is "an inappropriate basis for imposing liability
under section 1983." Adams v. Poag, 61 F.3d
1537, 1547 (11th Cir. 1995); see also Waldrop v.
Evans, 871 F.2d 1030, 1033 (11th Cir. 1989) (stating
that "[m]ere medical malpractice, however, does not
constitute deliberate indifference. Nor does a simple
difference in medical opinion.").
this Circuit's precedent, in a prison suicide case,
deliberate indifference requires that the defendant
deliberately disregard "a strong likelihood rather than
a mere possibility that the self-infliction of harm will
occur." Id. at 986 (emphasis in original)
(quoting Popham v. City of Talladega,908 F.2d 1561,
1563 (11th Cir.1990)). "Failure to take measures to
protect an inmate from committing suicide can only constitute
deliberate indifference so long as it is a failure that goes
beyond negligence or medical malpractice." Freeman
v. Lebedovych,186 Fed.Appx. 943, 944 (11th Cir. 2006).
Furthermore, the official may escape liability for ...