United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
G. BYRON, UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
a federal inmate acting pro se, initiated this case
by filing a civil rights complaint alleging constitutional
violations by individual federal actors in connection
with an injury to his left Achilles tendon. (Doc. 1.) The
defendants moved to dismiss (Doc. 24), and their motion was
granted without prejudice to any claim Plaintiff may have
under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for medical
malpractice. (Doc. 31); 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671, 1346(b).
United States was added as a party on January 25, 2018 and
filed its Answer on March 26, 2018. (Doc. 37.) After a period
of discovery, the United States moved for summary judgment.
(Doc. 43.) Plaintiff filed his response in opposition on
February 12, 2019. (Doc. 50.) This matter is ripe for review.
For the reasons discussed below, the United States’
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 43) is due to be granted.
alleges that on April 26, 2014, while incarcerated at the
Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, United States
Penitentiary I, he was playing basketball when he injured his
left Achilles tendon. He reported to medical but was told to
come back the following day. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 14.) Plaintiff
reported to medical the next day and told Nurse Crystal
Harris that he heard a pop near his left ankle and that he
was still in pain. His lower left leg was swollen.
(Id. at ¶ 15.) Nurse Harris requested an x-ray
and told Plaintiff to rest his left ankle, ice it at night,
bandage it for compression, and to elevate it at night to
reduce swelling. Plaintiff was issued crutches. (Id.
April 29, 2014, Plaintiff returned to the medical department
and was seen by a Mid-Level Practitioner. MLP Chipi told
Plaintiff it appeared he had twisted his ankle; Plaintiff
told him it was not in his ankle, the pain was too great.
(Id. at ¶ 19.) A May 8, 2014, radiology report
stated that Plaintiff had swelling in his left ankle and a
tender Achilles. (Id. at ¶ 20.) On May 30,
2014, Plaintiff reported to sick call and complained that his
lower leg was very painful, his left foot swollen, and his
left heel was numb. (Id. at ¶ 21.)
19, 2014, Plaintiff saw Dr. Alex Seda, complaining of pain in
his Achilles tendon and numbness in his heel. Dr. Seda
assessed the injury as Achilles bursitis or tendonitis and
prescribed naproxen. Dr. Seda also told Plaintiff he would
request an ultrasound. (Id. at ¶ 22.) On June
25, 2014, an ultrasound showed that Plaintiff had a soft
tissue mass on his left ankle consistent with a ruptured
Achilles tendon. An MRI and/or surgical evaluation was
suggested. (Id. at ¶ 24.) Plaintiff received
his MRI on July 30, 2014, showing a distal Achilles tendon
rupture with a 4-centimeter gap between the frayed ends.
(Id. at ¶¶ 25-26.)
August 20, 2014, Plaintiff saw Dr. Miguel Cintron at Coleman
and requested surgery. Dr. Cintron told him surgery was not
needed. (Id. at ¶ 28.) Plaintiff saw MLP Chipi
on August 27, 2014, September 12, 2014, and October 9, 2014,
each time complaining of pain and requesting surgery.
(Id. at ¶¶ 29-32.)
February 27, 2015, Plaintiff had been transferred to Beaumont
USP, where he saw Dr. Sreedhar Palavarapu, who referred
Plaintiff to a physical therapist. (Id. at
¶¶ 33-34.) After six weeks of physical therapy, he
met some but not all goals set at his initial evaluation.
(Id. at ¶¶ 35-36.) Plaintiff was
eventually referred to an orthopedic surgeon. On August 25,
2015, Beaumont Bone and Joint evaluated Plaintiff and noted
that because of the time that had passed since the injury
(1-1.5 years), there were no surgical interventions that
would be possible. The distance between the frayed ends was
too great, and Plaintiff exhibited substantial atrophy of his
calf muscle. (Id. at ¶ 39.)
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as
well as costs. (Id. at ¶¶ 48-53.)
Standard of Review
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is
appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A
genuine issue of material fact exists where the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In applying the standard for summary
judgment, the Court must review all of the evidence “in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). The nonmoving party must go “beyond the
pleadings, [and show] that there exist genuine issues of
material fact.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
United States’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
United States has moved, pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, for summary judgment in its favor.
The United States contends that summary judgment is
appropriate because the undisputed material facts show that
Plaintiff has failed to retain a medical expert to offer
standard of care opinions as required by Florida law in a
medical malpractice case. In support of its motion, the
United States attaches Plaintiff’s responses to
interrogatories, wherein he lists partial identifying and
contact information for four expert witnesses (three
physicians and one physical therapist who treated Plaintiff)
but fails to identify what opinions they will offer, what