United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
D. Peterson District Judge.
plaintiff Michael Jones alleges that prison medical officials
at Columbia Correctional Institution failed to treat his
swollen and painful right knee. He is proceeding on Eighth
Amendment claims against the state defendants (Dr. Salam
Syed, Dr. Karl Hoffman, and Meredith Mashak), and malpractice
claims against a John Doe radiologist and Symphony Diagnostic
Services for misreading an x-ray. The claims against Symphony
Diagnostic and its John Doe employee are stayed pending the
completion of bankruptcy proceedings.
state defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on May
2, 2019. Jones failed to file any opposition
materials by his June 3 deadline, but he filed several
requests for court assistance in recruiting counsel. On July
8, 2019, I denied Jones's requests for counsel, but I
granted him an extension of his summary judgment deadline.
Dkt. 73. I warned Jones that if he did not file his
opposition materials by the new deadline, I would accept all
of defendants' proposed findings of fact as undisputed
and would resolve the summary judgment motion based solely on
the evidence and arguments presented by defendants.
Jones's new deadline has passed, and he has still not
filed any materials in opposition to defendants' motion.
Therefore, I have considered only the arguments and evidence
presented by defendants. Because the evidence shows that the
state defendants did not act with deliberate indifference to
Jones's knee condition, I will grant the motion for
summary judgment. I will direct the clerk of court to enter
judgment under Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure in favor of the state defendants on Jones's
claims against them.
only claims remaining in this case will be Jones's claims
against John Doe radiologist and Symphony Diagnostic
Services. Because this court cannot act on those claims until
Symphony Diagnostic's bankruptcy proceedings have
concluded, I will dismiss this case without prejudice,
subject to it being reopened upon the conclusion of the
bankruptcy proceedings. I will also require Symphony
Diagnostic Services to provide periodic updates to the court
and Jones regarding the status of the bankruptcy proceedings.
following facts are drawn from defendants' summary
judgment materials and are undisputed unless noted otherwise.
and 2016, plaintiff Michael Jones was incarcerated at
Columbia Correctional Institution. Defendants Karl Hoffman
and Salam Syed were physicians at the prison and Meredith
Mashak was the health services manager.
January 29, 2015, Hoffman evaluated Jones for right knee
pain. Hoffman found a small amount of fluid buildup which he
thought might be a symptom of degenerative joint disease.
Hoffman ordered an x-ray of Jones's knee and scheduled a
February 2, 2015, Jones received the x-ray. The results were
normal and did not show a fracture, dislocation, or fluid in
the joint. Jones saw Hoffman again on March 9, 2015 and
reported that he still had knee discomfort. Hoffman noted
that Jones had an even gait and moved without obvious pain.
Hoffman prescribed meloxicam, a non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drug, and told Jones that his pain might be
related to his obesity. After March 2015, Hoffman had no
further involvement with Jones's medical care.
January 2016, Jones again complained of right knee pain. He
saw a nurse, who examined his knee and found no redness or
swelling. The nurse noted that Jones walked with a normal
gait and had a good range of motion. The nurse advised Jones
to continue taking meloxicam daily and Tylenol as needed. She
also scheduled an appointment for Jones with a doctor.
February 3, 2016, Jones saw Dr. Syed about several medical
concerns, including high blood pressure, asthma, medications,
and knee pain. Syed examined Jones's knee and did not
observe any swelling or symptoms of pain. After reviewing
Jones's chart, including the normal x-ray results of
Jones's right knee, Syed concluded that it was not
necessary to add any additional treatment for Jones's
knee pain. Syed noted that Jones's obesity might be
contributing to his knee pain.
his appointment, Jones filed an inmate complaint regarding
Dr. Syed's failure to provide him additional treatment
for his knee pain. The inmate complaint examiner contacted
health services manager Mashak about the complaint. Mashak
reviewed Jones's medical records and relayed to the
inmate complaint examiner the care that Jones had received
for his knee. The reviewing authority dismissed Jones's
complaint, with the recommendation that Jones be assessed for
February 29, 2016, Syed wrote an order for Jones's
meloxicam prescription to expire. Syed did not think that
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications should be
prescribed for chronic conditions or for prolonged use and
thought that Jones's pain could be managed without
meloxicam or any medication in addition to Tylenol.
was seen by medical staff seven times between March and July
2016 and did not complain about knee pain. The next time
Jones saw Dr. Syed was on August 5, 2016, for concerns about
hypothyroidism and asthma. Jones did not raise any concerns
about his knee. ...