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Redman v. Doehling

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

December 19, 2017




         Plaintiff Richard Redman (“Redman”), a prisoner, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants, prison officials at Redgranite Correctional Institution (“Redgranite”), arising from Redman's medical care related to his right foot. Redman makes constitutional and state-law claims related to Defendants' alleged mistreatment. Defendants each filed a motion for summary judgment as to all of Redman's claims. (Docket #27 and #34). The motions are fully briefed and, for the reasons stated below, they will be granted.[1]


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). The court must not weigh the evidence presented or determine credibility of witnesses; the Seventh Circuit instructs that “we leave those tasks to factfinders.” Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2010). The party opposing summary judgment “need not match the movant witness for witness, nor persuade the court that [his] case is convincing, [he] need only come forward with appropriate evidence demonstrating that there is a pending dispute of material fact.” Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 921 (7th Cir. 1994).

         2. RELEVANT FACTS[2]

         Redman is an inmate at Redgranite. Defendant Christine Dietrich (“Dietrich”) was an advanced practice nurse prescriber employed by Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., a private company that contracted with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to provide health care services to inmates at Redgranite. While working at Redgranite as a nurse practitioner, Dietrich signed off on scheduled appointments but did not have any control over actually scheduling them or locating a particular provider to which an inmate might be sent. That was the job of the medical program associate assistant (“MPAA”), who maintains inmate medical records, schedules all off-site medical appointments, and coordinates the necessary transportation and communication of medical records to outside providers.

         Defendant Lori Doehling (“Doehling”) is the health services manager at the institution. The health services manager provides the overall administrative support and direction of the health services unit. The primary care clinicians, and not the health services manager, are responsible for the professional management of medical services to the inmates.[3]

         Inmates at Redgranite are provided one state-issued pair of shoes. Inmates are free to purchase additional pairs of shoes, up to a maximum of three. The health services clinicians may order the institution to purchase special shoes for inmates with medical restrictions related to their feet.

         Redman's clinicians at Redgranite provided him with orthotic inserts for his shoes since at least 2014. Health services clinicians also ordered the institution to purchase shoes for Redman since at least 2014. In 2014, the institution purchased Redman a pair of black velcro shoes, as well as a pair of brown oxfords.

         On February 26, 2015, Dr. Fern Springs (“Springs”), a clinician at Redgranite, requested prior authorization for non-urgent care to address Redman's bilateral bunions which were continuing to grow to the point where extra wide/extra depth shoes were insufficient. A podiatry consultation was approved. Redman was scheduled for an appointment at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Podiatry Department (“UW Podiatry”).

         On April 2, 2015, Redman saw Dr. Jill Migon (“Migon”) at UW Podiatry. Migon took x-rays and diagnosed Redman with (1) right foot hallux rigidus-arthritis in Redman's right foot's first metatarsophalangeal joint (“MPJ”)-and (2) left foot hallux abducto valgus deformity-a bunion. Migon recommended surgery to fix the condition in Redman's right foot. Migon further recommended that the institution allow Redman to purchase personal shoes from an outside vendor with removable insoles, wide width, and high tops.

         Dr. Springs reviewed Migon's recommendations. Springs entered a prescriber's order to allow Redman to select New Balance shoes from the approved catalog. Nurse Bellin (“Bellin”) initialed the entry and sent a patient communication form to instruct Redman to purchase New Balance shoes from the approved catalog.

         On May 9, 2015, Redman submitted a two-page health services request to Doehling's attention asking to meet and discuss his shoe order.

         Nurses generally answer health services requests and do not always route them to the health services manager, even if they are addressed specifically to Doehling. In this case, Bellin responded to Redman that the prison's property division was handling the shoe matter and advised him to contact them. On May 11, Redman sent another health services request to Doehling regarding Bellin's note. Doehling responded this time, stating that Redman was able to self-purchase New Balance brand shoes from one of the approved inmate catalogs.

         June 5, 2015 was Redman's first appointment with Dietrich related to his foot issues. On that date, she met with Redman to clear him for the upcoming surgery for right first MPJ arthrodesis with screw and pin fixation. On June 17, Migon performed the surgery. Post-surgery orders were written for Redman that same day, and Dietrich signed them that day. The orders included Vicodin, periodic icing, extra pillows to elevate the right foot, that Redman keep the dressing dry and intact until his follow-up appointment, and that Redman be non-weightbearing with crutches.

         Redman was also prescribed specific medical restrictions. Bellin completed a medical restrictions form for Redman, which included, among other restrictions, a wheel chair for one month, a low bunk on the first floor of the institution, crutches, an ace wrap, two extra pillows, spectator-only status at recreation, and a cold bag to use for twenty minutes every hour for ten days. Bellin also instructed Redman not to put any weight on his right foot until further notice.

         Redman had a follow-up appointment at UW Podiatry on June 19, 2015. Migon instructed him to continue with the ice and elevation. She also applied a non-weightbearing cast. At Redman's next appointment on June 26, Migon removed Redman's stitches and then reapplied the cast. She recommended that Redman continue to be non-weightbearing, continue elevation of his foot, and take Tylenol for pain as needed. Dietrich signed Migon's June 26 orders on June 30, 2015.

         Migon also ordered a follow-up to occur in one month-sometime in late July-to take x-rays. (Docket #46 ¶ 6); (Docket #51 ¶¶ 19-20). If the x-rays showed sufficient improvement, Dr. Migon planned to remove the cast and implement a removable hard boot. (Docket #51 ¶¶ 19-20). However, the appointment did not occur in July.[4]

         On July 1, 2015, Dietrich entered a request for MPAA to schedule Redman for his next appointment with UW Podiatry. The MPAA arranged for Redman to return to UW Podiatry on September 11, 2015. On August 25, Redman submitted a health services request asking for information on when his cast would be removed, indicating that the podiatrist told him he would be casted for six to eight weeks after surgery, and stating that the next day marked ten weeks since his surgery. (The actual time elapsed since the cast was applied on June 26 was two months.) A nurse responded the next day and informed Redman that he would return to UW Podiatry on September 11.

         However, on August 27, UW Podiatry contacted the MPAA to reschedule Redman's appointment to October 9, 2015. Initially, it appears that the institution's remedy was to schedule him for cast removal at the prison. Later, on September 2, after a nurse spoke to Dietrich about the cast removal, the staff determined that they did not have the right equipment.

         Dietrich therefore entered an order for Redman to be scheduled for an appointment at CHN Orthopedic & Sports Medicine-West (“CHN”), a local clinic in Berlin, Wisconsin, for his cast removal. The MPAA was able to schedule an appointment for Redman to go to CHN on September 3.

         Dr. David Jones (“Jones”) at CHN removed Redman's cast, applied an Aircast boot, and recommended that Redman follow up with Dr. Migon. Dietrich entered an order on that recommendation the next day. On September 22, 2015, Doehling met with Redman to discuss his request for high top athletic shoes due to his Achilles tendon repair in 2000. Doehling told Redman his request would be approved for size 11.5 3E width modified high top Nike shoes. The shoes were ordered for Redman that day.

         Redman returned to UW Podiatry on October 9, 2015. Migon noted that Redman had the cast removed and was given an Aircast boot. She further noted that he had been “lost to follow up” and was told by Dietrich and Doehling that this was due to difficulties in transporting him to Madison. (Docket #39-1 at 6). Migon wrote that Redman was doing quite well but had some diminished bone stock.

         Redman reported he was ambulating well around his cell since the cast was removed with no swelling, pain, or other complaints. Redman's x-rays showed a stable arthrodesis site with two crossing screws and a one-third tubular plate. There were signs of spongy bone crossing the fusion site, but it was not completely fused. Redman was given a surgical shoe with a stiff bottom to wear at all times to minimize stress on the joint, but also to allow him to ambulate in order to increase some bone generation. Migon instructed Redman to minimize his ...

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